A Sensitive Father Raising a Sensitive Boy
There is no owner’s manual on how to become a good parent. To me it is a deeply appreciated role I’ve waited for, one I put my heart and soul into, and without a doubt it’s the most important undertaking of my life.
It’s my chance to change the world, through establishing trust, love, understanding, and friendship with this gentle being, my son, (and soul daughter) that will be part of a generation that will correct many errors made by generations before them.
The awakened ones, many of us feel.
Yes, the responsibility is great, and if you tie it to humanity and changes on a larger scale, the importance knocks the breath out of you. And so does their little pace of life!
From the moment I found out I was going to become a father (Blog Link) patience has had to be a deep part of my psyche. I’m watching my little boy echo the sensitivities that his own mother and father carried as children. I’d say that’s a pretty easy dart to throw knowing Sunniva’s psychic abilities based on that extreme sensitivity coupled with my own sensitive nature.
I first want to examine the definition of being “sensitive” and how society’s stereotypes reinforce the wrong values, or aid in masking the true self of about 20% of the population of young boy’s we are raising. Sensitivity does not mean weak, or less than. It’s actually being “more tuned into their surroundings” than most of their own peers. Highly sensitive children (boys and girls) have deep potential when the parenting style shifts to enhance the sensitivity, and not reinforce what friends, movies, pop culture, and other aspects of society deem “masculine” because that is teaching the child at an early age to repress who they really are.
In my opinion, one of the most dangerous things we can do to the development of a child is to not allow their true self the light to shine. This is easier said than done, or society would not face a generation of boys still bullied, still fearful, still full of anxiety from those early years.
As a survival instinct I had to put on an intense layer of masks to get through childhood unscathed. I knew early on my style of thinking, intuition, awareness, and sensitive wiring was not to be shown to peers. So I kept so many of my own thoughts inside, or buried in mounds of journals. I was lucky to be in the popular crowd because sports and academics came easy for me. Thank god. My memories of childhood and adolescence are very different from what others perceive they were. This is not unusual for HSP’s.
There is something indoctrinated in many, or perhaps even most parts of the world, that young boys aren’t to cry, are to be tougher, stronger, and are to repress feelings like “men” should. This works out okay for a large chunk of less sensitive children, but for those truly HSP (highly sensitive people/children) it can be devastating.
I see my own trials, and struggles to find a real identity, and my efforts to really mask my own personal nature just part of “fitting in” as best I could as an important puzzle piece to parenting and something I can now see as an advantage. We sensitive types need to be understood and feel safe so our expressions of creativity can be healthy and not destructive. And we need family members, parents, and caregivers who understand our wiring is different.
It’s not a curse, but a real blessing when it’s UNDERSTOOD. My gift to my own son, who is displaying early traits of a very sensitive young child, is that I “get it.” For the last six months I would prefer to hold him more, snuggle more, or just be desired as a new “dad”…but he wasn’t ready. I watched from a distance with love, admiration, and respect for the signals he’d give when HE was ready. See this isn’t about my needs as a parent, but his as my son. My son wakes up slowly. He does not like anybody but mama looking at him after he rises from a good nap. It takes a long while for him to assess people, before he finally cautiously emerges. He is a keen observer of the energy of those around him and certainly effected by it. (Anxiety, fear, anger, happiness) He is sensitive, or as I like to say now “finely tuned into the world around him”
And what a gift that is, eh?
This is a gift our society needs to be more aware of and the current trend and psychological insights into HSP’s is helping to make a more understanding dynamic in homes, communities, and the world we live in.
He will FEEL deeply.
The traits I had to repress, I can allow him to express.
Most of the greatest spiritual teachers and philosophical leaders carried many of these traits. Novelists and artists. Healers and musicians. But we aren’t taught that as young men.
Instead, we idolize sports heroes, action figures, and masculine traits that overshadow the actual nature of who we are as sensitive individuals, Suddenly my own pains, my own hurts, my own memories of loneliness and being misunderstood can be turned into lessons now. We are not to force the ways that worked on us as parents, or even an older sibling of your HSP child, because the highly sensitive temperament needs a very different set of rules.
Punitive type of punishment can be quite damaging to an HSP. Whereas one child might be spanked and have no real impact (although I’m against it in all cases as we shift into a space of non violence aimed at our kids) the highly sensitive child can suffer in many ways including the loss of trust with the caregiver, and it can create distance psychologically that can carry into adulthood. It’s simply a unique journey between parent and the highly sensitive child that should be very customized in my early experience and research.
I am able to understand my son and high sensitivity as I learn to understand the young boy that I was. This involves healing old wounds, and discovering the core of my soul that I suppressed out of a need to fit in and socially adapt. Instead of being impatient, embarrassed, or insecure about my son’s sensitivity, I want to see them as lessons for me to continue understanding myself better.
The vantage point for me has never been more honest, since I had children enter my life. I was able to put on a lot of masks through creative expression and “fit in” just about wherever I went. The problem with that path is you forget who you really are.
My name is Jared. I am a sensitive and creative individual with gifts due to my highly tuned in nature. I’m also the proud of father of a very needy, clingy, perceptive, bright, creative young baby boy. Let us not forget that the attributes we project onto our kids may not be the ones they carry. Allowing their own personality to come through and remain sensitive in a world not very forgiving. A world that rewards tough and shames weak. Your child isn’t weak.
They are often the brightest, most creative, insightful children that can tune into humans and their feelings with ease.
They are usually compassionate, activist hearts, and deeply empathic. They are led by feeling and heart and soul.
My god, what a gift to the world they are.
I’m learning to love the little boy that was me, the teenager who repressed many aspects of who I was, and embrace that tuned in frequency I’m on so that I can allow the road to free of debris for my little sensitive boy.