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#101 The Gifts of High Sensitivity with Sarah R. Moore

Season #2

Welcome back to another episode of our podcast, And I'm thrilled to have Sarah Moore back with us, an expert in conscious parenting, founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting, and author of "Peaceful Discipline: Story Teaching, Brain Science & Better Behavior." If you're tuning in again, you might remember Sarah from a fantastic chat we had a while back about fostering healthy sleep habits for our kids. That was Episode 72, in case you're feeling nostalgic and want to give it another listen.

Now, I'm super excited to bring Sarah back on board for another riveting discussion, this time diving into the gifts of highly sensitive children.

Points we will discuss:
• Why people tend to have a negative view of high sensitivity
• The positive aspects of sensitivity
• Some of the mistakes parents make when they have a sensitive child
• How parents can nurture the gifts that come with high sensitivity

If you're intrigued by our discussion and want to learn more about supporting highly sensitive children, be sure to tune in to the full episode with Sarah Moore. And don't forget to check out her book, "Peaceful Discipline: Story Teaching, Brain Science & Better Behavior," for valuable insights and strategies.

Do you have a highly sensitive child? Take the quiz to find out!


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Episode Resources:

Sarah’s Book: Peaceful Discipline: Story Teaching, Brain Science & Better Behavior

Get exclusive discounts to Sarah’s  programs: Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting - Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting

Connect with Sarah:



YT: Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting

TikTok: DandelionSeedsPositiveParentin's Creator Profile

Pinterest: Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting

Threads: Sarah R. Moore 🌟 Author & Conscious Parenting Trainer...


Remember when Sarah and I delved into sustainable sleep habits for kids in episode 72? Well, this time around, Sarah and I are back to tackle another essential parenting topic: highly sensitive children and their incredible gifts.

Now, as I relaunched the podcast, I knew I wanted Sarah back to explore another parenting topic. When I asked her what she was passionate about discussing, she suggested diving into the world of highly sensitive children and their parents. And guess what? I was all in! 

Like many of us, Sarah's upbringing was shaped by a highly sensitive parent—her single mom. Growing up in that environment, Sarah not only inherited her mother's sensitivity but also witnessed firsthand the challenges and strengths it brought.

Why do people tend to have a negative view of high sensitivity?

In my recent conversation with Sarah, she shed some light on why people tend to have a negative view of high sensitivity. Sara’s perspective is that part of the problem lies in the misconception that all sensitivity is the same. She continued by sharing that there are two distinct types: highly sensitive and hypersensitive. And understanding the difference is key to shifting the narrative around high sensitivity.

Sarah mentioned that highly sensitive children possess a temperament trait that they're born with. It's not something they can change any more than they can change their eye color or their natural inclination to be introverted or extroverted. This sensitivity is measurable on brain scans and is simply part of who they are. On the other hand, hypersensitivity is an adaptive behavior, often stemming from a lack of emotional support and validation during childhood. These are the children who believe they have to exhibit big, dramatic behaviors just to get noticed. They may have learned that they aren’t safe or valued unless they express themselves  in extreme ways.

And here's where the misconception arises—people tend to lump all sensitive behaviors into one category, assuming that every sensitive child is hypersensitive. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Highly sensitive children may indeed have big feelings, but it's not the same as consistently exhibiting negative behaviors as a result of learned hypersensitivity.

So, why does this distinction matter? Well, it shapes how we approach and support these children. Highly sensitive children thrive in environments that validate and nurture their sensitivity, whereas hypersensitive children may require additional support to unlearn negative behaviors and build healthier coping mechanisms.

Are there positive aspects of sensitivity? If so, what are they?

I kicked off this part of the discussion by acknowledging the common tendency to view high sensitivity through a lens of struggle and difficulty, particularly from a parenting standpoint. When parents seek guidance, it's often because they're grappling with how to navigate their child's unique temperament within a world that may not readily accommodate it. But, as I emphasized, it's essential to shift the narrative away from labeling traits as inherently positive or negative. Instead, explore the multifaceted gifts that high sensitivity brings to the table.

