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8 year old over sensitive?

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Q: My 8 year old, has what we call meltdowns. They are emotional fits of crying that she has gone through since 3 months old. I was told she is fussy. When she was overly picky about foods even as an infant, I was told she is fussy. If she is told she cannot do something she goes on a slide from a normal oh come on response to complete hysteria. I was told these are temper tantrums and to address them calmly. However, the older she gets, the more frequent they get. So as I start to watch them, I realize that she is very clingy to me when they occur, if a teacher tries to gently coax her back to the activity (lets use this as the example), she cries harder and just says no, she reverts to 2 year old behaviors. My usual rule of thumb at this juncture is to send her to the bathroom to wash her face, and have a private place to collect herself and then come back out and talk to me. It CAN work sometimes and othertimes not so much. WHEN it works, I also notice she is horrified at the idea of apologizing for the behavior to anyone else. For example, I told her she should really apologize to her teacher recently for the meltdown and she almost had another emotional fit. Essentially, she seems unable to even think about the emotional fit or acknowledge it without complete fear. She is an overly cautious child, a very physically active child, she eats but only what she wants to eat (impossible since infancy to get her to eat anything she decides is a no), she has a high metabolism and is actually frequently hungry, she does not sleep well and has a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep and then of course waking up, etc. I have been told this is just due to her being “highly sensitive”. She is bright, she is sweet, she is funny, but she cannot handle her own feelings or emotions. She also does not know how to be still and fidgets. The more nervous she is the more fidgety she becomes. If she is focused, she is fine.

I feel as though there HAS to be a reason why she has been like this since she was literally an infant. It is getting worse as she gets older and honestly I don’t want her living her life out like this.

What kind of doctor would you recommend sees her for this? It is NOT just behavioral. I am sure that this is not a “spoiled child”. She was like this since she was born and it has not gone away it is so unfair to label her spoiled or other behavioral aspects alone.

Please let me know your thoughts on this… and what direction to take. Not only are my patience tried with this,but I can see HER patience with herself are being tried and it is devistating to me that my 8 year old feels this anxiety for lack of a better word.

Thank you.

8 year old over sensitive?

Answered by on -


I agree that your daughter’s distress does not seem behavioral and that she is not spoiled. My heart goes out to you both. I’m sure this is very hard on your little girl and very hard on you. And I’m sure it would be a relief to know what is the matter so you could begin to take steps to make it easier for her to manage her world.

The kind of doctor you need is a child psychiatrist who will take the time to do a complete and thorough evaluation. That might take several visits as well as some careful data collection at home. Fortunately, you live in an area that has some of the best medical facilities in the world. I suggest that you talk with your pediatrician about how to locate a doctor who will do a comprehensive assessment of your daughter, both medically and psychiatrically.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

8 year old over sensitive?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). 8 year old over sensitive?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.