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The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping our children thrive when the world overwhelms them
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The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping our children thrive when the world overwhelms them [Format Kindle]

Elaine N. Aron
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit


Chapter One


A Better Light on "Shy" and "Fussy" Children

This chapter helps you decide if you have a highly sensitive child and explores the trait thoroughly. It also provides more knowledge about all of your child's inherited temperament traits. Our goal will be to free you of any misconceptions you may have heard about sensitive children. Finally, we will distinguish high sensitivity from actual disorders (which it is not).

Well, if he were my child, he'd eat what was set before him."

"Your daughter is so quiet--have you considered seeing a doctor about that?"

"He is so mature, so wise for his age. But he seems to think too much. Don't you worry that he isn't more happy and carefree?

"Jodie's feelings are so easily hurt. And she cries for other kids, too, when they are teased or hurt. And during the sad parts of stories. We don't know what to do for her."

"In my kindergarten class, everyone participates in group time, but your son refuses. Is he this stubborn at home?"

Are these sorts of comments familiar to you? They are to the parents I interviewed for this book. They had heard all sorts of well-intentioned comments like these from in-laws, teachers, other parents, and even mental health professionals. If you've received such comments, it is almost surely a sign that you are the parent of a highly sensitive child (HSC). And, of course, they are troubling, because you're hearing that something is odd or wrong with your child, yet you find your child marvelously aware, caring, and sensitive. Furthermore, you know that if you followed the well-intentioned advice, like forcing your child to eat foods he dislikes, socialize when he does not feel like it, or taking him to a psychiatrist, your child would suffer. On the other hand, if you follow the lead of your child, he thrives. Yet the comments keep coming, so you wonder if you're a bad parent and if your child's behavior is your fault. I have heard this same story over and over.

The Operating Manual for Your Child

No wonder you worry that you may be doing something wrong. You have no one to help you. You have probably noticed that most parenting books focus on "problem behaviors"--restlessness, distractibility, "wildness," and aggression. Your child is probably anything but a problem in these senses. You're struggling with issues that the books don't talk about so much--eating problems, shyness, nightmares, worrying, and intense emotions that are not directed so much at others as they are simply outbursts. The usual advice that you eliminate unwanted behaviors through "consequences" (punishment) often does not work--your child seems crushed by punishment or even criticism.

In this book you will receive advice, but only for sensitive children and from parents of sensitive children, myself included, plus specialists in this trait. And our first advice is not to believe people when they imply there is something wrong with your child, and do not let your child believe it either. Nor are your child's differences your fault. Of course parenting can always be improved, and this book will "improve" you more than others, because, again, it is written entirely with your "different" child in mind. But forget the idea that the problem is some basic flaw in parent or child.

"Discovering" High Sensitivity

According to my own scientific research and professional experience as well as that of many others who have studied this trait under different, less accurate labels, your child has a normal variation in innate human temperament. She is one of the 15 to 20 percent born highly sensitive--far too many for them all to be "abnormal." Furthermore, the same percentage of sensitive individuals is found in every species that has been studied, as far as I know. With evolution behind it, there must be a good reason for the trait's presence. We will get to that in a moment, but first, a little bit about this "discovery."

I began studying high sensitivity in 1991, after another psychologist commented to me that I was highly sensitive. I was curious personally, not planning to write a book or even to try to tell anyone about my findings. In my community and the university where I was teaching, I merely asked to interview people who were "highly sensitive to physical or emotionally evocative stimuli" or "highly introverted." At first I thought sensitivity might really be the same as introversion, which is the tendency to prefer to have one or two close friends with whom one can talk deeply, and not to be in large groups or meet strangers. Extroverts, on the other hand, like large gatherings, have many friends but usually talk less intimately with them, and enjoy meeting new people. It turned out that introversion was not the same as high sensitivity: Although 70 percent of highly sensitive people (HSP) are introverts, a tendency that is probably part of their strategy to reduce stimulation, 30 percent are extroverts. So I knew I had uncovered something new.

Why would a highly sensitive person be extroverted? According to my interviews, they were often raised in close, loving communities--in one case even a commune. For them, groups of people were familiar and meant safety. Others seemed to have been trained to be outgoing by their families--it was imperative, and as good HSPs they tried to do what was expected of them. One woman recalled the day and hour she decided to become an extrovert. She had lost her best and only friend and decided then and there not to depend anymore on having just one friend.

Since discovering that the trait of sensitivity is not the same as introversion, I have found other evidence that sensitive people are also not inherently shy or "neurotic"--that is, anxious and depressed. All of these descriptors are secondary, noninnate traits found in some sensitive people as well as in many who are not sensitive.

When I made my request to interview sensitive people, I was swamped with volunteers, and finally spoke individually with forty men and women of all ages and walks of life, for three hours each. They really wanted to talk about this--the term and why it meant so much to them the moment they heard it. (Many adults purchase The Highly Sensitive Person simply because they recognized themselves in the title, and likewise you may have bought this book because you recognized your child in its title.)

