Raising Our Sensitive Girl

The other day I was chatting to a friend and my Mum about Emma and we joked that Emma doesn’t do things by half measures. She concentrates completely. She focuses on how to get the bottle cap on until she’s cracked it. She masters a word and then says it over and over. I love this about her and funnily enough this trait makes her very similar to her brother – she gives everything 110% (or more) always. But whilst there are so many positives to this, I’ve also noticed that the other side of the coin…it means she is a little bit sensitive too.

I noticed it when she was 4 months old and I went to a swimming class with her and some of the NCT girls. There were spotlights on the ceiling and she stared at the lights for 20 minutes straight, until she eventually got overtired and screamed til she was red in the face. As she got older, I noticed it more and more in situations where there were lots of other children around – Emma would find it quite overwhelming and got upset.

The fact is that some babies are calm and cool as a breeze, whereas others would cry a bit more. Some wouldn’t sleep at night, whereas others were sleeping through from 4 months. The list goes on, as we all know. But as parents we accept our babies how they are, we help them become amazing little people. And every child is totally different. With Emma, she’s always been a more serious baby so I try and let her enjoy the lighter side of life – smiling, laughing, having fun. Her personality is wonderful and as she becomes older, I am loving hearing her babble away and laugh at things out of the blue.

There was a time a year ago where I would have said that I felt judged in these situations, where Emma cried and we had to leave the cafe immediately. Or when she suddenly got overtired and I had absolutely misjudged her stamina that day. Sometimes I think back to how I felt then and know now that it was my insecurities coming to the surface, that would make those comments about how she always cries in groups of kids or how much she likes to play alone, hurt that much more. Now I feel at more at ease with it for sure.

But although I might not feel judged, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about them. It doesn’t mean that I, like every Mum, desperately wants their daughter to be happy. That when she has a tantrum after a lovely day, it makes my heart sink. I know though that this is the make up of her personality and she thrives on positivity. So I find myself trying to be positive whatever the weather. I find myself using the carrot rather than the stick, because I want Emma to be confident, secure and outgoing. I don’t know whether I’m doing the right thing, and some days it is just so challenging but I want her to know she can be herself, without holding back. I just want her to keep hold of that determination forever and never let it go.

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49 Comments

  1. January 9, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Your approach to this is so positive and caring. My son was a very difficult toddler and as he was my first child I had nothing to compare to and assumed this was just normal. It’s only now that he is 8 years old that I understand that he was a sensitive little one too. He is such an old soul, questioning and caring about things that I never gave a second thought as a child. He has the biggest heart and makes me proud every day of the little man he has become. I used to get frustrated with him and his behaviour but if I had known, like you do, that he just needed a little more time or space or patience I could have saved myself a lot of upset! #bigpinklink
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  2. January 9, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    What a lovely post! It can be so hard to remain positive and always look for the silver lining in the more challenging moments. My daughter is different and I’m getting to the point when I don’t care about the stares and so on (almost, but not quite!) because I know how fab she is and that’s what matters. #PostsFromTheHeart

  3. January 10, 2017 / 6:46 am

    My eldest (5) is very sensitive. I don’t remember her being so as a toddler, but over the last year or so, it has really come out. She feels emotions so strongly. I have to be very careful with my words to her because she takes them so very deeply to heart. I also use the carrot rather than the stick. I’m so glad that you’re growing in confidence as Emma’s Mum. It sounds like you’re taking a really positive approach to parenting and that can only be a good thing for your daughter. #DreamTeam
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  4. January 10, 2017 / 6:53 am

    Aspen would cry if people spoke to her, she didn’t like any attention on her other than hubby and me and a few select others. It made mother and baby groups impossible. She is still sensitive at 12, but gosh has she changed. Her sensitivity and determination have turned her into the most compassionate, and driven young girl. Her teachers adore her as she is excellent in class, and her peers love her too. She has loads of friends and can confidently sing in front of the whole school. So do not fear, they grow up amazing. We worry way too much, trust me, as long as she is supported and loved she will be amazing! #dreamteam
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  5. January 10, 2017 / 7:03 am

