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What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"? - Page 8

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 #141 of 208

I'm noticing several people talking about the ability of the parents to cope, and that's a factor, too. I consider ds2 to be high needs (technically, I think he's still-undiagnosed SN, but that's similar from a coping standpoint). However, there are definitely much higher needs children around! While there are days when I feel as though he's the most difficult child ever, I'm totally aware that that's not even close to being true. However, I'm also not getting enough sleep, and at this point, my sleep deprivation, fatigue, etc. can be measured in years (with a few short periods where I got enough rest), not months. I've been anemic through all of my last four pregnancies, and was severely anemic after we lost Aaron (high blood loss, although I didn't require transfusion). I've had a lot of issues (PTSD and depression) around my multiple c-sections. I've had a long, hard haul to get back on my feet after we lost Aaron. I have long-term nerve damage in my pelvis (dates back to the c-section when I had ds2), as well as a severe diastasis, both of which affect my physical well-being in a variety of ways  I strongly suspect that I have some kind of thyroid and/or adrenal issue going on. So...ds2 is a handful, and would be a handful, no matter what. But, he probably wouldn't be as overwhelming to someone with more energy, both mental and physical, than I currently possess, yk?

 

Parenting was a whole different ballgame when I had ds1...I was only 24 when he was born, and hadn't had quite the reproductive butt-kicking that I eventually experienced. I just has SO much more energy. (I often feel that I've been tired since I got pregnant with dd1.) These things do make a difference. When someone says their baby/child is high needs, I don't think of that in terms of "that kids seems so much easier than dd1 as a baby!". I think of it in terms of how much the baby/child needs vs. how much the parent has to give. That's really the key equation, imo. If a child needs more than the parents have to give, then that child is going to be "high needs" for that/those parent(s), even if another parent wouldn't use the same terminology.

post #142 of 208
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I'm noticing several people talking about the ability of the parents to cope, and that's a factor, too. I consider ds2 to be high needs (technically, I think he's still-undiagnosed SN, but that's similar from a coping standpoint). However, there are definitely much higher needs children around! While there are days when I feel as though he's the most difficult child ever, I'm totally aware that that's not even close to being true. However, I'm also not getting enough sleep, and at this point, my sleep deprivation, fatigue, etc. can be measured in years (with a few short periods where I got enough rest), not months. I've been anemic through all of my last four pregnancies, and was severely anemic after we lost Aaron (high blood loss, although I didn't require transfusion). I've had a lot of issues (PTSD and depression) around my multiple c-sections. I've had a long, hard haul to get back on my feet after we lost Aaron. I have long-term nerve damage in my pelvis (dates back to the c-section when I had ds2), as well as a severe diastasis, both of which affect my physical well-being in a variety of ways  I strongly suspect that I have some kind of thyroid and/or adrenal issue going on. So...ds2 is a handful, and would be a handful, no matter what. But, he probably wouldn't be as overwhelming to someone with more energy, both mental and physical, than I currently possess, yk?

 

Parenting was a whole different ballgame when I had ds1...I was only 24 when he was born, and hadn't had quite the reproductive butt-kicking that I eventually experienced. I just has SO much more energy. (I often feel that I've been tired since I got pregnant with dd1.) These things do make a difference. When someone says their baby/child is high needs, I don't think of that in terms of "that kids seems so much easier than dd1 as a baby!". I think of it in terms of how much the baby/child needs vs. how much the parent has to give. That's really the key equation, imo. If a child needs more than the parents have to give, then that child is going to be "high needs" for that/those parent(s), even if another parent wouldn't use the same terminology.


