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Understanding the Sensitive Child By Ann Callaghan

sensitive_child_sqDoes your child sometimes have a meltdown for no apparent reason?
Does your child go from normal to full-on rage in seconds?
Does your child sometimes refuse point blank to do something or go somewhere?

If so, your child could be a sensitive.

By now we’re all familiar with the notion that children can be sensitive to things like food, electromagnetic frequencies and certain intense environments such as shopping malls and birthday parties. We know that exposure to these things can cause changes in a child’s behaviour and parents who are aware of this take precautions to avoid them.

However, we are only recently becoming aware of the extent of triggers for a sensitive child. A trigger is anything that causes—to use the analogy of an electrical circuit—a total blow-out of all fuses.

It is some of these less obvious triggers that I want to draw attention to in this article.

I also want to offer a beacon of hope to parents and sensitive people by introducing you to Harry Thompson. Harry is 22 and 1/2 years old and has made it through a very difficult childhood and adolescence to a place where he now feels “as though I’m finally flourishing as a human being.”

I hope that Harry’s story will give a direct insight into the world of the sensitive and help us understand what we need to do to assist and support these precious beings.

“Sensitive” can be defined as ‘quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.’

Sensitives have a highly refined sensitivity to all energies—period. They detect and react to energies that most of us don’t even notice.

The adult population is used to living in a world that is grossly insensitive on many levels. We design and live in houses that are energetically polluted not only by chemicals and EMFs but also by bad feng shui, stagnant energy, and most damaging of all, bad vibes between people.

We ask our children to eat denatured food, wear synthetic clothing, and sit in classrooms under fluorescent lights.  All of these things affect them acutely and can cause the most sensitive to become unbearably uncomfortable leading to behaviours that are often diagnosed as disorders.

Is sensitivity a disorder?
“I use the label PDA when talking about myself for the sake of explanation but I don’t really agree with it. I am Harry!”

Sensitivity is not a disorder in itself. However, until we have a better understanding of sensitivity there will be conflicts at the interface between the sensitive and the insensitive worlds, and these conflicts or incompatibilities can cause behaviours, which we name as disorders.

The role of the sensitive child in our society is to make us aware of the extent of our disconnection from ourselves, from nature, and our beautiful planet.  The sensitive child is here to help us re-sensitise so that we can make the changes needed to bring our selves and our planet back into a healthy balance. In time, sensitivity will become the norm rather than the exception.

Attention deficit and the sensitive child
My understanding of sensitive children comes from years of observation both as a homeopath and an essence prescriber. I noticed that many children coming to see me were badly affected not just by the well-known triggers but by the energies that they felt from other people. We don’t need to be physically abusive to cause damage to a sensitive child.

I remember watching a young boy with Attention Deficit Disorder, as it was known at the time, running excitedly around a yard, kicking a football. He was late for tea and his mother was cross. She shouted at him. As soon as the energy of the shout reached him, he slumped to the ground where he sat unresponsive until he was frog-marched back into the house.

The energy behind the shout elicited such a fear response in him that he left his body. His mother was a very strong person who projected a lot of forceful energy.  She was the sort of person who habitually banged doors even though she wasn’t in a bad mood. She had no idea that the force of her energy could cause this response in her child.

We often see the same behaviour in children who phase out in the classroom. When the energies become too much to handle the child leaves its body and appears to be distracted or daydreaming.

Anger and the sensitive child
Sensitivity to energy can also cause a child to become hyperactive, angry, violent or destructive. One young child was brought to see me because he was displaying hyperactive behaviours, and his parents were told that he would probably need medication to function properly at school. His father was a teacher and worried that his child would end up dropping out of school. His mother was a nurse and worried that her child would end up dependent on drugs for the rest of his life. During the consultation, both parents attempted to control their child by projecting very strong “You’d-better-behave-or-else” vibes.

Most of us experienced this sort of energetic control from our own parents and because it’s the only parenting model we have, we continue to parent in this way.  However, to the sensitive child these energies might as well be physical darts and they simply made this little fellow jump around even more.

