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The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,182 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
15-20 per cent of children are highly sensitive - and they are often labelled shy, introverted, fussy or faddy. The real story is very different though and this practical book helps parents know what to do, when to back off, and how to ensure their child is given the right sort of treatment at school. It provides parents with insights and information so they can understand ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 8th 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,833)
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Baker
Feb 04, 2009 Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly sensitive individuals are those born with a tendency to notice more in their environment and deeply reflect on everything before acting, as compared to those who notice less and act quickly and impulsively. As a result sensitive people, both children and adults, tend to be empathic, smart, intuitive, creative, careful, and conscientious (they are aware of the effects of a misdeed, and so are less likely to commit one). They are also more easily overwhelmed by "high volume" or large quanti ...more
Eve
Jun 28, 2012 Eve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Four-word review: Are you kidding me?

Now, the longer version...

My daughter is an 'HSC,' or Highly Sensitive Child. We knew that from the time she was two days old and wouldn't let me put her down so I could go to the bathroom in the hospital; when I called the nurses' station for help, they commented that they'd already noticed her clinginess in the nursery. Fast-forward four and a half years, and my girl complains about bright lights and loud noises, can spot a balloon stuck in a tree half a mi
...more
Lauren
Feb 04, 2009 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I skimmed this book because I thought it might offer helpful techniques for handling some of my daughter's challenges. I wavered throughout the book on whether she was actually a "Highly Sensitive Child", but regardless thinking about her as highly sensitive does help me to be more empathetic. And that was the most useful part of the book for me -- having a shift in mindset, imagining what it would be like to be so highly attuned to the world that the smallest changes would be upsetting. As for ...more
Kara
I am a little torn on how many stars to give this book.

On the one hand, I feel that the book definitely helped me understand my highly sensitive son better. Little things that used to annoy me, or times when I thought he was overreacting, now make more sense to me and I'm able to have more patience and understanding. I feel less overwhelmed by him and so relieved to know I'm not alone and that there's an underlying thread to many of his perplexing behaviors.

On the other hand I felt like the book
...more
Laura Cowan
Apr 08, 2013 Laura Cowan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's useless to have regrets now when I didn't have control over my own childhood, but how I wish someone raising or teaching me had read this book 20-30 years ago. I am now raising my own sensitive child, who is a little different from the way I was but showing all the hallmark signs of high intelligence and high sensitivity, and this book really helped me in ways other parenting books and advice completely miss. I really like the bulleted lists: the only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 ...more
Abby
May 26, 2012 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the book gave me some insight into why my daughter reacts the way she does to certain things, what I really needed was some advice on what to do about it. Specifically how to discipline. I didn't find that here.
Monica
Aug 01, 2008 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. Really helped me learn how to deal with my son better. There is a test you can take online to see if your child is highly sensitive. (sensitive to sound, touch, light food etc.)
Dawn
Aug 05, 2014 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aron offers some solid background and tips for understanding, dealing with, and encouraging a child with a sensitive temperament. In this context, "sensitive" does not mean hippy-dippy tree-hugging stuff. It means a greater sensitivity to external stimulation, like being massively overwhelmed by noise, colors, crowds, different foods or fabric textures.

This book gave me a sense of reassurance that both myself and my sensitive daughter are doing okay. I had some minor issues with Aron's insistenc
...more
Jamie Williamson
Sep 22, 2014 Jamie Williamson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents
Having this book recommended to me was my light bulb moment it's when I fully realised that I was a highly sensitive dad raising a highly sensitive daughter. At first it was really difficult to read without getting very emotional as I reflected on my own childhood misgivings and the daily challenges I was facing as a parent. Once into the book it felt like I already knew so much because I have lived and breathed being a highly sensitive person and parent. The structure and strategies have been i ...more
Beth Gordon
This book really resonated with me from the first page. I could check off practically the entire list when thinking of my daughter. It's good to finally point a finger to a potential reason for her sensitivity.

