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What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"? - Page 4

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 #61 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post


 

 

Have you thought of a sleep study? Seriously, waking every 20-60 minutes has got to make him pretty unhappy. I'm wondering if there's some apnea going on there, or if  he's still having silent reflux

agree. That is really not typical or healthy at his age. I really think you need to get him some help. It'll help you, too!
post #62 of 208

i nannied for ever. some kids truly are high needs. some babies wear out their moms while other babies sleep, eat, smile. AP or not. my babe and i were so freaking attached and he was still extremely demanding/ 'impatient", if you will... i wonder if he would have been a screamer if we didnt practice AP. he was more of a whiner if he wanted something, and he wanted it right away, as soon as he noticed he wanted something. but omg was he exhausting and very sensitive compared to the 3 other newborns i cared for. then i had one baby who needed to be ON you all day. fine. baby girl's parents didnt allow baby wearing because it wasn't safe to them . their kid, their choice... well, this kid had to be held in arms every second, and she preferred if you stood to hold her. i'd start sitting down, and there went the tears. that, to me, is high needs!

post #63 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

 

Really? See, I have a spirited kid. She's intense. She's sensitive. She blows up easily. (But she also gets really excited easily.) She wears her heart on her sleeve. She feels things deeply. She's got a firm sense of how the world should run (she spent 30 minutes discussing/worrying because her teacher was teaching the kids in the reading class what adjectives were before she'd taught them what nouns and verbs were (dd had learned nouns and verbs in another class), and she thought that really, they should learn nouns and verbs first.) She fits the classic definition of a spirited child. (And FWIW, my spirited child was a very easy baby. She was perfectly happy and content most of the time. She had a few sleep issues, which were solved by co-sleeping.)

 

This is very much what dd1 is like. She was a very difficult baby, but hasn't been that bad since she was about one. She's not bratty. She's just very intense and very sensitive, and very volatile. She's also a really, really neat little girl, and it's a joy getting to know her.

 



 

post #64 of 208

I think high needs is a real thing but I don't think it is a huge deal.  My dd has always been a little needier than many of her peers and it was a serious drain on me during her first few years of life, I couldn't use the bathroom on my own because she couldn't even be apart from me for that long.  She has slowly grown out of most of that and really doesn't seem to be that needy to me now (though her teachers do see her as being slightly needier along with a couple other kids in the class).  I don't regret meeting her needs and I don't think that there is anything wrong with children having different levels of needs, in fact I think that it is wrong to take a cookie cutter view of children as all being either the same or having serious problems.  I think that this is a sad thing that many in society who are not comfortable with differences do.  My dd is 8 now and besides needing her "cup filled" a little more frequently than other children her age she is doing really well emotionally, physically, academically, and spiritually.   

 

I

post #65 of 208

To me a baby is high needs if they feed very frequently and demand to nurse almost 24/7. They are fussy and demanding. They want to be held all the time and you must be up and moving. They wake very frequently despite gentle attempts at helping them and are very angry when they do wake. They are very intense and high energy and need more sensory input than most babies or toddlers. All babies are needy and demanding at times but it is more intense and constant with a high needs baby and not related to teething or illness. I don't think a high needs baby has to cry for hours or cry for all their awake time and not be able to be soothed. I think that is usually caused by reflux or other medical problems that cause pain. I think of high needs as a more demanding intense personality rather than a medical thing like reflux which is probably even more demanding and hard to deal with than a high needs baby.

post #66 of 208

Hmm. I know that words are sometimes tricky to understand, so let me see if I can be more clear.

 

I would define a child that has no medical or psychological problems as normal. To me, the absence of disease, whether physical or mental, is defined as normal or healthy. 

 

Just because a problem hasn't been diagnosed, doesn't mean it does not exist. The diagnosis may be a work in progress. For example, a person with abnormally high fasting blood sugar is diabetic. If their blood sugar regulation became abnormal one month ago, but they don't find out until six months later that they are officially diabetic, they still would have been diabetic for those 7 months during which they were experiencing strange symptoms such as thirst, blurred vision, etc. This person does not have normal health. 

 

Similarly, children who were behaving abnormally and were later officially diagnosed with ASD or SPD or GERD or whatever would fall outside of the category of normal.