That is totally true for me too. I mostly blame my own medical and psychological issues for the the problems I have with DS, even though I *KNOW* without a doubt (and have had lots of outside confirmation) that he is an unusually 'needy' kids anyway. I think even if I had an "easy" baby I'd have a tough time though. I had said a million times that I feel I was just not cut out to be a mom. I don't doubt I could've been a great mom if I had my health back and didn't feel... well, mentally unstable... It's really hard to figure out what is me and what is him and what is just chronic sleep deprivation. It all twists together into a big mess. And I could also really use a house cleaner, and if I could quit my WAH job things might be easier... but still, none of that would change the way DS is, and in some ways our individual issues complement each other well (i.e. it's easier to stay in bed & nurse him through his naps like he needs to, because I wouldn't likely have the energy to do something else anyway....)
post #143 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

When someone says their baby/child is high needs, I don't think of that in terms of "that kids seems so much easier than dd1 as a baby!". I think of it in terms of how much the baby/child needs vs. how much the parent has to give. That's really the key equation, imo. If a child needs more than the parents have to give, then that child is going to be "high needs" for that/those parent(s), even if another parent wouldn't use the same terminology.


I think this is key.  High needs is not a medical diagnosis.  It is a way for parents to describe their situation with their baby/child.  An experienced mom with loads of help and support may not consider a baby who cries a lot, nurses 20 times a day, can't be put down, etc. high needs because they have the emotional, mental and physical reserves to meet those needs.  On the other hand a less experienced mom who is isolated from help and support may consider a baby who wakes twice a night high needs.  I think that most moms that tell me their child is high needs are looking for support.  They want want someone to validate that parenting is rough.  I think they also want validation that their baby/child is good and so are they.  And yes, of course there are those parents who are just looking for attention or a label.  But I think most are honestly looking for sympathy and understanding.  As a fellow mom, that's what I'm going to give them.

post #144 of 208

We have had very easy kids, for which I am grateful.  :-)

post #145 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucy Alden View Post




I think this is key.  High needs is not a medical diagnosis.  It is a way for parents to describe their situation with their baby/child.  An experienced mom with loads of help and support may not consider a baby who cries a lot, nurses 20 times a day, can't be put down, etc. high needs because they have the emotional, mental and physical reserves to meet those needs.  On the other hand a less experienced mom who is isolated from help and support may consider a baby who wakes twice a night high needs.  I think that most moms that tell me their child is high needs are looking for support.  They want want someone to validate that parenting is rough.  I think they also want validation that their baby/child is good and so are they.  And yes, of course there are those parents who are just looking for attention or a label.  But I think most are honestly looking for sympathy and understanding.  As a fellow mom, that's what I'm going to give them.


yeahthat.gif

 

As a parent who had a rough start, it was soooo hard to communicate what I was going through and to seek & find the support I needed to get through. I realize now that I was having a more extreme experience than most parents, and a lot of people just couldn't relate to me. But yeah, how do you tell someone, "Parenting is totally kicking my ass and I desperately need some help or at least some reassurance that I'm going to survive this?"

 

I personally never described my DD as "high needs" but if anyone asked, "How do you like being a mom?" I'd usually answer: "It's intense."

 

And by that I meant: "I didn't expect parenting to be easy, but holy cow I had no idea it would be this hard. Labor & delivery alone was the most difficult physical & emotional experience I've been through to date. I am more exhausted that I thought it was possible to be. My brain has become my worst enemy...all the work I've done through years of therapy is worthless right now because I have no reserves to keep my bats in my belfry. I feel crazy. Breastfeeding 10+ hours a day with a breast infection is completely draining and feels like shit. My DD is a miracle, but I feel entirely inadequate to care for her. Don't ask me about how I'm enjoying my 'babymoon' I don't know what that is. I'm not 'falling in love' with my baby, I'm living hour to hour, hoping that somehow I don't lose my last shreds of selfhood and erupt into an insane, explitive-screaming banshee who ought to be locked up."

 

I mean really, no one wants to hear that.

 

I have no idea if my DD is "high needs" but I'm pretty sure that I am.

 

By treading gingerly in conversation with other moms, I have discovered that I am part of a small sisterhood who have been through hell. I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone, but I'm also relieved to know that I'm not alone.

