Book Review: The Highly Sensitive Parent: Be Brilliant in Your Role, Even When the World Overwhelms You
I reviewed the book “The Highly Sensitive Parent: Be Brilliant in Your Role, Even When the World Overwhelms You”, even though I am not a parent.
(Disclosure: This is a professional book review and HiSensitives gets compensated for it by the publisher of the book. We only share links to products that we stand for and share our honest opinion on products with our followers.)
As a woman approaching my thirties, I am frequently getting asked when my fiancé and I will have children. They are asking the wrong question. The right question is ‘if’ we will have children.
Both my fiancé and I are HSP’s and to be honest, the thought of becoming parents amazes and terrifies us at the same time. Sure, there are tons of wonderful moments to cherish and it would be amazing to see this little mini version of the two of us running around.
However, we are well aware of the impact the decision to have children will have on our lives. We know that once you become a parent, everything will change and the days where you were able to sleep through the whole night will be long gone.
Once you choose to become a parent, you become a parent for life. It is a huge choice. The biggest choice you will ever make in your life. And this choice does not only have an impact on you, but also on this new little person you put into this world. After all you want to be a good parent and raise a decent human being.
Therefore, I was thrilled, when I saw that Elaine N. Aron had brought out a new book specifically for highly sensitive parents: “The Highly Sensitive Parent: Be Brilliant in Your Role, Even When the World Overwhelms You.”
Perhaps this book could help us in this major decision. In this blog I am sharing my thoughts on this book with you.
(Ps. In the picture above you see me holding the Dutch version of the book. In the image below you can see the book cover of the English version.)
Author Elaine N. Aron wrote this book for the highly sensitive parent. It is not a book about how to parent your child, but a book that helps you to discover how you as a highly sensitive person can fulfill your role as a parent optimally.
While highly sensitive people are exceptionally attuned to their children’s needs, they also experience a different kind of stress compared to non-HSP parents. Worrying deeply about their child’s well-being, strong emotions and overwhelm are some of the common challenges highly sensitive parents experience.
In this book, the author explains these different challenges a highly sensitive parent may encounter during parenthood and how to tackle them.
In her book, Elaine N. Aron first offers a self-examination to identify the level of sensitivity. This is very useful if you haven’t taken the self test earlier and want to determine how sensitive you actually are.
Also, she explains how highly sensitive parents differ from non-HSP parents. This explanation is backed up with interesting findings from scientific studies. I had to share a fact or two from this chapter with my friends and family, because the insights were so surprising to me!
In the second chapter, the author brilliantly catches your attention by starting with the perhaps biggest challenge for highly sensitive parents: overstimulation. Here, she explains the common sources of overstimulation for a highly sensitive parent and offers practical tips on how to deal with this. One of the main solutions for this issue, ‘asking for help’, is discussed thoroughly in chapter 3.
Chapter 4 dives into the highly sensitive parents’ depth of processing and decision making processes. It provides the reader with concrete tips on how to make decision-making as a highly sensitive parent easier.
In the following chapter the author discusses how highly sensitive parents can enjoy and regulate their greater emotional responsiveness through the different phases of their child’s life. Also here, practical tips are provided.
Chapter 6 discusses the intensification of social contacts once you become a parent. It elaborates on the different social contacts you create once you have children and how to interact with all of these types of connections when you are highly sensitive.
The last two chapters of the book touch upon highly sensitive parents and their partners. Here, common issues that may arise during parenthood are discussed as well as tools on how to fix them.
There was not one thing I did not love about this book. Throughout the whole book, Elain N. Aron shows that she is a typical HSP with an eye for detail: everything has been thought of!
It was comforting for me to read that our worries about parenthood and its challenges do not come out of the blue and that they are valid concerns. However, this book gave me hope that we can be brilliant parents with the right tools in our tool kit and enough help from our surroundings.
What I especially enjoyed with regards to this book is that it considers parenthood through all the different phases of a child’s life. Every parent can read this book and receive useful advice from it.
Another aspect that I found useful while reading Elain N. Arons’ book from my perspective of a highly sensitive non-parent, is that it also offers relationship advice - for both couples and those who are divorced. One of our biggest concerns with regards to having children is that our relationship will be put to the test. These last chapters provided us with insights on how to take care of each other once you become parents.
Also the chapter on social connections when you have children and how to deal with them was a very interesting chapter to read. I am currently planning a wedding and boy you can’t imagine how many times others have told me what our wedding day should look like. Reading this chapter made me realize that once you have children, people will continuously express their opinion about how you should raise your child to you, even if you did not ask for it. However, the author provided excellent tips on how to cope with these types of situations.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to both highly sensitive parents and those highly sensitive people still doubting whether they can handle parenthood.
For us, it was the comfort we needed to make our decision. I know that I now have a little pocket guide on my bookshelf which I can reach for in the future when I become a mom.
If you’d like to read the book yourself, you can purchase it here.