Sarah emphasized that just as we don't categorize emotions as strictly positive or negative, the same principle applies to high sensitivity. Instead, she suggests looking at the unique strengths and gifts that come with it. Among these gifts are:

  • Empathy: Highly sensitive children often display an exceptional capacity for empathy, extending beyond their years. They deeply understand and care about the feelings and needs of others, demonstrating compassion from a young age.
  • Creativity: Many highly sensitive children are naturally inclined towards creativity, excelling in artistic pursuits such as music, dance, and visual arts.
  • Compassion: Tied closely to empathy, these children show a heightened sensitivity to the suffering of others, both humans and animals, and are driven to alleviate it.
  • Intuition: Highly sensitive children possess a strong intuition, often making wise decisions based on gut feelings. This intuition can extend beyond conventional understanding, leading to insights that seem almost supernatural.
  • Detail-oriented: They are keen observers, noticing subtleties and nuances that others might overlook. This attention to detail fosters a deeper understanding of the world around them.
  • Deep thinkers: Highly sensitive children tend to ponder complex issues from a young age, grappling with moral questions and societal injustices. Their introspective nature often leads to profound insights and convictions.
  • Leadership with empathy: Empathetic leadership, a rare but invaluable trait, is often found in highly sensitive individuals. These leaders prioritize compassion and understanding, fostering inclusive and supportive environments.

Sarah adds another layer to the discussion by highlighting the importance of nurturing highly sensitive children's ability to trust themselves. When empowered to trust their intuition and inner wisdom, these children develop a strong sense of self-confidence and authenticity. They become adept at navigating life's challenges with grace and resilience, unafraid to stand up for what they believe in.

However, Sarah also offers a word of caution to parents and caregivers.  While the capacity for deep empathy and connection is indeed a gift, it can also leave highly sensitive individuals vulnerable to exploitation or burnout if boundaries are not established. Teaching children discernment is crucial, ensuring they invest their emotional energy in relationships that are mutually supportive and healthy.

Understanding and celebrating the gifts of highly sensitive children is essential for their healthy development. By recognizing their unique strengths and nurturing their self-trust, caregivers can empower these children to thrive in a world that may not always understand them. Through empathy, creativity, intuition, and compassionate leadership, highly sensitive individuals have the potential to make profound contributions to society while cultivating rich, fulfilling relationships along the way.

Understanding the unique needs and common parenting mistakes with highly sensitive children: 

Highly sensitive children experience emotions in a big way. Think of it like turning up the volume on your feelings. The highs are higher—the joy, the connection, the happiness—they're all dialed up a notch. But, on the flip side, the lows can feel more intense too. Anger, grief, frustration—they're all part of the package.

Now, as parents, it's crucial that we create a safe space for our children to express these emotions. Rather than dismissing or minimizing their feelings, we need to validate them. This is their reality, and by accepting and acknowledging their emotions, we help them feel heard and understood.

One of the key traits of highly sensitive children is their incredible capacity for empathy. Even at a young age, they're attuned to the emotions of others, often picking up on subtle cues that others might miss. I remember Sarah sharing a story about her own daughter noticing the emotions of strangers in a store. It's moments like these that highlight just how emotionally in tune these children can be.

But here's the thing—high sensitivity isn't just about emotions. It's also about how these children experience the world around them. While they may not always have sensory issues like sensitivity to tags on clothes or loud noises, in general, they are more sensitive to their environment. So, if your highly sensitive child asks you to turn down the music or complains about bright lights, it's not just them being difficult—it's them genuinely feeling overwhelmed by their surroundings.

Also, highly sensitive children come in all shapes and sizes. Some might be introverted, while others are extroverted. But regardless of their personality, they're all taking in more of the world around them than the average person. It's like their senses are turned up to full blast, and it's up to us as parents to help them navigate this sensory-rich world with grace and understanding.

How can parents nurture the gifts that come with high sensitivity?

When our highly sensitive children express themselves through big emotions, Sarah urges us to become detectives of the heart, seeking to understand what lies beneath the surface. What are they feeling? What do they need from us in the moment? By asking these questions and truly listening to our children, we open the door to meaningful connections and opportunities to support.

However, Sarah also warns against the pitfall of becoming the “fixer” of all our children's problems. She recognizes the importance of allowing our children to experience discomfort and disappointment, knowing that it's through these struggles that resilience is built. Instead of rushing to solve every challenge, Sarah encourages us to show up fully for our children, offering unwavering support while also empowering them to find their own solutions. One of the most poignant aspects of Sarah's message is her emphasis on “being-the-calm in our children's storms.” She acknowledges that it's natural to be affected by our children's intense emotions, but she challenges us to see it as an opportunity to model healthy coping mechanisms.

Wow, what an enlightening discussion we've had today with Sarah on The 3D Parent Podcast! I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Sarah for her incredible contribution and encourage you listeners to keep exploring, keep learning, and keep nurturing the beautiful gifts of your highly sensitive children. Take care, and we'll catch you on the next episode of the 3D Parent Podcast!