 

On another note, it has always struck me as ironic that Dr. Sears is the one who coined the term "high needs." His family just seems so glowingly perfect, the model AP family, with sort of a freakishly charmed existence. So if they had a HN kid, it must be real, right?

 

post #146 of 208

I've never actually had anyone describe their kid as high needs to me, in real life.  I've actually only seen the term used here.  Probably because everyone here is familiar with Dr. Sears and it's his description--but I've always been unsure whether high needs was a medical term or a general term.  I do notice a lot of posts that contradict themselves--for example, beginning with the descriptor "high needs" for their child, but then going on to say that 90% of the time the child is just fine. To me, if you're 90% fine--that doesn't really sound like high needs so at that point I start to doubt the poster's idea of high needs.  My idea of high needs would be a child with colic or some kind of sustained sensory issue where the ratio was reversed and they were 90% of the time not fine.  But that said--I'm not sure what the actual definition of high needs really is?

post #147 of 208
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post

I've never actually had anyone describe their kid as high needs to me, in real life.  I've actually only seen the term used here.  Probably because everyone here is familiar with Dr. Sears and it's his description--but I've always been unsure whether high needs was a medical term or a general term.  I do notice a lot of posts that contradict themselves--for example, beginning with the descriptor "high needs" for their child, but then going on to say that 90% of the time the child is just fine. To me, if you're 90% fine--that doesn't really sound like high needs so at that point I start to doubt the poster's idea of high needs.  My idea of high needs would be a child with colic or some kind of sustained sensory issue where the ratio was reversed and they were 90% of the time not fine.  But that said--I'm not sure what the actual definition of high needs really is?


"High needs" as Dr. Sears uses it seems to be meant to describe a type of personality (so, it's not a medical term, though I suspect that some high-needs babies may have undiagnosed medical issues). See this for his description.

And I agree with your 90% thing. DS has improved a bit over the last year but while he was under a year, I would say he was calm & happy only 5-10% of the time. I can actually remember the 3-4 incidents during his first year where he was truly happy for 30mins or so straight, that's how rare it was.
post #148 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post

I've never actually had anyone describe their kid as high needs to me, in real life.  I've actually only seen the term used here.  Probably because everyone here is familiar with Dr. Sears and it's his description--but I've always been unsure whether high needs was a medical term or a general term.  I do notice a lot of posts that contradict themselves--for example, beginning with the descriptor "high needs" for their child, but then going on to say that 90% of the time the child is just fine. To me, if you're 90% fine--that doesn't really sound like high needs so at that point I start to doubt the poster's idea of high needs.  My idea of high needs would be a child with colic or some kind of sustained sensory issue where the ratio was reversed and they were 90% of the time not fine.  But that said--I'm not sure what the actual definition of high needs really is?




"High needs" as Dr. Sears uses it seems to be meant to describe a type of personality (so, it's not a medical term, though I suspect that some high-needs babies may have undiagnosed medical issues). See this for his description.

And I agree with your 90% thing. DS has improved a bit over the last year but while he was under a year, I would say he was calm & happy only 5-10% of the time. I can actually remember the 3-4 incidents during his first year where he was truly happy for 30mins or so straight, that's how rare it was.


Yeah - that's kind of the way dd1 was. She wasn't actually unhappy that often (although more so than any of my others), but she was almost never calm. She bobbed around like a crazed chicken while nursing, and latched and broke off and latched and broke off constantly, because she was distracted by everything  - I was still shooting milk everywhere when she was about 15 months old! She just wasn't ever content...unless she was on dh, in the Snugli (old one - soft carrier, and she was snuggled up to him, not facing out) and outdoors. She almost never relaxed around me at all...it was like she'd smell my milk and go ballistic. It was a really bizarre, and quite draining, experience. And, in retrospect, and looking at her now, I think she probably had some fairly major sensory issues, under the "over stimulated" umbrella, and has learned to manage them better. So, she did grow out of it, to some extent. She's still highly sensitive and kind of volatile, but not so...draining.

