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Helping a Sensitive Child

When Alexander Stratton, 7, recently got a bad grade, his mom, Lisa, of Schenectady, NY, tried to cheer him up by suggesting they study together next time. Instead, he broke into tears, crying, "I'm no good!"

Some children are just naturally more prone to getting their feelings hurt and becoming frustrated. To support your tenderhearted child:

Correct carefully. Sandwich criticisms between two positives to lessen the sting. For example: "I'm proud of how hard you're working. But I don't think you got the assignment quite right  -- let's go over it together. I know you can fix it."

Go easy on teasing. Many children love it when you give 'em a little good-natured grief. But sensitive kids can take even the silliest joke literally.

Help him rethink hurt feelings. Point out that he might have misread what he saw as a dis: "Maybe Sam didn't talk to you at recess because he was busy playing ball."

Don't be too over-protective. Sensitive kids, like all others, need to go through painful situations so they can learn how to handle them.