What kind of irked me about the book was how to cope with having a highly sensitive child. It says to explain to the principal of your child's school about your child's temperament and ask for special accommodations. I agree that explaining it to the child's teacher would be helpful, but
...more
Cyndi
Mar 12, 2009 Cyndi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the third time I've checked this book out of the library. The author has plenty of insight into raising a sensitive child, and her discussion of family dynamics is spot on. As a mother of a highly sensitive daughter, I appreciate this resource. The sections on discipline and communicating with teachers are helpful. Some of her recommendations are over the top, though. I am trying to raise a reasonable, flexible kid; so this means not always indulging her preferences. Where the author rec ...more
Lori
Oct 19, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This book was so reassuring. I understand better why certain situations that are supposed to be "fun" cause my daughter stress and anxiety. Sudden loud noises, an abrupt change in the plan or routine and rooms filled with chaos can all be triggers for tears and behavior that can appear irrational to someone who is not highly sensitive or who has a child who "goes with the flow".

This book is also a valuable back up for parents who are tired of rationalizing the way their kids react to other peopl
...more
Lucy
Aug 28, 2010 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have a sensitive child who is easily overwhelmed. I have realized that I do not parent him in a way that helps him thrive.

This book did not help me because it told me that for him to thrive, I can never appear to be upset in front of him, never raise my voice, never make him eat anything he doesn't want to, never force him to be in a situation he finds himself uncomfortable in...basically let him live in a totally unrealistic world.

While I found the suggestions to be over-the-top (the author
...more
Susie
Nov 25, 2010 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book. I don't like the subtitle as much, and I don't really think it reflects Aron's thoughts, but publishers like to have something catchy that sounds problem-solving, so there you go.

If you're not familiar with Aron's work on highly sensitive people: her research indicates that 15-20 percent of the population has an innately more sensitive nervous system. This makes these people more perceptive in their physical senses (sometimes only certain ones), more attuned to nuance and meaning
...more
Shawna
May 10, 2011 Shawna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I expected this book to actually offer suggestions for helping me cope with my HSC, but it didn't.

When it offers a suggestion at long last, it follows up with, "But this may not work for your child, all children are different." Gee, no kidding. Just give me SOMETHING to go on.

I discovered I was an HSC, too, and am an HSA, and that my son was an HSC, only I was unaware of the concept, and probably "ruined" him.

HSC's need a different type of parenting and need different levels of understanding, ho
...more
Jo Bennie
Nov 30, 2014 Jo Bennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a
When I began reading this book I was sceptical. I did not want to label my 7 year old. I knew that t the discipline style my partner and I were using was not working, but was wary of pigeonholing her. But as I read more of Aron's book I found a wealth of compassionate guidance which has allowed me to help a child who is deeply affected by the world around her and is easily overwhelmed.

Aron begins with an questionnaire and overview of what a sensitive child is, what their particular needs are an
...more
Patti
Dec 09, 2015 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I found this book really helpful in terms of understanding some of my oldest child's more unique qualities. I realize now that I am also highly sensitive, but there are ways in which it affects him that I hadn't previously understood. What looks like anxiety is probably more like being overwhelmed or overstimulated by particular circumstances (and am coming to realize this is probably also true for myself). The result can sometimes be bratty behavior. I knew instinctively that it was not simply ...more
Anna
Jan 23, 2012 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very interesting book, that gave me really good insights into not only my son but my husband as well. However it was a little overboard with how perfect HSCs are. They are just human like everyone else.
Ali
Jan 29, 2011 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will change my Jadelyn's life, I can better cope as her mama and it's giving me insights into my own temperment as well! Thank you Carol!!
Cball
Nov 11, 2014 Cball rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, 2014
HOLIE COW! I FINISHED THIS BOOK IN EXACTLY 2 YEARS.

I'm not a non-fiction reader and I tend to steer clear of parenting books because about a quarter of the way through I come to the conclusion (again) that all of my problems are because of ME not because my kids may be challenging or something. I always hate it when it is all my problem. I like to share in the challenge.