 

ETA: I would still consider dd1 high needs as a baby, but not to anywhere near the extent that some babies are. Dealing with your ds sounds utterly exhausting, crunchy_mommy!

 

post #149 of 208

I kind of feel like Storm Bride and a few others have said.....my own mental/physical state has a direct bearing on how I can deal with my kids.

 

I was fairly energetic, organized, and my entire world revolved around ds and no one else for the first year of his life. Now, after some major emotional upheavals, including a miscarriage, and after 4 years of continuous pregnancy, breastfeeding, or both simultaneously, and chronic sleep deprivation, I definitely struggle many days.

 

But, ds was recently diagnosed with Asperger's and ADHD so I know it's not all in my head----he IS more intense than the average kid. there are days when we are on our 395736th meltdown that I just sit down on the couch and watch in despair, wanting to yell, "why can't you just put on a sock, or pick up one freaking toy, or sit down in a chair on your butt for more than a nanosecond, without screeching and yelling and going bananas?"

 

Mainstream people often tell me that dd is 'needy" and "spoiled" because she wakes up several times a night, nurses constantly, wants to be carried, needs elaborate bedtime strategies and so forth, but I think that is a reflection of our AP parenting more than some personality "deficit" or "problem."

 

Having worked with severely impaired elementary schoolers, I am well aware that neither of my kids are even close to requiring the level of attention and care that some truly SN kids need. But it doesn't make my days any easier, lol.

post #150 of 208

My MIL and SIL both described my DS as being high needs when he was an infant. I  never thought of him as being high needs until I had DD 2 weeks ago, and she is such an easy baby, that it makes DS when he was an infant seem like maybe he was high needs. Of course, MIL and SIL aren't exactly on board with the AP that DH and I do. (MIL has said things like, "He just wants to nurse for comfort, so you don't to nurse hom. He needs to learn that that's only for eating when he's hungry.)

post #151 of 208

I responded "you haven't seen high needs until you've spent a day with my kid!" because seriously, I don't care what anyone says. Since DAY 1 he has been VERY high needs. Unlike any child I've ever met. We AP'ed completely and met every one of his needs with gentle parenting, so it wasn't like considering CIO or something was calling him high needs because he cried for hours.

 

BUT he was then diagnosed with autism and hyperlexia at two, so my mama instincts were right all along.  

 

I much prefer the term spirited child :) that is very good. So I stick to my vote. 

post #152 of 208

I think that parents are having children much later in life, me included and perhaps believe that our children should be on straightening themselves out at whatever age.  What surprises me, is that it is not only overused, but it seems to be like if you are being completely transparent then there is nothing that can be done.  Once you apply the label, then you can sit back.  I remember a girl that I grew up with who was always labeled as "sensitive".  As we matured and went on to college, she lived ever bit of that label that her mom said over and over.  The unfortunate part about it is that we as her friends were all expected to just understand her at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, because she would often use this label in a discussion.  Children are children.  They all go thru things and some are different in temperment and expression.  I have one who is an easy rider, rarely does his little boat seem to be rockin.  But when it does, he puts his feet firmly in and can be very difficult to soothe him to see the light.  My other son, bless his delicate heart, surprises me in many ways.  When it comes down to it, he came early out of the tunnel and he has an unbelieveable zest for life.  The last thing I want to do is give him something that will define him, without him defining him.  When he is a bit more difficult, I find a bit of tough love mixed with the right compassion and reading his signs goes a long way.  And sometimes he can be soothed with a hug, easily and he's not at all like his younger brother when he gets in a mood.  Every kid can be tough to manage or just having one of those off days. in everyday life I want to be remembered by the totality of my deeds and not by a single incident. I also remind myself constantly, that sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed - and so do my wee ones. I think when I hear that phrase, I wonder...is the child difficult or just a child?  I know it did take me a while to transition my mind...to play.

