There are many articles circulating discussing both the incredible benefits and unique challenges associated with life as an empath. While this is a way of life that an adult is capable of understanding, rationalizing and navigating, it’s much more challenging for a child.
For those that may be unfamiliar with the term ‘empath’, these are people who have the ability to feel and absorb emotions at an extreme level. Often mistaken merely as being ‘sensitive’, empathy takes it to a new level. They don’t just recognize the emotions of those around them, they internalize and feel them first hand. This may manifest as overwhelming emotions, mental fog or even physical pain.
While most identified and labeled empaths are adults, the argument could be made that this is due to their level of understanding. An adult can rationalize the way that they are feeling, exploring the potential causes and discovering the cause. For a child, however, it’s not as easy. They understand that something feels ‘different’, that they feel ‘off’ but they often aren’t able to express why.
Do you believe your child may be an empath? Watch for these 7 often overlooked signs:
#1 – Accepting Adult Responsibilities
Empaths naturally want to care for those around them, it’s part of what makes them who they are. For those that begin to experience their empathic abilities at a young age, this desire comes with it. Does your child often act as the parental figure in their group of friends, nurturing and protecting those around them? In fact, they will put their own needs, desires, and feelings aside to focus on the well being of those that they care about.
#2 – Connection with Nature
One of the greatest sources of peace and relaxation that an empath will find is the natural world. Spending time walking through a park, standing in a forested area or relaxing by the shore listening to the waves are all ways to soothe their soul. In a world where they are often surrounded by difficult and negative emotions, these moments allow them to calm their minds and reconnect with their souls, recharging and preparing to take on the world once again. If your child seems most ‘at home’ when they are outdoors, it may be their ‘happy place’.
#3 – Sensory Overload
Young children are still learning how to understand and make sense of the stimuli that they are exposed to on a daily basis. It is for this reason that baby toys are often bright colors and designed to make noises. Sensory activities are important for children as they are developing, but while some children will adapt to different stimuli and learn how to cope appropriately, child empaths experience these emotions are a heightened level – the sounds are louder, colors are brighter, and smells are stronger. Feeling overloaded, they may act out, throw tantrums or retreat from the world.
#4 – Exhaustion and Fatigue
Experiencing the feelings and emotions of everyone around you can be an incredibly draining experience. This is especially true for child empaths as they have yet to understand what is happening to them or how to manage their gift. If you notice that your child is always exhausted, and no amount of sleep is able to bring them relief, this may be a sign that they are coping with something that you can’t see.
#5 – Avoid Crowds
This is one of the most overlooked signs that your child is an empath. Does your child prefer to spend time alone or in smaller one-on-one situations? If so, it may be due to the additional stress that group settings and crowds involve. Imagine standing in the middle of a room, feeling the rush of feelings and emotions from everyone around you all at once. For an empath, crowds are incredibly demanding and draining, making them an overwhelming experience that they likely would prefer to avoid entirely or only experience in very short doses.
#6 – Perceptive About Adult Emotions
While you may just shrug off your child’s understanding of the world as the fact that they are an ‘old soul’, there could be more to it than that. Does your child understand the complexities of relationships and communication beyond their years? It may be easy to explain away as nothing more than an ability to witness your connection with others, but empathic children actually sense the emotions behind these interactions. They are able to pick up on tension, pent-up frustration, high-stress levels and more.
#7 – Random Aches and Pains
As I mentioned earlier in the article, empathic reactions to emotions can manifest in a very real physical way. This includes headaches, stomach aches, or sore joints. These come on with no clear medical explanation, seemingly ‘out of the blue’ and traditional solutions fail to solve them. If you have ruled out all physical explanations (obviously this should be your first step) then it’s time to explore other possible causes.