We try to control out of fear that we have somehow failed in our parenting, why else would everyone else’s children be able to behave and ours do not?  The energy behind this fear fuels the behaviours the child exhibits and a vicious circle of behaviour/vibe/behaviour ensues.  In the heat of the meltdown, we forget the love that we have for the child and each other.

In this instance, I spoke directly to the child and told him that his mother really loved him and his father really loved him. Poof!  The tension was released. Rather than being on the edge of their seats, the mother and father fell back in their chairs and the little ‘hyperactive’ boy lay down on the floor and went to sleep. The pressure was off, the love remembered.

A meltdown for no apparent reason
Sometimes a child will have a meltdown for no apparent reason. Think of a balloon being squeezed and squeezed—eventually it will burst.

The energy field of the sensitive is not very strong; Harry says he felt like “an open vessel.”  This leaves the sensitive in a very vulnerable situation as they know that a sensory overload could be too much for them, and yet they don’t know exactly when overload will be reached or which trigger will be the one that causes them to blow.  This can make the child extremely anxious leading to a need to control all decisions at all times. This is particularly the case when the child can’t trust the parents or caregivers to recognise and respond to potential triggers and keep him safe.

Harry’s Story

Ann: What did you feel like as a little child?
Harry: From birth I found the world a very difficult place to live in.
I always regarded myself as an outcast, even as a very young child when I began to notice how I had extremely intense reactions to things compared to my peers. I’d experience any form of stimulation tenfold. This alienated me and gave rise to a strong sense of loneliness.

Ann: Did that change when you became a teenager?
Harry: By the time I was a teenager, my internal state likened to an uncultivated garden, weed ridden and bug infested.  I just continued to spiral out of control the older I got. The derelict garden further submerged in weeds until it became a full-blown jungle by the time I reached adulthood.

Ann: What situations/feelings were triggers for you?
Harry: Environments such as parties, shopping centres, or classrooms felt like a stimulatory minefield for me. Being sensitive means that I have this vulnerability and fragility to me. Sometimes I feel as though I am a walking sponge, absorbing everyone else’s feelings on top of my own.

Ann: What behaviours did these triggers cause?
Harry: I experienced my first bout of real depression when I was twelve. I was under too much pressure to grow up.  I developed this phobia of growing up and cried to my mum most evenings after school. The idea of being a man was petrifying. I just wanted to stay home with my lovely Nana and Mum so they could keep me safe.

Depression isn’t often associated with children in a form devoid of controversy. But I did get to a stage where I couldn’t bring myself to go to school anymore. I’d stubbornly refuse my mum’s pleas, and she just let me stay home eventually. I reckon the reason why she yielded to my refusal is because I was a ticking bomb the moment I set foot in the school gates. It was less risk keeping me at home. Feeling overstimulated or overwhelmed in anyway, would send my body into a spasmodic, jittery, hyperactive and disorderly state. I would resort to obnoxious, socially unacceptable behaviours that would involve self harming, profuse shouting and swearing in people’s faces, chronic attention seeking where I’d wilfully put my life at risk e.g., removing my clothing on a cold winter’s day, running in the middle of the road.

Ann: What was the worst thing that happened?
Harry: My darkest moments were when I used to internalise my fear, the feeling of everything churning around inside me is purely terrifying. In these moments, death feels most preferable.

Ann: When did things start to turn around for you?
Harry: When I reached the age of eighteen, I completely came to terms with who I am. I embraced my sensitivity and stopped seeing it as a weakness and a disability. It truly is a gift, and I am proud to be enshrined in such an exquisite constitution. A period of intense self-monitoring and regulating proceeded after a nasty drink and drug period. I was drowning my sorrows, trying to quell the pain I felt of being “me”.  From that moment on, my life has become more and more enjoyable. I feel as though I’m finally flourishing as a human being, and I no longer feel as though I am purposeless.

