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Honour the Child

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Monday, 5 March 2012
My daughter is sensitive.
In every sense of the word.

Kids like my daughter are sometimes referred to as out-of-sync (The Out of Sync Child). They can also be 'highly sensitive children' (The Highly Sensitive Child).
And they make for sensitive, out-of-sync parents!

Last week I was reading an old blog post from when Rowan was 3ish.
About how she would have a meltdown because her socks were 'fligged'.
She still does this, although 'fligged' has slipped from her vocabulary ~ which is too bad, it was a perfect word for what she was feeling!

When I talk to people who are not 'sensitive' in the neurological/ temperamental sense (like my mother) it seems odd, lax or ridiculous to be a little panicked that your child has outgrown the one style of sock that didn't evoke tantrums for the last three years (and to be hoping for an early spring and the arrival of barefoot weather!).

But talk to another sensitive person or parent of one, and you laugh and commiserate over that perfect pair of socks, or the long list of foods that look too much like worms, or the stockpile of the favourite cereal that makes your mornings go more smoothly.

Several weeks ago we had an incident at skating lessons.
A boy was wearing a scary mask.
I cringed when I saw it, and then calmly (oh-so-casually!) mentioned it to Rowan.
She looked at it and declared it 'funny'.
Five minutes later, as the boy roared and chased the girls, I had a six year old wrapped around my neck in terror.
All the other children were enjoying the game.
For whatever reason, two mentions to the coach, one a direct request that the child take off the mask for the lesson, went unheeded (by the coach).
My daughter could not set foot on the ice.
I had to ask the boy's mother to remove his mask so Rowan could participate.
She did so, kindly and quickly.

And I was left feeling as out-of-sync as my daughter.
It was the right thing for me to do.
But I did it with the awareness that most of the other parents have no idea what it is like.

My daughter's sensitivity makes her kind and compassionate.
Creative and artistic.
Animals are drawn to her and trust her because she, like them, leads with her feelings.

It also puts her out of step with her peers.
It leaves her easily overwhelmed and easily hurt.
It saps her confidence and raises her anxiety.

It is tough.
We are on the verge of moving to homeschooling for at least the remainder of this school year because she has reached her threshold.
We are excited and terrified.
It is one more step out-of-sync, but it feels just right. ♥


Paula said...

Very much like my Ella. We were at Seedy Sunday and she found the other people there 'scary'. I thought we were going to have to leave. Once I explained that they were just like us and lived on farms, etc (an over-generalization I know) she was willing to stay. For some reason she is so afraid of men with any form of facial hair. She even is nervous around her uncles/great uncles who all have beards. She takes about 30 min to warm up to them.

We were at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. She had a great time but was overwhelmed by all the people/kids.

Yet more proof that homeschooling is the way to go for us.


SEA Mama said...

I just love how consciously you raise your child. And kuddos to the decision to homeschool. I knew before my child was born that I would homeschool. I had seen what the school system does to children and I don't like it. Thanks for your inspiring posts and please keep them coming.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your responses (and I am glad I am not alone!!). I think I always knew homeschooling was a possibility, even a liklihood, we just weren't in a position to leap, until now :)

learningtable said...

I've been homeschooling since my oldest was in K5 (He's now in 8th.) I have NO REGRETS! We tried a K5 program for 3 weeks, and the spark was leaving his eye. His spirit was slowly being crunched into a package that was no longer my son. Now, he is thriving, creative, artistic, musical, beautiful. You know what is best for your child better than anyone else.

Unknown said...

First time I've stumbled upon your blog... and just had to comment. My son is "out of sync" and has struggled for years. He struggled in daycare, in preschool, in kindergarten, and through 1/2 of first grade. We ALL finally reached our threshold, pulled him out and are in our second full year of homeschooling. Never planned on doing it... now we'd never want anything else for any of our three children. They've ALL flourished since we brought him home. Good luck. You TRULY are not alone.

Mama Ruck said...

My son's doctor told me that it makes us (parents of out of sync children) super parents because we have to be constantly connected with our children. We stumbled for the first 4 years of life before we started to understand just what was going on. Now it is so easy to see his gifts through the struggles that others may see first. Thank you for sharing and for listing her many beautiful talents.

christina said...

Your blog and store are so beautiful! I wanted to comment on this post, as it just sounds so much like my oldest son (9). I love how supportive you are and how you recognize not only the difficulties but the *strengths* in being such a sensitive child. Homeschooling has been a lifesaver for us, and I wish you much luck on your journey!

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