How To Step Out of the Mainstream With Your Sensitive Spirited Child

An interview and mini Human Design chart analysis with Colleen Adrian — Mentor for parents of sensitive kids

Photo of Colleen Adrian, used with her permission

Colleen Adrian works as a mentor for parents of sensitive kids, helping them build a strong connected relationship and leave behind authoritarian methods that break their bond. I got to connect with her more this year through our online business mastermind group, and I’m so thrilled to find out that some of her clients are interested in Human Design as well.

I thought it might be fun to do a mini Human Design chart analysis for Colleen and find out how she applies these aspects of her chart to working as a mentor for fellow parents as a mini collaboration. Here’s her chart with her birth details removed.

Colleen’s Human Design chart, used with permission. Generated using Genetic Matrix

A Quick Explanation of Defined and Undefined Centers

An energy center is Defined when it’s colored, and Undefined when it’s white. Our Defined Centers show us where we are radiating our energies consistently, and our Undefined Centers show us how we are being affected by our external environments, such as the people around us, the events that are happening, or our physical locations.

I find it fascinating to take a quick look at the number of Defined and Undefined Centers, and where they are on the chart.

On Being a Super Learner and Empathetic Mentor

Colleen has her top 5 energy centers as Undefined. This means she has the potential to be:

  • A super learner — being open to taking in information from various perspectives. (Undefined Head and Ajna)
  • Great at intuiting her client’s problems, thoughts, and fears that they might not have voiced out yet. (Undefined Throat Center and Undefined Spleen center)
  • Great at connecting with clients from various backgrounds and sensing how they might be feeling lost as parents. (Undefined Identity Center)
  • Very empathetic towards her clients, especially in private 1-on-1 sessions.

I love the way how Colleen is empathetic towards both parents and their children, as shown so clearly in her writing. Here’s one of her parenting articles.

Thoughts on this by Colleen

I help them with practical strategies to use with their kids, and also connect with and tap into their own feelings and intuition so they can parent in alignment with their integrity.

In my work with parents, I’ve pulled together information from various perspectives, including psychology, spirituality, neuroscience, and the 8 shields model, to synthesize and create new perspectives. That means I’m able to provide practical everyday strategies for parents who want to connect with and raise authentic, empathetic human beings, and I’m also able to speak to how it relates to spirituality and bigger social issues.

We don’t necessarily talk about issues such as patriarchy or transitioning from authoritarian relationships to connected relationships, but those are often a backdrop in the lives of parents I work with.

They generally know they want to parent differently and have a connected relationship with their kids, but they can’t figure out what they need to say or do differently to achieve that. I hone in on what’s causing the disconnect between where they are and where they want to be and help them bridge the gap.

Sometimes, I intuitively know or can feel the parent’s emotions, but I’m more likely to ask them what’s coming up for them — as a means of facilitating their own self-exploration process in a safe container. I guide people to reconnect with their own feelings. I help them with practical strategies to use with their kids, and also connect with and tap into their own feelings and intuition so they can parent in alignment with their integrity.

Parents come to me because they feel my caring and non-judgment, and feel safe to share. Beforehand, they may have been judging themselves as parents, but I’m able to help them see their needs and their child’s needs, and I provide support to help them be more accepting. When they have practical strategies to shift their habits, they feel better about themselves and their children.

On Managing Intense Emotions, Setting Clear Boundaries, and Following Work/Rest Cycles

It’s very fascinating to see that Colleen has three Defined emotional channels, each with a distinct waveform of emotional energies. I feel that this could be very challenging for her to manage as a child, especially when our parents in earlier generations were not taught to embrace our emotions. It was much more common for us to grow up learning to suppress our emotions.

Once she’s able to practice being more sensitive to her emotional ups and downs and taking time for herself when she’s experiencing low moods, she is able to use this emotional mastery to help mentor fellow parents and their children to manage their own emotions with gentleness.

“When we show up for ourselves like this, we’re reconnecting with ourselves and we can start to build our capacity to tolerate uncomfortable feelings.”
~ Colleen Adrian, Showing Up for Yourself

Some of her defined emotional channels require her to be clear about setting clear expectations and boundaries in work and her personal life so that she can fulfill her personal needs better to take care of her close tribe of clients and loved ones. Setting clear expectations and boundaries also helps her ensure that she does not burn out from using her empathic abilities in her 5 Undefined energy centers.

Here’s her article where she shared her wisdom on setting clear boundaries:

Being Defined in all 4 energy motors — Sacral, Will, Root, and Emotional Solar Plexus, also gives her a lot of energy for her joyful work. As these energy motors have different rhythms in their work and rest cycles, it is also important for her to notice when she feels energized to work, and when she needs to rest.

