The first time my daughter watched Inside Out as a toddler, she suddenly burst into sobs sitting next to me on the couch. Mama mode instantly activated, I quickly interrogated her as tears streamed down her face. What was the matter? Was she hurt? As it turns out, she was just overwhelmed by emotion during a sad scene. Since then, I've come to understand that she can be very emotionally attuned, and that means I have to consciously use positive parenting techniques for my sensitive child. Still, in practice, that looks different for me from day to day.
According to the Center for Parenting Education, an emotionally sensitive child is especially tuned into their own and others' feelings. But there is definitely a difference between understanding your child's personality and knowing the best ways to parent them from moment to moment. Even parents with the best intentions sometimes feel at a loss to deal positively with their children's sensitivity — or to help their children learn how to manage. I reached out to Gail Post, Ph.D., a Jenkintown, Pennsylvania-based clinical psychologist with over 30 years in practice, to share some tips that parents can use to be the support their sensitive child needs.