Be An Expert In Parenting An Over Emotional Child

Ritu Khanna | Feb 22 2019
Image credits:pexels

So, you just can’t get it why your child breaks down so easily on irrelevant matters that other kids probably don’t even notice?

Or you’re perhaps not getting any answers to why your kid gets frustrated faster or bursts out in anger every now and then? Well, honestly, every child, just like adults is different when it comes to his/her emotional responses to a situation. There is no true definition of “normal” when it comes to emotional sensitivity. That said, it just makes every day living a little too overwhelming for the parents when they have to deal with an over emotional child. And not just that, being a little unbalanced on emotions can be hard on the child as well, especially when it comes to living in a practical world.

If everything above felt like your own life scene, read on to get the much-needed parenting tips for helping out your over emotional child.

 Understanding the psychological factors

Yes. This is what you need to do immediately. After all, who could be better at understanding a child’s psychology than the parent? Understanding the innate temperament of a child is the first step to understand his emotional needs. It is said that a temperament consists of ten traits which are differently distributed in people, giving them their unique identity.

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There are various scientific ways to measure the emotional sensitivity of a child. The common method involves measuring it on two scales:

  • The first scale measures how sensitive a child is to his/her own feelings
  • The second measures a child’s sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of others.

While you can definitely dig up various websites to get as informed as possible on the aforementioned scales and learn how to determine your child’s emotional sensitivity level, the most important thing to know is that your child needs to be tenderly nurtured and cared for.  Understand that being emotional is no way related to being weak. As parents, it is hence important for you to understand that emotional sensitivity is ingrained in your child’s genetic structure and is a part of the temperament with which they are born.

And as to helping them out during their “high emotion” phase, there are some great tips (collected from experiences of parents themselves) in store for you in the section below.

Parenting tips

Being your child’s strongest and most reliable support system means standing by them, helping them understand their own emotions and teaching them to be mentally tough, even while being emotionally sensitive.  Here’s a list of tips that could be a game changer for you and your emotionally sensitive child.

   1. Help your child recognize his/her emotions

Understanding one’s own feelings is the first step towards emotional regulation. Make sure that you teach your child, irrespective of the age, to put a name to each of their emotions. You could just sit down with your child while they watch television and name different emotions that various characters on the screen feel. Or, there are some great books available that can be of aid while you teach your child to recognize emotions.

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It is also equally important to tell your child that emotions are a tad bit different from behavior. While it is ok for the child to feel or express an emotion in their own unique way, there is always a socially appropriate way in which she can show those up. 

   2. Show that you understand

Never ever say words that invalidate or present a total rejection of their feelings. Show your child that you understand, that you’ve felt the same at one point of time and that this is just a temporary feeling and will soon pass away. Give them the reassurance that their feelings and emotions are no different from others and their emotional moment would soon be over. There is no bigger support system for an overly emotional child than to know that his/her parents understand.

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   3. Teach them different ways to regulate their emotions

Well, this is what many parents would straight away want to jump over to. But believe us; everything we’ve mentioned earlier will only help you understand what emotional regulation skill works best for your child. Experienced parents vouch for different emotional regulation skills that have worked for their child. Some common ones that you must give a try are:

  • Teaching them to count until they’re calm
  • Teach them deep breathing exercises
  • Distracting stuff like coloring books, puzzles, music etc
  • Working together to find a solution to the root cause/problem that caused the emotional outburst
  • Teaching them to use their words         


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   4. Control your own responses towards your child’s emotions

While you think you’re doing just the right thing, sometimes, your responses to your child’s emotional outbursts could actually be making things worse. Avoid responses like asking your child to stop crying, giving a little too much attention or always being ready with a reward if the child manages to calm down. While your intent would be to offer comfort, sometimes, some of your responses can make the child dependent on the same for his/her emotional regulation. As parents, it is hence important for you to be there for your child, provide a supportive and understanding environment but also teach the child to understand his/her emotions and then self regulate.

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   5. Seek professional help when necessary

There are very limited chances that your over emotional child would need professional help. That said, sometimes, when you know that being oversensitive is not the innate nature of your child but only a recent change, it could be attributed to a medical cause. Simple and treatable issues like ear infections, urinary tract infection or a language or learning problem could be the root cause. In such cases, it is best advised to rule out a medical problem.

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Remember, parenting an overly emotional child poses some unique challenges. Give them the needed support, an understanding environment and praise their small efforts of emotional regulation and you’ll see your child blooming like never before.  Happy parenting!