High sensitivity if I knew then what I know now

High sensitivity if I knew then what I know now.

By Lisette –If I knew then what I know now…
Our oldest was difficult to handle for a while. From age three to eight, that's how
about. He has just turned 9. For our feeling we tried all kinds of things, I especially by the cozy, my husband especially by being strict. Because I'm home most of the time it ended up in fights when hubby came home. I ran around all day trying to keep the child (and brother and sister) entertained and happy, and when the husband came there was suddenly nothing left to do.

Very confusing and also very frustrating.

Keeping short!

One evening I tried to take the advice to heart. 'Keeping it short' 'not giving in' 'being consistent'. Especially people over fifty gave this kind of advice. And they could know, having raised a generation themselves. For the umpteenth time the eldest did not want to empty his plate, no, he did not even want to take a bite. And we were sick and tired of always serving him our own prepared meals.

He would eat. He had to, on advice from earlier times, stay at the table until his plate was empty.

In the end we went at 22.00 o'clock herself to bed, from misery. Child was still at the table. In the dark.

Food? Ho but. After another half hour I gave up. The endive stew went in the garbage can. Coincidentally the bag with the leftover raw endive was still on the counter.

I am not so tidy by nature. Mister was hungry by now and before I knew it he ate the contents of that bag one after the other. Umm.. Couldn't we have thought of that 4 hours earlier??


From the child coach we visited a few months later for guidance with his giftedness, we first heard about high sensitivity or HSP (highly sensitive personality). A world opened up for me. The whining about food and the labels in clothes from the oldest, the middle one who went completely crazy in the pool (from all the reverberation noise) and the youngest who never has socks on because of the seams. And so go barefoot in shoes, summer or winter.

Eldest has difficulty with 'mushy' structures in his mouth such as stew. That made him gag. With the raw endive, however, he had no problem.

I had always put it under the heading of 'cross' and resolved it with an 'I know what is good for you'. After reading about the characteristics of high sensitivity I could empathize with my children much better. Who cares how he eats the endive??

As long as he eats it. And if the child doesn't have cold feet, who cares if she goes in her shoes without socks?

Yes, of course the teacher will say something about it. And the mothers where she goes to play. And grandma, who finds it ridiculous, bare feet in December. The child just has to wear socks, it's the right thing to do. Fortunately, after three children, I am far enough along to be able to put those remarks aside.

My (high) sensitivity to criticism is slowly beginning to wear off.


I studied the subject more closely and found a lot of recognition. Like my eldest, I sense moods unerringly and can be bothered a lot by negativity. This is not always preventable, but helpful if you know about yourself.

Earlier I wrote about my giftedness and the search for myself. Also in counseling the children, it helps me to occasionally remember the knowledge of high sensitivity. Not as an excuse, but sometimes to understand their 'whining' just a little bit better.


High sensitivity can express itself in different ways. Some HSPs sense moods, some are bothered by loud noises, light or labels in clothing. But sensitivity in emotions, perfectionism and low self-esteem can also be related to high sensitivity. There are similarities with giftedness, ADHD, autism and visual thinking.

This makes the subject elusive, but also very interesting.

I wish other moms would read the information I did. If I knew then what I know now I would have guided my oldest very differently from toddler age. Of course, it's looking the cow in the ass.

And the bad luck of the eldest. But I see how much better it goes now that I deal with him differently, purely because I understand him better. I grant that to all parents!

This guest blog was written by Lisette de Bruijn-van der Does.

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