    I could have written this about the Popple – she’s always been sensitive and a bit serious. I was always that parent who was running out of cafes because she got overstimulated or overtired. I eventually just had to accept that this is her personality and rather than fight it, I needed to figure out ways to work with it. #DreamTeam
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  6. January 10, 2017 / 7:44 am

    Oh Bridie this is so lovely as I can feel your concerns but you need not worry – all children are different and that’s what makes them so special and gorgeous. I love the sound of Emma’s determination and inquisitive mind – just focus on what that means she will be like as she grows. She sounds like she cares about things and that is a wonderful trait. Georgia was a tricky toddler and we could never sit in restaurants – not until she was five – but she got there and although this may seem a long way a way Emma will get there too. You are caring concerned parents that will help her develop that best way possible x #DreamTeam
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  7. January 10, 2017 / 8:19 am

    I think you can never know whether you are doing the right thing or not, but then a lot of parenting is about trusting your gut. You clearly love her and want the best for her, that’s exactly what she needs. You’re right not to beat yourself up about anything. It’s just different personalities. If we were all the same, it would be boring. She’s adorable by the way!

    Sally @ Life Loving
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  8. January 10, 2017 / 9:15 am

    As someone who isn’t a parent yet, it sounds like you’re doing what you think is right and you know you’re daughter better than anyone. Your love and guidance will be all she needs and you shouldn’t feel like you need to give anymore. She sounds like a gorgeous little girl and as a sensitive soul myself, I get it. You know how wonderful she is and she knows how wonderful you are! #DreamTeam
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  9. January 10, 2017 / 9:48 am

    It’s hard to know whether your doing the right things or not, I really wish there was s manual!
    The import thing is you’re doing the best for your little girl. It’s all you can do!
    My OH hates social situations, he much prefers his own company. He too is one of the most determined peolple I know. When he sets his mind to something he won’t stop until he’s seen in through and it’s perfect. It’s one of the things which I love about him.
    I’m sure your daughter will grow into a strong independent woman, helped along with your love, support and encouragement
    #DreamTeam
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  10. January 10, 2017 / 9:49 am

    I can relate to this. I’m a very sensitive person and I see the traits in Matilda. Because I recognise the signs I try to encourage her to be a little more outgoing. If we ever go to soft play she is happy on her own. She watches the other children but has no interest in getting involved in the mayhem. I was exactly the same. I think in the end they find their own path, just as we did. And we turned out ok didn’t we!?x #DreamTeam

  11. January 10, 2017 / 10:50 am

    I also have a sensitive girl. She went through and isnt completely over the stage of hating her Granny (husband’s mum). She would cry every time and she’s still not a huge fan of his family. It’s so awkward and they make jokes about it but it’s still really hard sometimes.

    #DreamTeam
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  12. January 10, 2017 / 12:37 pm

    I always felt quite lucky that Alfie was a very laid back baby, but I have noticed as he’s got older, he definitely is becoming more sensitive. Even with people he knows, it can take him a while to “warm up” and be himself. Like you, I leave him to express himself and don’t force him to play with the other children, or sit with Nanny, or interact with anyone if he doesn’t want to. I know eventually he’ll become curious and more confident and find his own way. It sounds like Emma will do exactly the same. #DreamTeam
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  13. January 10, 2017 / 12:48 pm

    Adorable picture and a wonderful post, tis so true, every child is different, we cannot sail against the wind, we must embrace who we are (: #DreamTeam

  14. January 10, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Ahhh… its always a big bear of mine that all babies and children are meant to fit into this perfect cookie cutter personality when in fact, they are all little individuals and that is what makes them all so wonderful! Like they say, variety is the spice of life. Xx #dreamteam

  15. January 10, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    A really lovely post (and a gorgeous shot of Emma at the start – SOOOO cute!). I can relate to this. My daughter is quite outgoing and social now (she used to struggle with lots of people when she was younger and pre-nursery). But she is also prone to getting worn down and overwhelmed by things. Only my husband and I notice it happening. Sometimes it’s so subtle my husband doesn’t even notice. But at those points she needs that extra attention to calm and reassure her.