post #153 of 208

The post below sounded very "blame the parents" to me. I had DS #1 at age 29/30 (not sure if that makes me an older parent or not?). I am pretty sure that my age and perhaps "mature" expectations/set ways (I'm really not sure what you're implying is different about parenting as a middle-aged adult?)  are NOT what caused DS to be a miserable baby 24 hrs a day for the first 5 months. The handful of people I'd trust him with (and was willing to inflict him on, really) agreed that he was different from the average baby. And believe me, finding the label "high needs" didn't give me permission to "sit back." As I said in an earlier post, when I first read Dr. Sears's description of the High Needs Baby, I cried (and I am NOT a crier) because I really believed before that somehow I was causing DS's behavior/needs even though it didn't rationally didn't make sense. Labeling him as high needs didn't make me sit back and stop parenting or meeting his needs, but it gave me the power to realize the root was beyond my control and not my fault, and just carry on trying to meet his needs (however demanding they might be) as best I could.

 

DS has gotten better and better since he was 5 months. He went from being truly miserable to merely demanding. I could deal with the constant need to be held and nursed everytime I sat down, but the screaming just tore my heart out. Now he's just an insanely busy 2 y o (I counted how many times he lapped the others in his nursery class crossing the playground structure the other day....it was amazing), who is funny and adorable. But, in spite of the good times we are having now,  I was scarred enough by our early experience that recently when I was in a baby consignment store, I noticed and bought Dr. Sears's *Fussy Baby Book* even though I no longer *need* it, and I cried again when I read it, remembering how scary and difficult that first 1/2 year was. As I and others have said, it can be a hellish experience, and when people talked to me in the first few months about "treasuring these days, etc." I seriously wanted to kill them. Or give them my son and let them try and treasure it.

 

Oh, and Dr. Sears has a section in the *FBB* that talks about the pros and cons of labeling a child as high needs. It's definitely not a "medical diagnosis," but just a way of describing some babies' personalities (and they often tend to keep their demanding personalities later on in life).

 

I agree with previous posters--when someone says their baby is high needs, they are just reaching out for support and comfort. Give it to them.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TAWAEGEE View Post

I think that parents are having children much later in life, me included and perhaps believe that our children should be on straightening themselves out at whatever age.  What surprises me, is that it is not only overused, but it seems to be like if you are being completely transparent then there is nothing that can be done.  Once you apply the label, then you can sit back.  I remember a girl that I grew up with who was always labeled as "sensitive".  As we matured and went on to college, she lived ever bit of that label that her mom said over and over.  The unfortunate part about it is that we as her friends were all expected to just understand her at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, because she would often use this label in a discussion.  Children are children.  They all go thru things and some are different in temperment and expression.  I have one who is an easy rider, rarely does his little boat seem to be rockin.  But when it does, he puts his feet firmly in and can be very difficult to soothe him to see the light.  My other son, bless his delicate heart, surprises me in many ways.  When it comes down to it, he came early out of the tunnel and he has an unbelieveable zest for life.  The last thing I want to do is give him something that will define him, without him defining him.  When he is a bit more difficult, I find a bit of tough love mixed with the right compassion and reading his signs goes a long way.  And sometimes he can be soothed with a hug, easily and he's not at all like his younger brother when he gets in a mood.  Every kid can be tough to manage or just having one of those off days. in everyday life I want to be remembered by the totality of my deeds and not by a single incident. I also remind myself constantly, that sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed - and so do my wee ones. I think when I hear that phrase, I wonder...is the child difficult or just a child?  I know it did take me a while to transition my mind...to play.