After discerning the many details of sensitivity from these interviews, I was able to create a long questionnaire about it, and later a shorter one (see pages 88-89), and have since given these to thousands of individuals. The 20 percent or so who are highly sensitive usually immediately grasp the concept as describing them. The nonsensitive 80 percent or so truly do not "get it" and some answer "no" to every item. I found the same results through a random phone survey. Sensitive people really are different.

Since then I have written and taught on the subject extensively, and soon saw the need for a book on raising highly sensitive children. There were too many sad stories from adults about their difficult childhoods, in which well-meaning parents caused tremendous pain because they did not know how to raise a sensitive child. So I interviewed parents and children, and from those talks developed a questionnaire that was given to over a hundred parents of all types of children. That survey, when honed down to the questions that best distinguish HSCs from non-HSCs, became the parent's questionnaire at the end of the Introduction.

What Is High Sensitivity?

Highly sensitive individuals are those born with a tendency to notice more in their environment and deeply reflect on everything before acting, as compared to those who notice less and act quickly and impulsively. As a result, sensitive people, both children and adults, tend to be empathic, smart, intuitive, creative, careful, and conscientious (they are aware of the effects of a misdeed, and so are less likely to commit one). They are also more easily overwhelmed by "high volume" or large quantities of input arriving at once. They try to avoid this, and thus seem to be shy or timid or "party poopers." When they cannot avoid overstimulation, they seem "easily upset" and "too sensitive."

Although HSCs notice more, they do not necessarily have better eyes, ears, sense of smell, or taste buds--although some do report having at least one sense that is very keen. Mainly, their brains process information more thoroughly. This processing is not just in the brain, however, since highly sensitive people, children or adults, have faster reflexes (a reaction usually from the spinal cord); are more affected by pain, medications, and stimulants; and have more reactive immune systems and more allergies. In a sense, their entire body is designed to detect and understand more precisely whatever comes in.

How HSCs Sort Oranges

When I was little my father liked to take our family to visit factories, where he would talk the managers into taking us on a tour. The steel mills and glass manufacturers overwhelmed me, of course, because I was highly sensitive. They were too loud, hot, and fiery, and I would cry, so that I dreaded these trips. My nonsensitive family members, on the other hand, were annoyed by my tour-stopping behaviors. But I liked one tour--the orange-packing plant. I liked the ingenious invention that moved the oranges down a shaking conveyer belt until they fell into one of three sized slots--small, medium, or large.

I now use that experience as a way to describe the brains of HSCs. Instead of having three slots for processing what comes down the conveyer belt to them, they have fifteen slots, for making very fine distinctions. And all goes well until too many oranges come down the belt at once. Then you have a huge jam up.

So of course ...

From Publishers Weekly

As a highly sensitive person (HSP) herself and a psychotherapist, Aron is in a strong position to provide guidance to parents who are raising highly sensitive children (HSCs), and provides here a wealth of useful suggestions and case studies. The author, who has studied and written about what she calls "high sensitivity" (The Highly Sensitive Person), states that this is a personality trait that occurs in 15% to 20% of the population. Although HSCs tend to be "empathetic, smart, intuitive, careful and conscientious," they are also easily overstimulated and require informed parenting in order to prevent temper tantrums, stress illnesses and the avoidance of pleasurable group activities. Aron offers helpful advice that will assist both nonsensitive and highly sensitive parents through all stages of their child's development from infancy to adolescence. For example, since HSCs have great difficulty with change, it is necessary to prepare them gently so that they do not feel powerless during transitions. According to the author, there are four basic strategies that will help an HSC to become a happy adult: parents should foster their child's self-esteem, try to reduce the feelings of shame HSCs may develop because they are different, employ only mild positive discipline and learn how to talk positively to teachers and friends about their HSC so that interactions will be productive.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 526 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 354 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0767908724
  • Editeur : Thorsons (28 juin 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°96.512 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
super bouquin si comme moi vous avez l'impression de lire une description hyper détaillée et précise de votre enfant.

On ne comprenait pas certaines choses, les gens qui côtoient mon fils nous présentaient certains comportements comme des problèmes. maintenant on sait à quoi s'en tenir, on comprend mieux notre petit garçon et aussi son passé.

C'est une vision très positive des enfants HSC, très encourageants pour les parents et qui confirment pas mal des choix de notre famille: éducation douce et respectueuse notamment.