Anywho. This *is* a good book and I probably would have gotten even more out of it if I had read it when the kiddos were presch
...more
Lara
Jan 15, 2015 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though finding this book and discovering high sensitivity in children and adults has been enlightening, the advice for handling HSCs in this book is quite repetitive and really no different than most of the advice in modern, progressive parenting books. If the label of high sensitivity is new to you and you suspect it may be relevant in your life, the first few chapters of this book are very valuable. If you are a fairly well-read, respectful parent who understands the importance of secure attac ...more
Lori
Loaded with a-ha moments, this extremely informative book helped me to understand my child, myself, and the people around us. My worldview has shifted somewhat, thanks to the explanations and advice offered here. I want everyone who interacts with my kid to understand the principles outlined here.
Helen
Jan 24, 2016 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Helen by: Eve Kelleher and Amy Jones
Shelves: self-help, parenting
Think this book would be especially useful for particularly sensitive children with overwhelmed parents who didn't understand how to deal with their sensitive child, and were overwhelmed and at their wits end. Also good for teachers, careers and other family members in contact with very sensitive children.

Being sensitive myself, and having a sensitive child, I could relate to a lot of the book's content, but there is such a lot of overwhelming advice in this book. It made my head spin a bit read
...more
Jill
Apr 15, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I wish my parents would have had when I was a child.

This is the book I want to put into the hands of every NON-highly sensitive person to help them understand the children, teens and adults in their life who process stimulus more deeply than they do.

If you've ever had people talk you to "just stop thinking about it" or "you worry too much" or if you have ever said that to someone, this book will help you both understand each other.

I do not have a newborn but the chapter on newbo
...more
Rebecca
Similar to my feelings about The Highly Sensitive Person, I found this book helpful because it provides better vocabulary to discuss sensitivity. For too many years I internalized the idea that I was "too sensitive," and I can see where I would tend to think that way about my son if I had not read both this book and The Highly Sensitive Person. However, even as an HSP myself, there were parts of this book that just made me cringe because I know I am only human and I will yell at my sensitive chi ...more
Danine
Jan 26, 2015 Danine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My son's (age 5)reactions to events and situations are painfully familiar. When he was a toddler he was terrified of new pieces of clothing. He covers his ears in distress at louder noises and gets scared at the scariest parts of movies. He'd rather be home and his concern for the welfare of animals and classmates is more pronounced than in other children. I know what I'm dealing with because he is me. I had a general idea of how to parent him but I thought to find a book. I've found that most p ...more
Jacqueline Babb
Mar 26, 2016 Jacqueline Babb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My son is a highly sensitive person: attune to loud noise, chaos, and a budding perfectionist. The apple fell very far from this tree. In Aron's quiz, I score very low on a sensitivity test. But this is the heart of parenting: supporting someone unconditionally, even if you don't really get it.

The book provides some good background, balanced with tips and stories. I came away from it realizing all of the ways that I can help my son be a little less overwhelmed and more comfortable. I have learn
...more
Missi
Nov 28, 2015 Missi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the first paragraph or two, I realized that I was reading a book not just about my son, but also about me. So, it was powerful for me in more than one way to gain understanding, vocabulary, and acceptance. One thing that was not as helpful was her treatment of discipline. Sometimes, a stern look and a few quiet words are not enough to correct a child's behavior, but that was my impression of her advice. She advocated pushing your HSC to do some things that you know they would regret if the ...more
Dawn
I read this book initially to discover ways to help my second child cope with her explosive temper (as it was recommended by a friend whose child had anger issues as well).
There is a quiz at the beginning of the book to help identify if your child is Highly Sensitive. My second child only 6-8 out of 20. This book really didn't apply to her. However, my first born child matched 16-18 out of 20 (and so did I) so I continued reading.
This book would have been useful, had I not been HS myself, when
...more
Libby
Feb 24, 2015 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
I felt pretty skeptical reading through a lot of this...although it's obvious the author has done a lot of research in her subject, I kept feeling like the trait she describes as "high sensitivity" was very nebulous and hard to define. I also sometimes felt she relied a little too much on personal experiences and preferences in giving advice (I particularly disagreed with a lot of her food advice, but I also reminded myself that this was published 13 years ago before I heard a lot of the advice ...more
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“Children are seriously children for about a decade. But for five or more decades after that, they will be your friend - if you're fortunate to like each other.” 0 likes
“under stress, HSCs can return to the behaviors and problems of a younger age, and when feeling good HSCs can act older than their age, so the advice for an age that your child is not may still apply right now;” 0 likes
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