 

post #154 of 208
I had my first child, who is high needs, in my mid-30s, and my easy child in my 40s. If it were my age, it seems like that would be reversed. The fact is that kids are different, and some are more intense or needier for whatever reason. I am very sure that I didn't create my dd's temperament. As others have said, people were commenting on how she'd keep me on my toes within a couple of days of her birth. And people commented on how mellow my younger one was right away too. We only have so much control over their personality.
post #155 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAWAEGEE View Post

I think that parents are having children much later in life, me included and perhaps believe that our children should be on straightening themselves out at whatever age.  What surprises me, is that it is not only overused, but it seems to be like if you are being completely transparent then there is nothing that can be done.  Once you apply the label, then you can sit back.  I remember a girl that I grew up with who was always labeled as "sensitive".  As we matured and went on to college, she lived ever bit of that label that her mom said over and over.  The unfortunate part about it is that we as her friends were all expected to just understand her at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, because she would often use this label in a discussion.  Children are children.  They all go thru things and some are different in temperment and expression.  I have one who is an easy rider, rarely does his little boat seem to be rockin.  But when it does, he puts his feet firmly in and can be very difficult to soothe him to see the light.  My other son, bless his delicate heart, surprises me in many ways.  When it comes down to it, he came early out of the tunnel and he has an unbelieveable zest for life.  The last thing I want to do is give him something that will define him, without him defining him.  When he is a bit more difficult, I find a bit of tough love mixed with the right compassion and reading his signs goes a long way.  And sometimes he can be soothed with a hug, easily and he's not at all like his younger brother when he gets in a mood.  Every kid can be tough to manage or just having one of those off days. in everyday life I want to be remembered by the totality of my deeds and not by a single incident. I also remind myself constantly, that sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed - and so do my wee ones. I think when I hear that phrase, I wonder...is the child difficult or just a child?  I know it did take me a while to transition my mind...to play.

nope.  i'm in my late 30's. 

i didn't even realize that my dd was different or high needs even with the sears description (which ALL fits her) until i hung out with the newborns of friends.  they didn't seem to need to be held 24 x 7 or nurse all night or scream their heads off.

i understand what i think you're saying about labeling.  i certainly wouldn't SAY to her she's high needs, whether she could understand or not, and i primarily limit that description to when i post on mdc so that i know that others know what i'm talking about.

 

(not directing this at you specifically) but.. for the mamas who think the label is overused, i'm confused.  if one goes by the sears description then how is it being overused?  and if your kid isn't a high needs kid, i think it's a little condescending to suggest for the mamas of the hn kids that they are seeking attention or otherwise don't know what they're talking about.  i can assure you, if you've lived it, you won't be judgey about someone saying that.  it's not a high needs kid contest.
 

 

post #156 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAWAEGEE View Post

I think that parents are having children much later in life, me included and perhaps believe that our children should be on straightening themselves out at whatever age.  What surprises me, is that it is not only overused, but it seems to be like if you are being completely transparent then there is nothing that can be done.  Once you apply the label, then you can sit back.  I remember a girl that I grew up with who was always labeled as "sensitive".  As we matured and went on to college, she lived ever bit of that label that her mom said over and over.  The unfortunate part about it is that we as her friends were all expected to just understand her at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, because she would often use this label in a discussion.  Children are children.  They all go thru things and some are different in temperment and expression.  I have one who is an easy rider, rarely does his little boat seem to be rockin.  But when it does, he puts his feet firmly in and can be very difficult to soothe him to see the light.  My other son, bless his delicate heart, surprises me in many ways.  When it comes down to it, he came early out of the tunnel and he has an unbelieveable zest for life.  The last thing I want to do is give him something that will define him, without him defining him.  When he is a bit more difficult, I find a bit of tough love mixed with the right compassion and reading his signs goes a long way.  And sometimes he can be soothed with a hug, easily and he's not at all like his younger brother when he gets in a mood.  Every kid can be tough to manage or just having one of those off days. in everyday life I want to be remembered by the totality of my deeds and not by a single incident. I also remind myself constantly, that sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed - and so do my wee ones. I think when I hear that phrase, I wonder...is the child difficult or just a child?  I know it did take me a while to transition my mind...to play.



