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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,806 ratings  ·  292 reviews
The bestselling author and psychologist whose books have topped 240,000 copies in print now addresses the trait of "high sensitivity" in children-and offers a breakthrough parenting guidebook for highly sensitive children and their caregivers.

With the publication of The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron became the first person to identify the inborn trait of "high s
Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 8th 2002 by Harmony
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Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not sure I agree with every single thing I read in it, but no two parenting situations are ever the same, so that makes sense. It really helped me to better understand my five year old daughter who is definitely highly sensitive.

It can be so hard to see a situation from a point of view that is different than the way you have always encountered the world yourself. Everybody sees a situation based on their own life experiences and it can be hard to understand it ba
Feb 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super interesting and insightful. Gave me some good strategies and let me feel better. Highly recommend.
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 10, 2011 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
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.)
Jul 22, 2011 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. ...more
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got this book to see if it applied to my son (it does) and along the way I learned that I am also highly sensitive! It felt hard for a while to really pin down if this was us or not, because there are so many different ways this can look and neither of us look like the "classic" sort of person described in this book, but understanding some of the internal processes helped me to have a better understanding of how both of us view the world in this unique way. We are both eager to understand ours ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Very insightful, affirming, and enlightening. As a HSP with HSC, this was a life changer.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
James Williams
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jo Bennie
Jul 18, 2011 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
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!! ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
While I didn't agree with every tactic (was a bit too psychoanalytic) I still learned allot. There were great pieces to hold onto. ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
There were definitely things that irked me throughout this book, specifically:
1. The insistence on the binary categories of “highly sensitive” and “non-sensitive”, rather than a continuum, seemed both unnecessary and inaccurate. I did the test and my results were solidly borderline, and as friend said - can’t kids just be “sensitive”?!
2. Following from 1, the assumption that HSCs should be treated differently from other kids, rather than recognising that all kids deserve attuned parenting.
3. T
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Our culture often seems to have a sink nor swim mentality towards kids as we throw them into the deep end of activities, other people, and skills. This is overwhelming for most kids, but it is exponentially overwhelming for a child that is highly sensitive. This book strives to inform about the needs of HSC to have space, peace, understanding, and dignity.

If you are frustrated because you child does NOT want to get out on the soccer field and play even after talking about how excited he was all
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating this book is really difficult. Where it was good, it was brilliant, confirming my instincts about parenting my daughter and offering insight into the way her mind works. Where it was bad, it was narrow-focused, redundant, pedantic, and biased. Sometimes even confusing. For example, it's apparent from my own experience and from the evidence described by Dr. Aron that sensitivity is probably more than a spectrum than an either-or, and that there are probably multiple types of sensitivity. B ...more
Kathryn Beal
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I'm a huge fan of The Highly Sensitive Person, but I think this book is even better. It is chocked full of so many great parenting tips and insights for sensitive children.

For example, she explains how you don't need to use manipulations or bullying with your HSC because most of the time you only need to ask. I see this with my 10-month old already. If I don't want him holding something, most of the time he will hand it back to me if I just ask. No need to yank it from his hand. The former tact
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this when my kids were younger, as I gained so many insights into his personality and my own. It was not that I was unaware of our traits, preferences, and behaviors, but understanding it under the umbrella of sensitivity helped me see it in a new way. I appreciate her take on both the upsides of being highly sensitive and the potential challenges. Before reading this book, I associated aspects of being highly-sensitive with introversion, so it was interesting to tease out the ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is divided into two sections. The first half was immensely informative and helpful to raising my highly sensitive children. The second half was wordy and at times repetitive. Her stance on discipline is very soft and letting the child run the home at times. But some of the info was helpful.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An important read for anyone who suspects their child is highly sensitive. In other words, a kid who takes in every sight, sound, feeling, smell, piece of knowledge around them. Highly attuned to their environment to the point it overwhelms them. Some of the practical advice in the second half was not as helpful as identifying and naming high sensitivity and its triggers in the first half.
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