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What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"? - Page 7

Poll Results: What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 21% (87)
    Yup, I feel for you, so is mine.
  • 3% (15)
    You haven't seen high needs 'til you spent a day with my kid!
  • 6% (25)
    All babies are high needs.
  • 0% (3)
    There's no such thing as high needs.
  • 16% (69)
    That must be so tough!
  • 1% (8)
    My kids are easy because I practice AP with them.
  • 3% (16)
    The parent(s) just need to ____ (set some boundaries and limits, try a routine or schedule, etc.)
  • 41% (169)
    Some kids are high needs but the term seems to be really over-used/incorrectly used.
  • 4% (17)
    Other (explain)
409 Total Votes  
post #121 of 208

I never realized the terms "high-needs" and "spirited" were so controversial.  I've never been bothered by people who say their child is high-needs when going through a normal phase.  This doesn't usually hurt anything, so I don't see a purpose in arguing semantics.  I don't spend a lot of time dissecting other people's perceptions and judging whether I think their situation is really high needs or not. 

 

It bothers me much more to hear people say that there are no high needs children, or that all babies are high needs (way to pretend no one has any real problems), or that poor parenting causes it, or if only you do this and this (insert parenting technique here), it will all be fine.  What expecially grates on me is that the people who know the least seem to talk the loudest about their proposed "solutions" to the child's behavioral issues.

 

I know there are several other people here who have said things like this also, but my youngest screamed (not cried, actually screamed) for several hours a day for his first few months.  I swore I would never have another child after him, and I haven't.  Often in public I heard comments said behind my back but meant to be within my hearing, such as "some people shouldn't have children if they can't care for them" or "there are no bad babies, only bad parents".  I've had total strangers come up to me and give advice on what they think his problem is and what I should do about it.  Then there are other, kind people, who make reassuring statements that some babies are fussy but they will grow out of it in due time.  Except mine didn't grow out of it either.

 

In years since he has followed a developmental pediatrician and is in special ed at school for sensory integration disorder and several mild developmental delays.  But as a baby without a diagnosis, I was the worst parent ever, no matter what I did or didn't do.  This is not something I ever want to go through again, and I have trouble even reading some of the posts here because I've become so sensitive to the topic. 

post #122 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by kythe View Post

I never realized the terms "high-needs" and "spirited" were so controversial


the only reason they catch my attention in a negative way is when it's use to describe a child who CLEARLY has issues that require professional intervention but the parent is clinging to the 'high needs' or 'spirited' label as if that makes it OK. And honestly I see it on MDC more than anywhere. It's terrible to think of a child going without much-needed help because the parent has a Dr. Sears label instead. There almost seems to be a badge of honor to have a preschooler nursing 30 times a day and night but to me that's a child in distress. IDK. I don't think I'm explaining it very well. redface.gif
post #123 of 208

Deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:32am
post #124 of 208

I voted "that must be tough" and think of it in terms of "that child requires more time and energy than mine." I do think labels are overused, but they are overused throughout modern parenting, not just within the natural parenting community. I've met babies and toddlers who do have more fussy/high needs behavior they *need* more sling time and more nursing and more touch and just more parenting. My kids get all of those things but are just middle of the pack in terms of needs. They might use a sling to go to sleep but they can always be transferred. And sometimes the issue is whether the child must become more flexible because the mother is not always there.

 

I do think of high needs/fussy as being something a child outgrows. Ongoing issues after I don't know 3 or 4 are probably different. 

post #125 of 208

I personally like the words spirited and sensitive. I never even heard of the term "High Needs" until I read The Baby Book by Dr. Sears, and even then I didn't decide DD was until she was 2 months or so. She does fit all 12 criteria for that label. I honestly think I just have a very bright and sensitive child. She seems to feel every emotion really strongly and she needs a lot of stimulation. She is developmentally behaving like an 8 month old in a lot of ways, but she is only 4.5 months old. She seems to get frustrated a lot when she can't do something. I do suck at multi-tasking, though, so I tend to feel overwhelmed more easily than some other mothers might... 

I also prefer to call her spirited and sensitive because some people, like my mother, were calling her spoiled /brat/ has a temper, etc. and I don't feel like putting negative labels like that on a baby. Her drive to discover new things and her sensitivity will be great qualities when she is older, I am sure.

 

Also... she is allergic to dairy and soy and maybe I have missed another allergen. I probably should keep dropping things from my diet to see if it helps. But there are times during the day where DD is awesome and fun and isn't crying, so I don't know if it is allergies still.

post #126 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

I would have thought "all babies are high needs" during the time between when I was pregnant with my first until a little after my second child was born.  I read the descriptions of "high needs" babies and thought that it just sounded like what all babies are like.

