The term empath gets thrown around a lot in the world of psychology and spirituality, but not many people have a solid understanding of what it means to be an empath.
This can be even more frustrating for parents that suspect that their child is an empath, as they are unsure how to parent them and raise a child with this inside them
To help you make sense of it all, we will help to define what an empathic child is, some of the common signs that they are empathic, and how you can help to raise an empathic child.
What Is An Empathic Child?
Empathic children can be defined as a child having a nervous system that typically reacts much quicker to external stimuli including but not limited to; stress, adverse reactions to books (Check out these Angel Books) or movies, and being able to intuitively comment about others and how they are feeling.
The thing to note about empathic children is that they feel too much but don’t know how to deal with the emotions that they are feeling.
This can be frightening as they can generally feel more, smell more, and experience things at a much deeper level.
This could be translated to everyday objects or items, such as being able to smell a perfume a lot easier which means that it is harsher, or perhaps they are more affected by loud talking.
An empathic child may prefer softer clothes, be out in nature, and be energized by a few closer friends rather than a large social circle.
The problem can arise when a child is unable to communicate this across to you, which can feel isolating, which may affect their behaviors and stop them from pursuing certain activities.
Becoming a parent that is aware of these triggers means that you can help to identify solutions and relieve this inner turmoil.
One of the coping mechanisms for an empathic child is to typically retreat into solitude, or show emotions by crying to help them deal with the sensory overload.
Knowing is simply the first step; but once you have the grounding that your child is an empath you can take the steps to provide compassion and strategies to help your child thrive.
How To Identify An Empathic Child
The problem with labeling a child as an empath is that society and physicians typically label them as shy, attention-seeking, or antisocial, and can often misdiagnose them with having an anxiety disorder or being depressed.
This comes with the label of withdrawal due to the ability to think deeper and be more thoughtful than other children.
Here are some of the most common signs that your child is an empath:
- Does your child feel things on a deeper level compared to other children?
- Do they have a small group of friends rather than a larger social circle?
- Do they get overstimulated by noises, stress, large groups of people, or crowds?
- Does he or she become distressed based on other people’s emotions and act out accordingly?
- Does your child have a strong reaction to emotional scenes in films or video games that are scary or sad?
- Are they more introverted than extroverted?
- Does your child want to get away at family gatherings?
- Are they good listeners and show compassion for other people?
- Do they have a strong connection to animals or nature?
- Does your child make surprisingly intuitive comments about other people or yourself?
If you said yes to more than seven of the points above, then there’s a very strong chance that you have an empathic child.
If you said yes for 4-6 of the points, this indicates that there is a moderate chance they are empathic. Whilst 2-3 indicate some characteristics of an empathic child.
If you said yes for 0-1 points listed above, it is unlikely that your child is empathic.
How To Parent An Empathic Child
The first step is to identify the triggers that overstimulate your child, and put steps in place to help avoid or limit these activities.
This will help to calm your child and prevent the tea from setting in, as well as reduce the chances of a tantrum or general anxiety.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to avoid overscheduling and being busy for the sake of it, without taking into consideration breaks and alone time.
Another common trigger is watching something upsetting, such as a violent television show, watching the news, or taking part in violent video games where the age rating is beyond that of the child.
Watching something triggering, especially right before bed, can be problematic as it can reduce the chances of your child falling asleep, and then need a lot more time to relax before bed to unwind.
If a child struggles to get to sleep, this can affect overall sleep quality and sleep quantity, which will impact the energy levels in the following days, which can exacerbate the situation.
Whilst it’s not always the best idea to be a helicopter parent, keeping a close eye on what technology they are consuming can be a positive step to help them maintain healthy energy levels.
Another thing to consider is environmental factors that can over-sensitize their sensory parts, noise, and smells. You should always be wary of social situations, and where there is going to be a large gathering of people.
Empathic children don’t do well in large sporting events, as the clapping and blowing can be painful.
The worst thing you can do is to disregard the child and simply say that they need to toughen up or have thicker skin. This can come across as insensitive and can make things worse as the child may believe there is something wrong with them.
Teach them that an empathic person has the power to positively change people, and can be a person that helps to heal others through their understanding and listening.
Being empathic is not a bad thing, and having a connection to sensitivities is a loving personality trait that helps you to support others.
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