By Teresa Currivan, LMFT, Parent Coach
1) She is highly sensitive to stimuli, including noise, smell, touch, emotions. No two highly sensitive children are alike. She may hear a whisper across a room, or see the colors of the stars in the sky when others can not. One in every 5 children is thought to be highly sensitive. (While there is no number for how many highly sensitive children are empaths, it is common in gifted children.)
2) He absorbs other people’s emotions. This is the child in the large family who seems to be the one to get sick, emotionally or physically, when something is “off” in the family. He knows when mommy is upset, sometimes even before she does. He may also seem to take home anxieties and feelings from others at school. He is sometimes very good at doing impressions of people, or will take on a friend’s mannerisms if he has been around him frequently.
3) She needs alone time and time in nature. Not just for the fun of it, but in order to function well. If in a constantly stressful, negative environment, she may not appear empathic, and can even be acting out in distress. When in a nurturing, loving environment, the empath can soar.
4) Learning to cope in life as an empath is going to be different for him. If you are an empath, learning the skills for yourself will help you to help your child. At the same time, when there is more than one empath in a family, the dynamics can get interesting. Mindfulness techniques can be especially helpful. Heart centered approaches work best.
5) She is finely tuned to the pain of others. She will feel the pain as her own and try to help, sometimes without being asked, or even being conscious about it. Ie: wanting to help every homeless person she sees, and become distressed when she cannot. She will need help navigating how and where she wants to spend her energy so that she does not become disheartened and drained.
Teresa Currivan is a mother, licensed marriage and family therapist, and parent coach at Help My Child Thrive Coaching LLC and The Right Place Learning Center. She specializes in strength-based approaches to resolving issues related to exceptionalities, including dyslexia, SPDs, ADHD, anxiety and more. Teresa has connections to SF Bay Area schools including Big Minds Unschool, Fusion Academy High School, ATI SF (Academy of Thought and Industry,) and others. She leads support groups for parents of exceptional children at The Right Place Learning Center in Lafayette, CA. She has been published on sites such as Mother.ly, Filter Free Parents, GHF Learners and is a blogger at Hoagies Gifted Education page. She lives in the San Francisco, California Bay Area with her husband and son. You can find more articles on https://helpmychildthrive.com/. Follow her on her Facebook at fb.me/TeresaCurrivanCoaching.
***If this article resonates with you and you would like to see if Teresa’s coaching would be a good fit for you, email her at TeresaCurrivan@gmail.com and mention this article to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.***
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© 2017 Teresa Currivan