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What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"? - Page 9

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 #161 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post


 


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.

 

I figured the negative poll options were based on judgmental attitudes the OP had encountered in real life. 

 

I was disgusted to realize they were based on judgmental attitudes she'd encountered here at MDC.

 

I don't care how "leading" the poll options are, no one writes a post saying that all kids are difficult and they didn't have a problem with their kids because they parented the right way unless they are deeply critical of those who do have problems.
 

 

post #162 of 208

I'm an educator, so to me the term means a child who has needs that require extra supports. Technically speaking, gross and fine motor delays, language delays, or children who require extensive cognitive and/or behavioural supports (aka on the Autistic spectrum or FASD) qualify as "high needs"

 

My baby is fussy, I call him high maintenance.  There is a big difference to me.

post #163 of 208
FarrenSquare, I've always heard what you're talking about called Special Needs, not high needs. The two are completely different animals, though they sometimes overlap.
post #164 of 208

In my experience, the trend was turning towards "high needs" or "exceptional needs" as people started reacting negatively towards the term "special." Again, just my experience.

post #165 of 208
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



I figured the negative poll options were based on judgmental attitudes the OP had encountered in real life. 

 

I was disgusted to realize they were based on judgmental attitudes she'd encountered here at MDC.

 

I don't care how "leading" the poll options are, no one writes a post saying that all kids are difficult and they didn't have a problem with their kids because they parented the right way unless they are deeply critical of those who do have problems.
 

 


Yes, this... I apologize if the poll options were leading -- they really were all things I've heard while spending time on MDC (it's not something I discuss much in real life so I don't know how most non-MDC'ers would react). I tried to balance out the options but it was hard.

I know some of the responses have been hard for me (and surely others) to read and kind of angering but at the same time, I can appreciate that someone who hasn't had a high-needs kid can't always understand that kids like this exist and that it's not necessarily the parents' fault (though I sure feel like it at times and others' attitudes perpetuate that feeling!) I really do appreciate the honesty of the responses and hope that this thread has not caused too much tension or hurt feelings... It's important to me to know what others are thinking when I say something such as 'high needs' and this thread has provided lots of insight into everyone's thoughts. It's also confirmed for me that DS does indeed have some more extreme issues and we are FINALLY getting him evaluated by EI, which (however it turns out) I think is a step we've needed to take for a long time.

So no, my intention wasn't to cause a big angry debate, but to get clarity for myself and anyone else who was wondering the same thing. I also think it's awesome that most of the posters here DO understand that 'high needs' is different than a kid going through a tough stage or waking up on the wrong side of the bed. innocent.gif
post #166 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

It's also confirmed for me that DS does indeed have some more extreme issues and we are FINALLY getting him evaluated by EI, which (however it turns out) I think is a step we've needed to take for a long time.

Fantastic! Be honest with them and don't let them fob you off. When I got help for my son (for his eating) it was very tempting for me to explain away some of the adaptive behaviors I had acquired just to survive. Like "he only eats 5 things but it's probably because I stopped offering more than that...". Instead "His inability to cope with new foods without descending into panic means we're limited to x and y restaurants". KWIM?
post #167 of 208
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

It's also confirmed for me that DS does indeed have some more extreme issues and we are FINALLY getting him evaluated by EI, which (however it turns out) I think is a step we've needed to take for a long time.

Fantastic! Be honest with them and don't let them fob you off. When I got help for my son (for his eating) it was very tempting for me to explain away some of the adaptive behaviors I had acquired just to survive. Like "he only eats 5 things but it's probably because I stopped offering more than that...". Instead "His inability to cope with new foods without descending into panic means we're limited to x and y restaurants". KWIM?

I'm glad you said this, because it's so easy for me to minimize things because we've made it work somehow or blame X on how I did Y or whatever. I'm making a straightforward list of my concerns, and hopefully that will help me to confidently get my message across!!
post #168 of 208
yes! What I learned was that it was all a jumbled mess. Without clear direction, my adaptive behaviors were compounding his issues. So we BOTH had to learn new tricks smile.gif
post #169 of 208

deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:33am
post #170 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by quaz View Post
Now, tell me how on earth that is a 'bit' more difficult, and that she just had an off day!!