I was 21 when I had my dd and I didn't realize that what I was going through with my dd wasn't normal for children until she was beyond infancy.  I just thought that it was part of parenting for years.  Her being a high needs baby and toddler didn't make me sit back and do nothing because there was a label, especially since I didn't realize that the label was there, the list Dr. Sears has and the term describes how she was to almost to a T (the only exception being that she did sleep once we started co-sleeping).  It wasn't just an off day thing, it was almost four years of off days where she was constantly in need.  I had my tubes tied when she was almost three because I couldn't imagine having two children like that and as much as I treasure my little girl I have never wanted to risk having a child that young again. 

 

I think all the parenting judgment on this thread is ridiculous.  I don't tell people they are ignoring their babies signs just because their baby isn't like mine was, I assume that each mother knows her baby better than I do and therefore knows what her baby's temperment is and what her baby needs from her.

post #157 of 208

When I hear a parent attach that label to their own kid I think the parent must be struggling and having a hard time with that particular DC. 

So I voted that must be hard for parent and child and I feel for them.

post #158 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by konayossie View Post

 

DS has gotten better and better since he was 5 months. He went from being truly miserable to merely demanding. I could deal with the constant need to be held and nursed everytime I sat down, but the screaming just tore my heart out. Now he's just an insanely busy 2 y o (I counted how many times he lapped the others in his nursery class crossing the playground structure the other day....it was amazing), who is funny and adorable. But, in spite of the good times we are having now,  I was scarred enough by our early experience that recently when I was in a baby consignment store, I noticed and bought Dr. Sears's *Fussy Baby Book* even though I no longer *need* it, and I cried again when I read it, remembering how scary and difficult that first 1/2 year was. As I and others have said, it can be a hellish experience, and when people talked to me in the first few months about "treasuring these days, etc." I seriously wanted to kill them. Or give them my son and let them try and treasure it.

 

Oh, and Dr. Sears has a section in the *FBB* that talks about the pros and cons of labeling a child as high needs. It's definitely not a "medical diagnosis," but just a way of describing some babies' personalities (and they often tend to keep their demanding personalities later on in life).

 

I agree with previous posters--when someone says their baby is high needs, they are just reaching out for support and comfort. Give it to them.



I could have written this myself.  I also came across Dr. Sears' "Fussy Baby Book" long after I actually needed it - but I bought it anyway.  It was reassuring to me that I wasn't just making up my baby's problems, even though it was in retrospect at that time.  Most people get through the baby stage and move on.  The books on childrearing that you buy, the types of web forums you post in, generally reflect the current age and stage of your child.

 

My son is 9 now and I still get worked up over baby issues.  It's not really a nostalgic issue, it's that his babyhood was so traumatic to me it is hard to work through the issues I developed trying to deal with him.  My firstborn was a happy, easy baby and at that time I thought I was a great mom.  I probably would have checked the box in the poll "My kids are easy because I practice AP with them", because that is a self-complimentary statement where moms can pat themselves on the back for being wonderful parents to produce such a great child. 

 

But my world flipped upside down when ds was born and screamed non-stop from day 1.  Other people's perceptions of me changed too, and I didn't fit in to parenting groups.  Bringing a screaming baby to a public place, even a grocery store to do necessary shopping, invites negative comments and unwanted advice. And who wants an attention seeking, demanding brat at a toddler playgroup? By school age, developmental delays are more noticable but other parents continue with the ignorant comments such as assumptions that I must not have prepared him for school properly through a good preschool, or maybe he will "catch up" if I put him in a community sport.  Now that he is in special ed, it is easier than ever to explain that he has issues beyond my control.  But it has been a really long road getting here.

post #159 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by TAWAEGEE View Post