    It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and supporting her. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do and by knowing you are there she’ll continue to grow into a wonderful and self-confident little girl I’m sure!

    #DreamTeam
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  16. January 10, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    I so relate to this, Megan is my sensitive child, although Eva too in her own way. The way you speak about your daughter is just beautiful, your love for her just jumps off the page and it makes me quite emotional. She is utterly beautiful Bridie, you’re doing an amazing job. #dreamteam
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  17. January 10, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    My two are exactly the same and it can be extremely challenging at times but like you I want them to hold on to that determined nature because I am positive it will serve them well when they are older. The carrot definitely works better than the stick x
    #DreamTeam

  18. January 10, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Aw this is really lovely. I think as you say – every child is so very different and you’re clearly doing the very best for your daughter – all you want is her to be happy have the confidence to face the world confident as her own person, and it sounds like you’re doing everything you can to ensure that, and being the best possible mama to your little girl. x
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  19. January 11, 2017 / 3:29 am

    Ahh she sounds a lot like my 17 month old, Emmeline. Knows her own mind, stubborn, won’t take no for an answer. I have an 8 year old who was like that too, fiercely determined and do you know what? She still has that competitive edge and channels it in her school work, in sport and music. She took her grade 1 flute exam earlier than most and last week beat everyone in her year plus everyone in the year above except 2 people, in a cross country race. Your daughter won’t be a push over, she holds fantastic traits x

  20. January 11, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Ah I remember being told at NCT about over stimulating babies! I’m quite lucky as Bsby Lighty doesn’t get overwhelmed too often but it sounds like you’re approaching it and building her confidence in just the right way. Thanks so much for hosting #DreamTeam xxx
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  21. January 11, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I know exactly what you mean by this Bridget. My two were both raised in the same way with the same parents in the same home, but they have such different personalities, and my youngest is definitely a thinker and will study and concentrate on things. Like you say though, this comes with a tendency to be more sensitive. He is so very attached to me which can be lovely – at playgroups he will sit so calmly on my knee and eat his toast and give Mummy-cuddles, where his sister wouldn’t have had any of that nonsense and would have been off in a shot trying to create carnage somewhere. I still find myself wondering if it’s OK for him still to be so sensitive and clingy at his age and whether I should be doing something different to try and toughen him up a bit, but I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that he is who he is and he’s my little love-bug so it’s not for me to change him, just to support him as he finds himself. Beautifully written as always hon. Thank you for having me along to co-host with you both. xx #DreamTeam

  22. January 11, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    As a parent of a child with special needs I quickly learned not to listen to others. You know your child and what they need/what works for them and no-one has the right to judge your parenting! #DreamTeam
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  23. January 11, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    Lovely post.They are all so complex and vunerable and I agree that positivity is the best tool in the box that we have as parents. At this age they can’t help the tears, they are who they are. My son is terribly negative and we try to do exactly the same for him#DreamTeam
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  24. January 11, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    Oh bless her. I love how you are letting her be her own self. It lets her know that to be emotional is a good thing. When she gets older, she will know it is ok to be sensitive and not have to be strong. Id rather have someone be overly sensitive than not open up at all!
    Keep doing what you’re doing. She is adorable! #dreamteam

  25. January 12, 2017 / 2:27 am

    I completely understand the horrible feeling of being judged. I’m sure that the times that I have personally felt that way, most of the time they were likely unfounded. My main problem was that I would keep a lofty expectation of how I think certain events SHOULD go. This would inevitably result in me dissolving into tears in front of my confused toddlers.