 

Tammy

 

 

 


I hope for both your sakes that that story was all in the past tense!

 

It's got to be such a relief for people who have kids with quantifiable reasons for certain behaviors. Like the parents who figure out allergies and can actually DO something and make their child's life easier. I hope that every parent with a high needs baby is able to find a cause that has a solution.

 

post #171 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



I figured the negative poll options were based on judgmental attitudes the OP had encountered in real life. 

 

I was disgusted to realize they were based on judgmental attitudes she'd encountered here at MDC.

 

I don't care how "leading" the poll options are, no one writes a post saying that all kids are difficult and they didn't have a problem with their kids because they parented the right way unless they are deeply critical of those who do have problems.
 

 




Yes, this... I apologize if the poll options were leading -- they really were all things I've heard while spending time on MDC (it's not something I discuss much in real life so I don't know how most non-MDC'ers would react). I tried to balance out the options but it was hard.

I know some of the responses have been hard for me (and surely others) to read and kind of angering but at the same time, I can appreciate that someone who hasn't had a high-needs kid can't always understand that kids like this exist and that it's not necessarily the parents' fault (though I sure feel like it at times and others' attitudes perpetuate that feeling!) I really do appreciate the honesty of the responses and hope that this thread has not caused too much tension or hurt feelings... It's important to me to know what others are thinking when I say something such as 'high needs' and this thread has provided lots of insight into everyone's thoughts. It's also confirmed for me that DS does indeed have some more extreme issues and we are FINALLY getting him evaluated by EI, which (however it turns out) I think is a step we've needed to take for a long time.

So no, my intention wasn't to cause a big angry debate, but to get clarity for myself and anyone else who was wondering the same thing. I also think it's awesome that most of the posters here DO understand that 'high needs' is different than a kid going through a tough stage or waking up on the wrong side of the bed. innocent.gif

Crunchy:  I've really enjoyed this thread and thanks for posting.  It made me pause and wonder about the terms I use.  My DH has ADD and I am such a nervous personality that I would be freaking out in a field in the middle of no where (even if no other humans existed) and would probably be looking for a cigarette (even though I don't smoke) just because I'm TENSE.  And DH is tense.  And DD came out of my womb an INTENSE individual.  It's funny but my first response would be to call her high needs because she NEEDS so much, even at 4.5.  She needs to be seen, heard, loved, listened to, agreed with, admired, etc.  

 

So do I.

 

Am I high needs or is there an element of wanting to be heard and a strong need to be acknowledged?  I think my DD is very much like myself and DH.  She is a human being screaming for attention (not for lack of attention but more for a need to be acknowledged for one's thoughts and contributions).  I find this much different than babies or young children who have attachment needs that aren't related to normal acknowledgement needs.  I disagree with the poster upstream who referenced the older parent thing and how older parents have harsher or more attuned expectations.  I don't think that is the case at all.  I think parents are very in tune (no matter what the age) of their chid's needs.  I think there is a fine line between unusually high needs and needs that are part and parcel of personality.  I've erred on the side of personality because I know my own self and DH's personality and we both have learned to live with our own foibles.  
 

 

post #172 of 208

deleted


Edited by quaz - 5/25/11 at 10:33am
post #173 of 208
I like the term high need, because that was exactly what made my DD different (and I'd cared for many children over the years, as a nanny, so I wasn't "just" a shocked first-time mum). Spirited she may be, in some ways. Strong-willed and physically strong (but always tiny!). And full of energy, but more determination and perseverance than wired. She's always "on", and has had a lot of trouble relaxing (except when breastfeeding).

I like high need, because DD demanded (and loudly!), to always be held, only be held by her parents, to be breastfed nearly all the time, to not get dressed (or only dressed in some, quick, simple way), to never be put down, to no have her diapers changed (or to do it with her upright), to never ever be wet (even in disposables), to always be held upright, to not be confined in a sling or carrier or carseat, to only sleep next to me on the bed at night, and only in the push chair in the day time, to throw herself out of our arms if we didn't get her what she wanted right away... And to always demand it right now (never suck hands when hungry or making sounds, just reach and then SCREAM). Still, after the first month or so she didn't scream much, because we responded right away. We held her the way she wanted etc. Obviously, she needed all that.


