By Laura Sheehan

I’m sorry my sensitive child can sometimes be a bit of a dick!

I’m sorry my sensitive child can sometimes be a bit of a dick!

I’m sorry my sensitive child can sometimes be a bit of a dick!

It was at the end of another tried and failed meet n greet interaction between my sensitive son and a friend to us that we perceived he should be, by now, comfortable and confident with, we were wrong, again! After painfully trying to impose a natural social etiquette that comes to easily to us and to most children, after pushing and pulling, angst and heightened resistance, flushing embarrassment and rushing shame I threw up my hands and I threw in the towel! I’m sorry, my sensitive child can sometimes be a dick.

For complex reasons we may never fully understand, these types of interactions overwhelm and consume him. Sometimes it all is just a bit too much! I can see the switch, the tensing little body, the darting, diverting gaze, the shuffling, shifting feet, he is churning, he is panicking and he is about to shut down. Immediately as a parent we are bombarded, pressure and anxious of how our child is instantly perceived. He’s impolite, he’s difficult, he’s rude, he’s badly behaved. We in turn tense, we push and we urge them to please, for once, fit into the norm, interact and behave just like his sister, his friends, just as society expects, but he wont and he doesn’t and equally, just as quickly we become critical, critical of them, critical or ourselves and critical of our ability as a parent.

I am exhausted. Navigating the delicate and intricate chess game of predicting and identifying what may or may not trigger a sensitive withdrawal, implosion or explosion! I’m tired of listening, listening to the should and the should not of how my child is expected to be. I am done. I am done trying to prove my worth as a parent and I am done trying to force my child into a mold that he will never fit. He is sensitive but he is magnificent!

He sees the world through eyes bigger, deeper and exposed and open to ours. He feels, intensely, sometimes those feelings are scary, they are unsteady, they are shaky, they are heightened and they are extreme. These feelings are strong and they can take hold, looking past the labels of rude, impolite, with understanding, screaming from within, is uncertainty, inhibition and fear, and he is gripped in it. To us it is irrational but to him it is profoundly real and it is my role and my responsibility as his mother to support him through it. Beneath the temper and the tantrum, beneath the tears and the tension, those feelings are raw, exposed and open.

Give him time, let him see you, let him come to you, he is there, he is happy, and he wants to share his world with you, but he is cautious, his is weary and inhibited, he is itching to connect but there are a few obstacles he must over come first, inner battles just under the surface, it is fragile and it is sensitive.

With this vulnerability though comes truth and he loves and connects in a way I only wish I could. His friendships and his relationships are real, they mean more to him than most. He cares, he will soar with your highs and come crashing down with your lows. He will laugh, genuinely and with whole heart. He will cry, he will wretchedly weep with broken heart. He will be withdrawn, but when he lets you in, hold on as you’re in for one hell of a ride. He will play, he will engage and create intricately, imaginatively, inspirationaly, your role and your participation in the magic will be integral and it will be great. You are important, you mean more to him than his initial capacity can express, but he is seeking and he is searching, putting together a delicate puzzle that to us is simple at a glance but to him its perfecting his scratchings on a blueprint. Be patient, his love is worth the wait.

He is sensitive and yes sometimes he’s going to behave like a bit of a dick! But he’s not, behind that fear and behind that angst there is a fragile, sweet and compassionate little soul that with whole support and with full understanding you’ll be lucky enough to meet, to connect with and once he lets you in, he’ll never let you go.


2 thoughts on “I’m sorry my sensitive child can sometimes be a bit of a dick!”

  • As always beautifully written.

    As I read this my baby girl is curled up in my arms, nursing her way into sleep while her 2 year old brother is eating homemade pizza with his dad. Life is a bit crazy but this is a lovely moment :0)

    Your articles always move me and freshen my perception on parenting

    Thank you fou taking the time to write and share.


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