Vraiment très intéressant, d'un bout à l'autre
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5  83 commentaires
165 internautes sur 170 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a comfort and a relief 20 novembre 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur
It was wonderful to read this book. For seven years I've been looking for someone to understand when I talk about my daughter's agony over the seams in her socks, her inability to eat in Italian restaurants because of the strong smell, her discomfort with the volume of sound in movies or the way she always gets homesick (literally ill) if we go on a vacation that lasts more than a couple of days. As someone who never thought twice about any of those things, I appreciate Aron's insights and her suggestions about parenting someone who is so easily overwhelmed. I originally got the book from the library but had to buy my own copy because there was something I wanted ot underline or make a note to remember on almost every page.
86 internautes sur 94 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 My child is NOT "strange"!! 16 juillet 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur
For five years I have been trying to describe my son to his teachers, other parents, and even to our family. I've struggled with words like, "shy," "quiet," "introverted," "cognitive," and -- the worst one -- "a bit of a loner." None of these captured him. Others have called him "unique," "gentle," "an intellect," "not a joiner." I was insulted by all these labels. But Aron's book finally gave me the right words! My son is an HSC --simple as that. And this book helped me understand this as a wonderful thing, requiring some understanding and accomodations. Aron provides some great suggestions for helping your HSC, and helps parents discover ways to advocate for their HSC in the schools. After reading this book, I bought a copy for my son's teacher and highlighted the relevant sections. She told me this morning that it "shed new light on a perplexing situation." She understands. As a clinical psychologist and as a mother, I highly recommend this book. If nothing else, it will help you and your child "normalize" your experiences. Why only 4 stars? The only downfall of this book is that Aron back-pedals too much. She too often describes the exceptions to every rule, and at times you might feel that she is unsure of her own definitions. But, ultimately, if this is your child, you will recognize him/her right away. And the suggestions in this book will help.
117 internautes sur 136 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An idea that needs addressing, just not this way 1 décembre 2010
Par Amazon Shopper - Publié sur
The concept of high sensitivity as an extreme normal trait is one that certainly needs addressing. There were many aha! moments in this book as I read it, both for my son and myself. The descriptions of HSC and the challenges they may face are the strengths of this book. However, the book falls short when offering advice on how to help these children. First, I was put off by the author's dismissal of Occupational Therapy and Sensory Integration Therapy. She seems to believe that that it is a method of pathologizing the normal trait of high sensitivity. Sensitivity, like any other trait, exists on a continuum and, on the more extreme ends of that continuum, may interfere with a child's ability to function and be happy. An OT's services can be extremely helpful in this case, and the author should not dismiss them so quickly. Second, the author's repetition of "always put the child's needs first" resulted in advice that seemed out of balance and incomplete. Of course parents should consider a child's temperament when considering discipline, education, etc., and I would greatly appreciate a book that teaches me this. The more I read this book, however, the more I felt I was being told to create a highly controlled bubble environment for my child. It seems there should be a balance between accepting and celebrating a child's sensitivities and helping that child learn to not be overwhelmed by his or her sensitivities and function in the world. This book did not seem to strike that balance.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book if your child matches the highly sensitive profile 29 juin 2006
Par Dreamer - Publié sur
Wow! What a great relief to find a book that so clearly describes my child. It had been scary for me to think that my child was different and to doubt myself - wondering if my parenting was making my child cry more or cling more.

This book was great for us to help us let go of the stereotypes of what our child "should" be doing - and to really appreciate the amazing qualities that our child has. We've changed our outlook in many parenting situations. Our son has become more confident in many arenas as a result. We now recognize the internal struggle he goes through when he is weighing the risks involved with every, single activity that he embarks upon. And we have found ways to build his confidence.

Highlights of the book for me were: 1. recognizing the challenges of having a highly sensitive BOY. There is a definite role that boys are expected to fill in society and it's not that of the sensitive, shy person... 2. Recognizing that my son's actual senses are part of his sensitivity and increase when he is overwhelmed. For example: the bath water feels too hot, the tags in his clothing bother him more, sunlight bothers his eyes, etc. 3. The author's explanation for why a sensitive child shuts down (for those of you who have read the book, the "oranges" description) really helped me to understand how to avoid overwhelming my child with too many stimuli.

I wish this author were available for personal child behavior counseling. I'd love to speak with her in greater depth.

I loved the book and have bought copies for family members and teachers. If your child fits the description (it is fairly obvious if they do), this is a great resource to have.
34 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Simply really good advice 11 août 2011
Par Miladja - Publié sur
My 3-year-old is highly sensitive and at the same time quite extroverted and expressive - a very explosive mix, I can tell husband and I were at our wit's end a lot of times, our son had frequent tantrums about small things (at least, they seemed small to us), people either didn't believe us when we told them how our son acts or told us we were spoiling him and that's why he still doesn't want to mix pasta with tomato sauce or starts crying when we put his hot dog on the same plate as the potatoes...he refuses to walk barefoot anywhere, makes a fuss about wet or sandy clothes...all these things that are described in the book! Reading the book felt like reading a book about my own son. Ok, not all of it applies to him but that's probably mostly because he belongs to the extroverted minority of the highly sensitive people.
This books offers great practical advice for all age groups and covers all kinds of topics (food, sleep, leaving your child with someone else, how to build up self-esteem...)I have already applied some of the advice in our daily routine with a lot fo success. However, I also found out that we have already done a lot of things right intuitively. So not all of it is new information to me but it helps to have my approach confirmed by an expert because people (including well-meaning relatives) keep telling us that we spoil our child and should push him harder. As parents with a highly sensitive child we often feel isolated from other parents (who e.g. can take their children to an indoor swimming pool for the first time and their children actually don't go crazy because of all the new input) and it is simply nice to find out that all this is really not so unusual, that there are lots of other kids around who are like our son.
I recommend this book to anyone who suspect their child might be highly sensitive, but particularly to parents who have a highly sensitive child that is extroverted and expressive because I know how extremely exhausting life can be with such a child. My life has become a bit easier now that I have read this book.
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