    Once I let go of those expectations, I was able to deal with situations more effectively!
    #DreamTeam
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  26. January 12, 2017 / 5:54 am

    Knowing your child and how to help her be herself is one of the best things you can do for her. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Know how she is can only help you as she gets older as you won’t be left wondering. #dreamteam

  27. January 12, 2017 / 5:54 am

    Knowing your child and how to help her be herself is one of the best things you can do for her. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Know how she is can only help you as she gets older as you won’t be left wondering. #dreamteam

  28. January 13, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    It sounds like you are doing absolutely the right thing. My daughter is really shy in groups (especially at first) and stands at the edge and sucks her thumb and susses it all out before going in and having fun. It used to really annoy me and I’d get so frustrated and wonder why she wasn’t like all the others, but then I realised it’s just her character. She’s perfect to me and that’s all that matters. (I also feel terribly guilty as it’s a lot of the time to do with her bendy joints at physical/soft play classes and I didn’t really accept this until after we saw a physio). They are all different but that is what makes them special xx #DreamTeam

  29. January 13, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    It sounds to me like your approach is the perfect one. When she was younger my Number One struggled a lot with being around round lots of people, she was extremely shy and I used to feel much like you about things. As she has got older she gained her own quiet confidence. She has an inner strength, a resolve that allows her to fight for what she believes in. She still isn’t a social butterfly, but she has a small friendship group who love her and who she loves. And I’ve come to realise that sometimes strength in shown in different ways. I’m so glad you joined us here at #PostsFromTheHeart
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  30. January 14, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    Such a lovely post. Sounds like you have a really wonderful approach to parenting your little lady and definitely a positive one too. I know what you mean about feeling judged but I’m glad you’re not feeling that so much any more. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x
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  31. January 15, 2017 / 9:30 am

    Emma is gorgeous Bridget and just how she was meant to be. I can completely relate to this as believe it or not, Little Button is super sensitive. Of course, it depends on the situation, but like Emma, anything where there is a big crowd or interaction with a lot of people, and it turns on that ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ mode. It can be so painful to watch, but that’s only because society tells us that we should all be outgoing and confident – when that’s just plain silly. #DreamTeam xxx
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  32. January 15, 2017 / 9:54 am

    You are her Mum so you know what’s best and so you should follow your instincts. If it feels right for you then that’s what you should do. I firmly believe in this. I don’t care if people disagree with the way I do things with my little one. At the end of the day if I feel it’s right for him then that’s enough. It’s true no one knows them better than us. It sounds like you’re doing a brilliant job. X #dreamteam
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  33. January 15, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I worry for my son too. He’s such a gentle soul that even at 4 i worry if he will cope with the world around him.Since going to school i feel like he has lost some of his confidence and feels a bit lost sometimes. I know he has to make his own way and i need to let him get on with it even at so young but i cant bare the though of him being unhappy and not being able to scoop him up into my arms.Im sure Emma will grow used to more busier environments and her personality will shine through. thank you for linking up today #PostsFromTheHeart

  34. January 15, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    Emma is such a cutie! My little boy is a little sensitive too. He plays a lot by himself, we went to a bday party yesterday and Kaleb just went to play by himself in the other room while everyone else was in the living room. I think as Emma gets older she will find it easier to play in big groups especially when she starts gettimg used to bigger spaces like primary school. Her confidence & personality will start shining through before you know it. 🙂 #DreamTeam

  35. January 16, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    Nothing wrong with being determined. My boy is 3 and is really sensitive too, I used to feel like his tantrums were all my fault but as time has gone I’ve just realised that is part of his personality, he is just a very emotional boy. You’re a fab mummy to Emma and she’s so gorgeous xx #dreamteam
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  36. January 16, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    I’m not sure there is any right way of parenting – all you can do is be loving and do what you think is best at the time – and hope they turn our OK! Sounds like you’re doing a great job! #DreamTeam
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  37. January 16, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    I admire positive parenting because I’m the total opposite. Stick, not the carrot with me generally maybe because I’m just impatient and want to shut the situation down asap rather than trying the positive route which takes longer 🙁 #dreamteam
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  38. January 17, 2017 / 6:54 am

    It’s great that you are patient and positive with her x My mummy knows that I’m completely the opposite – I am strong-willed and confident so she needs to reel me in more x all kiddies are different and so are parenting techniques. Sounds like you are doing a great job x #DreamTeam
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  39. January 17, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    I love your attitude and your understanding of it all. Sounds like you are nailing it. x #DreamTeam
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