I think that parents are having children much later in life, me included and perhaps believe that our children should be on straightening themselves out at whatever age.  What surprises me, is that it is not only overused, but it seems to be like if you are being completely transparent then there is nothing that can be done.  Once you apply the label, then you can sit back.  I remember a girl that I grew up with who was always labeled as "sensitive".  As we matured and went on to college, she lived ever bit of that label that her mom said over and over.  The unfortunate part about it is that we as her friends were all expected to just understand her at 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, because she would often use this label in a discussion.  Children are children.  They all go thru things and some are different in temperment and expression.  I have one who is an easy rider, rarely does his little boat seem to be rockin.  But when it does, he puts his feet firmly in and can be very difficult to soothe him to see the light.  My other son, bless his delicate heart, surprises me in many ways.  When it comes down to it, he came early out of the tunnel and he has an unbelieveable zest for life.  The last thing I want to do is give him something that will define him, without him defining him.  When he is a bit more difficult, I find a bit of tough love mixed with the right compassion and reading his signs goes a long way.  And sometimes he can be soothed with a hug, easily and he's not at all like his younger brother when he gets in a mood.  Every kid can be tough to manage or just having one of those off days. in everyday life I want to be remembered by the totality of my deeds and not by a single incident. I also remind myself constantly, that sometimes I get up on the wrong side of the bed - and so do my wee ones. I think when I hear that phrase, I wonder...is the child difficult or just a child?  I know it did take me a while to transition my mind...to play.



My DS was very high needs.  I referred to him that way.  That didn't mean I labeled him without seeking a solution.  It meant that in my own mind, I recognized that what I was going through with him which was not typical in any way.  It meant that I cut myself some slack when I didn't get up and shower in the morning because he had just spent the last 18 of 24 hours crying and six sleeping on and off.  It meant I didn't expect myself to have a seven course meal on the table at 6pm when my husband arrived home.   People do have difficult children.  To suggest otherwise is to minimize the very real challenges some of us go through and some of our children go through. 

 

It turned out that my son had special needs, sensory issues, gross motor delays, major speech delays and significant reflux and food allergies.  This was why he was "high needs." Once we figured out his food allergies, he was a much happier kid.  He is three years old and still doesn't sleep through the night.  On a regular basis he wakes up at 2 am and doesn't go back to bed until 7 am.  Still, I don't really think of him as "high needs" anymore.  Some moms would, and I would totally understand that.  Labeling a child high needs isn't a cop out to relieve ourselves of responsibility or say our child is "bad."  It can sometimes be the best way to describe an incredibly challenging situation.  It has been a way for me to say to family members "get off our backs" when they expected us to drive 6 hours for a baptism or 3 to visit Great Uncle Ed.  Have some empathy.

 

post #160 of 208


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post





I was 21 when I had my dd and I didn't realize that what I was going through with my dd wasn't normal for children until she was beyond infancy.  I just thought that it was part of parenting for years.  Her being a high needs baby and toddler didn't make me sit back and do nothing because there was a label, especially since I didn't realize that the label was there, the list Dr. Sears has and the term describes how she was to almost to a T (the only exception being that she did sleep once we started co-sleeping).  It wasn't just an off day thing, it was almost four years of off days where she was constantly in need.  I had my tubes tied when she was almost three because I couldn't imagine having two children like that and as much as I treasure my little girl I have never wanted to risk having a child that young again. 

 

I think all the parenting judgment on this thread is ridiculous.  I don't tell people they are ignoring their babies signs just because their baby isn't like mine was, I assume that each mother knows her baby better than I do and therefore knows what her baby's temperment is and what her baby needs from her.


Um, well, the way the poll is set up is kind of leading and definitely inviting the debate.  Whenever you ask a leading question and invite people to elaborate on it there will necessarily be generalizations made that don't fit everyone, but are based on the knowledge and experience (or lack there of) of the speaker.  I would try not to take it personally, if I were you.

 

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