Are you concerned that your teen seems to be more fretful and withdrawn as compared to his fellows?
You might discern that he prefers to spend time alone in his room, usually gets irritable after a long family day, or loses sleep tormenting about a class test. Throwing back, you may even recall that he has always been a bit more particular, quiet, or easily bewildered, and you anticipated he would grow out of it.
If this sounds familiar, you might be disturbed that there is something wrong with your kid. But many tees grappling with anxiety and fatigue have a normal personality trait called Sensory Processing Sensitivity, and they are known as being a highly sensitive person (HSP). Most of the highly sensitive teens who are oblivious to this personality characteristic struggle to comprehend why they feel more overwhelmed.
Highly sensitive people share four main personality traits, including the depth of processing, overstimulation, emotional responsiveness, and sensitivity to intricacies. Teens can show these traits in different ways. For instance:
- Complex thinking
- Asking lots of questions
- Needing more time for transitions
- Getting easily flustered, mainly when trying something new
- Highly creative
- Difficulty falling asleep after an exciting or busy day
- Feeling all emotions deeply
- Guessing someone’s feelings even if they haven’t expressed them
- A strong connection with nature
- Being bothered by loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells
Highly sensitive (HS) teens can easily flourish with a few lifestyle tweaks, and you, as a parent, can help them understand it themselves. You can give your HS teens the environment and tools they need to thrive.
Five Things Your Teen with High Sensitivity Needs
- A knowledge of what it means to be HS
High sensitivity looks like a flaw. Highly sensitive people could easily tag themselves as shy, too sensitive, a cry baby, or anxious. They think they are overly sentimental and resent that they would burst into tears over the little things. There is another side to the picture. HSPs are deep thinkers, tuned in to other people, and see things from a different perspective. They are creative, peace-loving, and highly empathetic. Plus, HS teens can be introverted and happier with their routines. As a parent, you can help your teen distinguishing their novel characteristics and strengths. This understanding will boost their self-confidence, and primarily, it will give them a sense of positive identity.
- Alone time
Busy school schedules, workloads, sports practices, extra-curricular activities, and friendships – teens have so much to do. If your teen is a highly sensitive person, he might get overwhelmed more easily by these events. For a teen, it may appear as a weakness, because it may seem like their companions have all the energy they need. Having space is the key thing that your HS teen will need to be happy. As soon as HSPs start realizing the importance of this downtime, they can start feeling comfortable and in control of their personalities. Support them schedule alone time, and urge them to rest if they feel stressed. Talk to them about self-care and other relaxation techniques.
- Proper sleep
Commonly, teens struggle to get enough sleep. They are recommended to have 8 to 10 hours of sleep, but researchers have revealed that a majority of them are not getting adequate sleep. There are many different reasons, ranging from device usage at night to shift in their circadian rhythms. Adequate sleep is imperative for deep thinker HSPs because their brains do a lot of processing during the night. Without proper sleep, your teen will be more emotional and less able to cope with the daily pressure. Simply put, lack of sleep is a disaster for your highly sensitive teen. You can teach them good sleep habits and encourage them to rest their bodies.
- A sense of control
Teens want to feel an escalating sense of power, but this is the age when parents squeeze their charge. It is evident to state that much of a teen’s rebellious behavior is triggered by the parent. As our kids grow, we must give them liberty, preparing them for the adult world. No doubt, it can be hard for a parent to let go of their control, especially when they can already discern their teen pulling away and acting differently. But giving them this control is vital for their development. HS teens feel troubled when they don’t have control over their lives. You should give them a chance to choose and voice their own opinions. When you increase their freedom and responsibility, you will see them thrive.
- Your support
Even though kids need freedom, they still need your guidance and support, too. The teenage brain is underdevelopment – shuffling and rearranging ideas and connections – implying that teens don’t make the best decisions always. The reason is that their prefrontal cortex is the last part of their brain to mature. During this developmental phase, HS tees are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety as compared to their counterparts. But it hits them in distinctive ways. They can be caught up in dramas at school usually, get deeply affected by their friends’ problems, and get heart-broken easily. They may get deep into their negative thoughts. As a parent, you have to help them during this time, and sometimes, all you have to do is listen. Try to connect with their emotions. This also means you have to remain non-judgmental. It is hard, but it is all that your teen needs.
Our teens need us more than they think they do! All they need is our support and help, and you can do this by providing them a healthy environment they need.