Anyways, yes, I think some babies are high need, DD is just very different from other kids I've known. And then I know others who are actually high need too, but mostly they are the toddlers and preschoolers that run riot, which DD just doesn't do. Different ways of high need.

On the other hand, I also know some parents who kind of expect their kids to be angels, and just fit into the parents' life smoothly. I suspect some of them are actually quite relaxed babies, average babies, just they won't sleep 12 hours at a stretch eyesroll.gif and get upset when they are hungry... On the other hand, I've never heard any of these parents refer to their kids as high need, they're kind of the type of parents who are more likely to read Babywise than the Sears! (Instead I've heard them refer to their babies as "stroppy", "fussy", "difficult", "naughty", "trouble" and "bad". Makes me a bit sad. )

"The parents just need to ...." makes me see red! Really easy to judge other parents, but I'd rather not. I don't know what their life is like. I do however know that with MY child, the best way of getting her to spiral way out of control is to try to impose routines on her (as it happens, I thrive on routines, she doesn't). A rhythm works, if I don't worry too much about it, but look more to my child. If I go with the flow, she tends to fall into a routine of her own. (When we tried to get her to bed at 8.30, every night it would take longer before she slept, after a week or so not until 11. So we dropped it, and after a couple f months she'd pulled her bedtime back to 7.30-8 - she'd never ever slept that early!)
post #174 of 208

I'm of the mind that well, its a baby and all babies are high needs!  They're babies!  Part of it is parental expectation (like they think they baby will be a certain way, but then the reality of caring for a baby 24/7 is something else--and they think it is a high needs baby, when it just, a baby!).

 

I think if you realize your baby will cry all the time, want to never sleep without you holding them/touching them, and will not sleep for more then 20 minutes at a time, you have realistic expectations ;)

 

And all babies go through phases when they need to be held all the time, don't like the way socks feel, wake all the time, etc. 

 

Parenting is tough.  Hardest job in the world. 

post #175 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post

I'm of the mind that well, its a baby and all babies are high needs!  They're babies!  Part of it is parental expectation (like they think they baby will be a certain way, but then the reality of caring for a baby 24/7 is something else--and they think it is a high needs baby, when it just, a baby!).

 

I think if you realize your baby will cry all the time, want to never sleep without you holding them/touching them, and will not sleep for more then 20 minutes at a time, you have realistic expectations ;)

 

And all babies go through phases when they need to be held all the time, don't like the way socks feel, wake all the time, etc. 

 

Parenting is tough.  Hardest job in the world. 



I'm kind of astonished to read this from a parent of more than one child, I'll be honest. I've only had one that wouldn't sleep unless I was holding or touching her. I've had two who would sleep for long stretches from a very early age. I've only had one that cried anything close to "all the time".

 

I honestly think the "all babies are high needs" response is really dismissive of people who are struggling with unusually high needs (or "high maintenance") children.

post #176 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

>I honestly think the "all babies are high needs" response is really dismissive of people who are struggling with unusually high needs (or "high maintenance") children.

I agree completely. And in this loooong thread, several of us have said that more than once. To add to what SB is saying - I have three kids. One (#2) was low maintenance - didn't even really cry when she was hungry. Slept a ton. Let me take her everywhere, any time. Would happily let me put her down. Would let anyone hold her and didn't seem to notice if I wasn't nearby. Didn't need to nurse to sleep. Nursed fairly infrequently (but was in the 99th percentile, so clearly was getting plenty). #3 was "high needs," in the way of a normal infant - needed to nurse to sleep, cried when disturbed or hungry or poopy, needed to be held a lot, preferred to be held by me or dh but would go to others if he was well rested and in a good mood, woke frequently at night until well past 2 years old, etc. Then there was number 1. I can't even really put into words how much more "difficult" he was than my other two or almost any other baby I've ever encountered. This was NOT "all babies are high needs" and, frankly, it's insulting for people to suggest that it was.
post #177 of 208

I've never heard the "high-needs" term from people who expected babies like eclipse's second kid, only from people who expected a baby like her third kid and got a kid who was as intense or more intense than her first.