 

After having a second baby, and I can say with confidence that my older son was in fact "high needs".  I honestly don't like that phrasing and am more likely to refer to his infant self as "intense", but having been exposed to two such drastically different personalities now I totally get it.

 

My older son had no medical issues, he just wanted things very specifically and very strongly and wouldn't quit until he got them.  Something like....hey, I'm two months old and I want to be held at a 30 degree angle facing south by southwest so I can stare at that spec on the wall, and I'm going to scream my head off until you figure that out.   And at every developmental milestone he hit (holding his head up, moving around, etc. etc.) he became more and more easygoing because he could just turn his own #$%! head and look without needing our help.  And he's a very mellow and independent four year old now. 


lmao I know what you mean.

 

post #127 of 208

I selected a minority response---

 

"The parent(s) just need to ____ (set some boundaries and limits, try a routine or schedule, etc.)"
 
Because I have found with my children (2 dxed with PDD and one who is just plain difficult), setting boundaries, having strict consequences, and keeping as much of a routine as possible (even when they don't like it) has made a world of difference. 
post #128 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

I selected a minority response---

 

"The parent(s) just need to ____ (set some boundaries and limits, try a routine or schedule, etc.)"
 
Because I have found with my children (2 dxed with PDD and one who is just plain difficult), setting boundaries, having strict consequences, and keeping as much of a routine as possible (even when they don't like it) has made a world of difference. 

 

That seems like something I might have to do when DD gets older.. but what do you do when they are 5 months old?  

 

post #129 of 208
I voted 'That must be so tough.'
Reading parenting forums and listening to other parents, I mostly came to the conclusion that my kids are super easy. Dynamic, spirited, non napping, serious trouble and clingy at times, but wow, some parents have to work soo much harder. Most of my friends practice AP, so it can't be all my brilliant parenting. And their parenting is not notably worse than mine. Children sure come with different temperments.
post #130 of 208

When I hear a parent state their child is "high needs" my automatic thought process is that their child must have been diagnosed with a learning, mental, or developmental disability.

 

post #131 of 208

I suspect that I'm going to have to tighten up our routine and structure, frugalmom. I'm working on it now. Unfortunately, that's going to mean that being a SAHM just completely sucks. I hate having a strict schedule and routine, and being free of that was the best thing about getting out of the work force. It's actually depressing me to contemplate having to switch to a more regimented way of life, but I think being a good mom to ds2 is going to mean being someone else. *sigh*

post #132 of 208



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

I selected a minority response---

 

"The parent(s) just need to ____ (set some boundaries and limits, try a routine or schedule, etc.)"
 
Because I have found with my children (2 dxed with PDD and one who is just plain difficult), setting boundaries, having strict consequences, and keeping as much of a routine as possible (even when they don't like it) has made a world of difference. 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ummm... of course consistent boundaries, limits, consequences, routine help most children, including "high needs" or "spirited" children, but in my (personal and professional) experience that does not solve the issues for kids whose needs are outside of the "typical" range! We have been incredibly consistent, but both of our kids are still "high needs" in different ways. I think statements like the above may lay the blame on parents for issues that the parents are, in fact, dealing with very effectively.

 

post #133 of 208

I believe if a parent calls their child high needs, than this is what they feel to be true in this moment in time and space. I had not realized that there is such a plethora of emotions and judgment involved when it comes to this description of a child. I thought it just means the child requires more attention than others and it takes a lot more effort to figure out what makes and keeps the child happy and centered.

 

Some high need children turn out to be calm and quiet children, sometimes they just cannot wait to be able to move themselves into the correct position, others cannot wait to communicate with the world, and then there are others that are colicky or in pain, others are more fearful children, some are just more attached, some are extremly picky eaters, others need more holding and comfort, and then there are others where there seems nothing you can do to calm the child.

 

I also believe that every child goes through times or phases when they are high needs and the parents are overwhelmed. I have seen and met children that are just more demanding, i.e. high needs, than others. The problem I have is when parents think that their particular parenting style is all one needs to try to have such a happy, easy, and centered child. I don't believe that parenting has much to do with a child being high needs or not. There might be some things that can help along the way (carrying the child, bouncing it, structure, enough sleep, enough food), but I don't believe that there is a general solution that will fit every child or family. Most importantly the parents will have to figure out a way to stay sane and healthy while raising their child.

 

 

post #134 of 208

I had to vote "other" because it depends on the context.  I pretty much only hear the term on these boards, and my response to its use generally depends on the context.  I think it can be a useful term, is probably overused, and in itself isn't necessarily very helpful/descriptive.