Thoughts on this by Colleen

Setting good boundaries is a natural outcome of reconnecting with our feelings. Once we can feel our feelings and are willing to honour them, we just know when to say “no” or set a limit.

This is very reflective of my experiences growing up. I suppressed and disconnected from my emotions from a very early age, especially the ones that aren’t “nice” or make people uncomfortable — anger, disappointment, grief. I often couldn’t feel what I wanted, and as a result, I was indecisive, and easily swayed by others’ approval or judgment.

I’ve since done a lot of healing work and personal exploration that’s enabled me to connect with my feelings and attune to my children. Having had that personal experience helps me understand my clients’ experiences. I can guide them to re-learn the skills of connecting with their feelings and honouring them rather than judging themselves, and ultimately to connect more fully with their kids.

Setting good boundaries is a natural outcome of reconnecting with our feelings. Once we can feel our feelings and are willing to honour them, we just know when to say “no” or set a limit.

I help parents learn tools and practices for reconnecting with their feelings, and as a result, they learn to befriend their emotions and ultimately stay calmer with themselves and their children. They’re also much clearer about how to set boundaries for themselves and set limits with their children, which helps them stay calmer and create more harmony in their home.

My disconnection from feelings earlier in life, and my indecision and anxiety over being judged by others, motivated me to change my own parenting and help other parents. I wanted my son to grow up feeling confident to be his authentic self, and I knew he needed to be connected to his body and feelings. It’s still my biggest inspiration for the work I do.

On Leading in Authenticity

Colleen’s Conscious Line 6 in her Profile 6/2 at her current age shows how she inspires others by being authentic and less concerned about receiving negative criticism from others.

Parents, especially parents of sensitive kids, often face unwarranted criticisms from family, friends, and even public onlookers on how their style of parenting can be ‘wrong’ or ‘indulgent’. It’s so important to stay true to the parenting style you feel is right for each child you have.

This is why I feel that Colleen’s courage in expressing her authenticity, along with still connecting to her clients with her empathy, is a powerful combination to help empower and inspire them in their unique parenting journeys.

Thoughts on this by Colleen

Our highly sensitive, spirited kids, need connection first and that’s not often prioritized in our schools.

Yes, I’ve definitely stepped out of mainstream parenting by choosing to parent my highly sensitive, spirited child in a way that suits him better. I had to withstand criticism from family members, school officials, and other parents.

When my son was 11 years old, he began to disengage from school. I could tell he was unhappy, disconnected from the teachers, and he was beginning to disconnect from our family. Despite many attempts to facilitate connection, we were unable to create an environment that supported the connection he needed, so I pulled him out of school.

For 3 ½ years, I both homeschooled him and enrolled him in an outdoor nature program (based on the 8 shields model) that focused on connection to nature and community. Within a couple of months, he returned to being engaged in both the program and with us as a family.

When our kids have a strong connection to parents, teachers, and themselves (and their feelings), they’ll also be more likely to stay connected to their creativity and learning.

When you use connected parenting skills to prioritize connection with your child over “good behaviour”, your child will ultimately become empathetic, open-hearted, and authentic. But when they’re still young, they’re unlikely to be the “nice” child who is quietly sitting on the bench. That still garners a lot of criticism in some social circles.

Often, others who are watching us think we should be harsher and “get them into line”. However, they eventually learn socially acceptable behaviour because they can feel others’ feelings and want to extend the same empathy they’ve experienced from their parents, and not because they fear consequences or judgment.

Some kids thrive in a regular public or privately funded school system. Others, especially our highly sensitive, spirited kids, need connection first and that’s not often prioritized in our schools.

I’m in the beginning stages of creating an online community for parents who want the support to stay the course of being authentic and true to themselves as they learn and evolve in their parenting journey alongside their children. Having like-minded parents around me as I stepped out of the mainstream helped me keep my fears in check when I wondered if I was doing right by him and preparing him well enough for his future.

Closing Notes

Thank you, Colleen, for allowing me to do a mini-analysis of your chart, and for sharing all your experiences and the unique way you mentor fellow parents of sensitive kids. I love the way you blend in both your extensive research in multiple disciplines, personal experience, and empathy in helping your clients and their children manage and honor their sensitivity.

Dear readers, if you resonate with what Colleen has shared here and would love to get to connect more with her and her work, please do visit her website and subscribe to her articles on Medium. Thank you for reading our collaborative article.

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