 

Eclipse's third kid was like dd was as a baby, and that's what I consider normal for babies and it's sooooo not "high needs".

post #178 of 208

Both of mine have been somewhat highneeds the Dr. Sear's described "highneeds" way. #1 had to be held always (while standing up), faught sleep, cried or fussed most of the day no matter what I did, nursed every hour around the clock for over a year, etc.. he was a very high maintenance, active, busy, baby/toddler. Once he started walking he actually became MUCH happier and even though he was still what a lot of people would consider "highneeds" it was something i could handle. Now at almost 3 yo he is still challenging at times, but a totally normal 2-3 year old.. still very active, outgoing, doesn't STTN etc but also very bright. #2 is also busy and active and needs lots of attention.. fights sleep, and wakes every hour or more at night. I am tired. I thought there was no way I could have another baby who was as bad of a sleeper as DS1.... But, he is HAPPY when he's happy, and is one of the smiliest babies I've seen. Both of my babies have had digestive issues. I think that DS2 would be a much easier baby if we could figure his digestive issues out.

 

I am around a lot of other kids/toddlers/babies and talk with other moms a lot (IRL, online, and on MDC) and I would say mine are in between "average" and "highneeds".

 

OP, I hope you get some answers from EI. I have followed a lot of your posts on here, and I am so glad you have decided to seek out some help. You are such an amazing mama to have endured for so long the things you have had to deal with. Your son is so lucky to have you, and I so hope you get some answers from EI to help you better understand your son, and hopefully find some ways to help him cope better. ((*HUGS*))

post #179 of 208


me too. I also felt that my first son was just normal... no matter what anyone said, even though people told me repeatedly that he was more needy than a normal kid.

 

but after i had my second... yes, I definnietly belive in the high needs child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post





I'm kind of astonished to read this from a parent of more than one child, I'll be honest. I've only had one that wouldn't sleep unless I was holding or touching her. I've had two who would sleep for long stretches from a very early age. I've only had one that cried anything close to "all the time".

 

I honestly think the "all babies are high needs" response is really dismissive of people who are struggling with unusually high needs (or "high maintenance") children.



 

post #180 of 208

It is interesting...I just had a look at Dr Sear's list of 12...Well my son as a baby would have been classified as "high needs".  He fit nearly every single category to a T.  I am glad I didn't read that when he was a baby....why?  Because, to me, not everything needs a label.  To me he was who he was.  I was fortunate to be able to be with him all the time and have my hubby to help as well.  He was generally a very happy baby....but extremely attached.  Everyone would tell me to lay him down, or offer to hold him....yeah, you know what it is just easier keeping in my arms (besides I loved that he always needed to be snuggled).  I think the fact, too, that hubby and I were able to both be with him 24-7 helped so that we could spell each other.

 

When my son was born the first night in the hospital is when I started co-sleeping.  Why? Because the nurses couldn't handle him.  He was completely inconsolable.  They brought him to me and suggested he nurse and just sleep with me in arms.

 

My son nursed until 2.5y, Until 2.5y he never slept through the night (waking every hour to want to nurse again).  He napped in my arms daily and I could never put him down as the second I did he was awake and crying.  It wasn't until about 6m ago (at 4) that he would go to sleep on his own.  He needed his mommy to be with him (his words).

 

Many, many, many time we dealt with separation anxiety (even at 3.5-4).  Rediculous screaming and crying to the point of vomiting (and this was just because I went for a pee -closed door- while he was playing.)  I came here for advice and when I explained the situation was told I should not let him continue to scream as it was mentally damaging.  LOL It was mentally damaging to me not to be able to close the door for a 2 min pee.  That phase has passed...so will they all....eventually.

 

My son is an extremely intelligent (not tested but I would be completely surprised if they didn't say gifted) 4.5yo.  He is intense, bright, full of energy and only now can be reasoned with (sometimes-I think he would make a good lawyer with his negotiation skills)

 

I look at Dr. Sears "Changing Personality" list and see my son in the child list completly.  But to me  he is just Tyr and all the quirks and crazies along with the intesities, intelligence, fun and spirit are what make him unique and who he is.

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