How we can help

Harry says he was lucky enough to find a great mentor who introduced him to a range of holistic therapies, including Indigo Essences, and who was “the first person to fully understand me.”  He said that she gave him tremendous insight into his world and that without her he wouldn’t be alive today.

Having a connection to a parent or caregiver who is spiritual is extremely important as this heart to heart connection helps the child to feel understood and safe.

Become aware of the energy of all things
Many adults, particularly in the Western world, have learnt to survive by becoming de-sensitised. It’s as if we’ve developed a suit of armour to protect us from feeling what is going on inside ourselves, in our direct environment, and in the wider world.

We are all feeling beings; we just need to allow ourselves to disconnect from our heads and listen to what our hearts and bodies are telling us.  Allow yourself to soften and let go of the armour. Become aware of your energy bubble and what you do with it. Don’t bang into other people energetically.

Take the pressure off
Pressure can be terrifying for sensitive children. Take them out of school or change to a less pressurised system of education, and make sure they know you will not push them into situations that trigger them. This allows the child to develop trust in you and in their ability to function in the world.

Sometimes parents are afraid to let children take time out of school.  However, in my experience, it’s often the best thing you can do.  The current mainstream educational system doesn’t suit many of today’s children and can be detrimental to sensitives. The feelings of failure and inadequacy that it causes may drive a child to become suicidal.
A child who feels loved, listened to, and safe will come into their own balance, and once that balance has been achieved, will then step out into the world, just as Harry has done and be the person they came here to be.

Work with the healing power of nature
When things were particularly bad for Harry, he moved to a school called Nature Kids where he was allowed to be in nature for as long as he needed to rebalance. He slept in a teepee, which helped him to decompress his energy body and relax.

Make sure your child has as much access to the wild outdoors as possible. Let them sleep outside in a tent away from the energetic stresses of the house. Make sure they exercise. Walking and running have both helped Harry a great deal.

Make a home
A home is a refuge where children can decompress after a day in the insensitive outside world. Make a special decompression zone in your house. Tent an area of a room, fill it with big, soft toys, blankets or duvets. Hang fairy lights. Keep essences and nice smells in the space. Teach your child that they can go in there to recover when they need to.

Work with energy medicine
Harry’s mentor introduced him to essences, both our Indigo Essences and others, which helped bring his energy into balance.

Indigo Essences are a line of essences, which have been made specifically to help sensitives of all ages ground and feel safe in their physical bodies. The essences are made with the energy of quartz crystals and other minerals and their strong, stable vibration can help a sensitive child stay grounded in situations where they would otherwise feel very unsafe.

Meditate and do yoga
We are all spiritual beings. Children know this. They feel nourished by connection with their spiritual nature and love to spend time in meditation. Teach your child some yoga poses to help them ground into their bodies and feel stronger.

Eat well
Sensitives are particularly affected by the food they eat. Choose food that is simple and organically grown. Throw out the microwave as Microwaving distorts the energy of food, making it unrecognisable to the body. Get help diagnosing food sensitivities. Harry underwent a therapy called NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques), to help alleviate sensitivities to food and chemicals

Harry Thompson is currently writing his autobiography and can be contacted via his Facebook page.

ann_callaghan_THUMBANN CALLAGHAN trained as a classical homeopath and specialized in the treatment of  children in her clinic.  She also taught homeopathy and was a director of the Irish school of homeopathy.   In March 1999, Ann started to make essences, which she used in her practice.  She soon realized that these essences could help with all sorts of behavioral problems, including ADD and ADHD, and also help families cope with stressful times. Since then, she has taught workshops on Indigo Essences, the new children and the shift in consciousness in many countries including the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Iceland Hong Kong and Japan. She has also spoken at many conferences including last year’s International Flower Essence Conference in Tokyo, and was a contributor to Lee Carroll and Jan Tober’s book The Indigo Children 10 Years Later.

In late 2000, Ann brought the essences to a wider audience when, together with her nephews, Ben and Mica, she devised a Rescue Kit for children.