 

I am starting to think that AP babies/toddlers are high needs and sleep trained, formula fed, disposable diapered, etc. babies/toddlers are not.  I'm totally over-simplifying, and kind of tongue-in-cheek.  But, I mean, REALLY -- I have had two horrible sleepers, after two tough pregnancies, and it sucks.  My kids have been easy in other ways, but sleep is NOT one of them.  But then again, they have been pretty good nappers, which others don't get.

 

My nephew was/is a tough kid, and I lived with him until he was 4.  We used to call him, "Mr. Constant Supervision" and "Señor Destructo" and we had mantras like, "sit down or get down".  He's 15 now and a really cool kid, but still a fair amount of trouble ; )

 

Anyway, I'm babbling.

post #135 of 208

Well, according to my mother my attachment parenting style has caused DD to be this way. Could it be so? DH and I both feel like she was born this way and that without AP it would be even harder for us with her...but who knows?

post #136 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliope84 View Post

Well, according to my mother my attachment parenting style has caused DD to be this way. Could it be so? DH and I both feel like she was born this way and that without AP it would be even harder for us with her...but who knows?


I found AP because it was the only way I could parent my baby. My second, "easy" baby was parented the same way - except that she wasn't in arms as much, because she didn't scream the second I laid her down. I also rarely nursed her to sleep, because she liked to go to sleep on her own (she was one of those babies that I was convinced didn't actually exist - you know, the kind you can put down drowsy and they actually drift peacefully off to sleep?) Anyhow, I don't think AP in anyway causes high needs/sensitive/"difficult" babies.
post #137 of 208

I do think, and I believe this is supported by research that children that nurse through the night wake more often and hence the sleep of mother and child is more interrupted, but the quality of the sleep is better. There are bottle fed children that need a bottle 2 times a night, that need to be held and rocked to sleep. There are children that are nursed to bed and that wean themselves and that just sleep through the night.

 

I also have a book at home (by the Remo Largo) summarizing his finding of two longitudinal studies of children from pregnancy to their teens. And he clearly shows that there is a pretty large percentage of children that sleep sometimes or even every night in their parents bed. The percentages peak at age 3 and 4 where 38% sleep some nights in their parents bed and 13% every night). And the Swiss are definitey not know for their co-sleeping habits. He also charted night wakings with a similar trend (at 2 years 45% of children wake some nights, 22% wake every night, and these numbers are increasing until age 4!).

 

I think a lot of people just lie about their children's sleep habits avoiding comments, or they have different definitions. People don't call it co-sleeping if the child has its own bed, but visits every night around 2am.

post #138 of 208

i chose 'that must be so tough' - most of the time. maybe on one or two occasions have i thought otherwise.

 

because its either the children are high needs or the parents are overwhelmed. i understand both viewpoints. i have seen parents with HNs kids (yeah 3 of them) and they have completely AMAZED me by their calm composure. they are my heroes as i have never seen the mom raise her voice. ever. 

 

initially i used to think - you have no idea what you are talking about... but having volunteered with teen mothers and other parents... with life how it is now and no support i can see how overwhelming parenting can be. esp. the guilt factor. 

 

there are many times i read between the lines here on this board. and instead of jumping up and saying hey mama you have no idea what HNs is - instead of telling them how to help their child - i ask them what they are doing for THEMSELVES. and sure enough - nothing. not even a break for 30 secs to just sit down and drink a glass of cold water. 

 

 

 

post #139 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

I selected a minority response---


"The parent(s) just need to ____ (set some boundaries and limits, try a routine or schedule, etc.)"

Because I have found with my children (2 dxed with PDD and one who is just plain difficult), setting boundaries, having strict consequences, and keeping as much of a routine as possible (even when they don't like it) has made a world of difference.


How old are you assuming these kids are? Because we'd realized by age 3 months that our DD was high needs.

Saying that the issue is parenting is in effect blaming and judging the parents for their child's temperament.
post #140 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Lily View Post


How old are you assuming these kids are? Because we'd realized by age 3 months that our DD was high needs.
 

lol.gif i was warned in TWO days by the nurses at the hospital when dd refused to stop crying (the nurses had taken her to give me a break to recover from my csection and dd would have nothing of it. finally i got her and like a light switch the moment she changed arms pin drop silence). they didnt use the term but did tell me in a sweet way (they were the kindest, sweetest people) that oh boy i have one of those children and i shall have my hands full. 

 

when my coworker heard dd thru the phone while i was requesting her if she could bring me her swing that she had offered the next day - she left right away and i had the swing within an hour. 

 

AND... yes any structure - even today - means T R O U B L E. spring break and its immediately back to bed at midnight and wake up at 10 am. 

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