 

What I clearly opined was that parents of what could be considered normal children may misuse/overuse the non-specific, non-medical, non-psychological term "high needs" for secondary gain, whatever that secondary gain may be for that particular person. And I feel sorry for them that they may lack a support structure or the personal strength to find a more constructive way to cope with the challenges of parenting and must resort to using the aforementioned normal children for secondary gain. 

 

Perhaps I live in a region that is plagued with disease and all these allegedly "high needs" children that I have encountered are really not normal and healthy as they seem. The incidence of disease in my area must be of epidemic proportion! I will make a mental note to call in the appropriate agencies to study how it could be that every child that has ever acted difficult in my area must obviously have an undiagnosed condition. But seriously, in my opinion, a baby that isn't sleeping though the night at 4 weeks, or that cries in his stroller but is happy to be held, or a kid that wants the crusts cut off her sandwiches, or dislikes bananas, or likes to run around without socks on, is a normal baby or kid doing normal baby or kid things for their developmental stage or personality. So when these IRL parents complain of how "high needs" their kid is and I see other parents of profoundly disabled children complaining less than these "high needs" parents, I think they are whiners that have unrealistic ideas about how normal children can be. I think it would be of benefit to work on those unrealistic expectations instead of slapping a convenient label on their normal kid. Especially a convenient label that is outstandingly un-PC to question.

 

Maybe I am more of a skeptic than average but OP asked for honest opinions, good, bad, and ugly though they may be. The reality is that many people (in fact the majority if we use poll results) are skeptical of the label "high needs."

post #67 of 208

"I would define a child that has no medical or psychological problems as normal. To me, the absence of disease, whether physical or mental, is defined as normal or healthy."

 

I'd expand that to "medical, psychological or behavioral problems." My ds has chronic, ongoing, disabling behavioral problems that don't seem to be tied to a diagnosable physical or psychological condition, and which are not so far controllable with medication. He is, to quote the kiddie shrink, "just a little different -" but he suffers, and we all suffer with him. So I tend to believe parents who tell me that they are facing a serious challenge with a child, even when there is no DX and the kid, at that time in that place, looks just fine to me. wink1.gif "High needs" seems as good a term as any for this kind of situation. 

post #68 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

"I would define a child that has no medical or psychological problems as normal. To me, the absence of disease, whether physical or mental, is defined as normal or healthy."

 

I'd expand that to "medical, psychological or behavioral problems." My ds has chronic, ongoing, disabling behavioral problems that don't seem to be tied to a diagnosable physical or psychological condition, and which are not so far controllable with medication. He is, to quote the kiddie shrink, "just a little different -" but he suffers, and we all suffer with him. So I tend to believe parents who tell me that they are facing a serious challenge with a child, even when there is no DX and the kid, at that time in that place, looks just fine to me. wink1.gif "High needs" seems as good a term as any for this kind of situation. 


Oh, so true. DS2 breaks my heart. :(

 

post #69 of 208

hug2.gif

 

 

post #70 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

Hmm. I know that words are sometimes tricky to understand, so let me see if I can be more clear.

 

I would define a child that has no medical or psychological problems as normal. To me, the absence of disease, whether physical or mental, is defined as normal or healthy. 

 

Just because a problem hasn't been diagnosed, doesn't mean it does not exist. The diagnosis may be a work in progress. For example, a person with abnormally high fasting blood sugar is diabetic. If their blood sugar regulation became abnormal one month ago, but they don't find out until six months later that they are officially diabetic, they still would have been diabetic for those 7 months during which they were experiencing strange symptoms such as thirst, blurred vision, etc. This person does not have normal health. 

 

Similarly, children who were behaving abnormally and were later officially diagnosed with ASD or SPD or GERD or whatever would fall outside of the category of normal.

 

What I clearly opined was that parents of what could be considered normal children may misuse/overuse the non-specific, non-medical, non-psychological term "high needs" for secondary gain, whatever that secondary gain may be for that particular person. And I feel sorry for them that they may lack a support structure or the personal strength to find a more constructive way to cope with the challenges of parenting and must resort to using the aforementioned normal children for secondary gain. 

 

Perhaps I live in a region that is plagued with disease and all these allegedly "high needs" children that I have encountered are really not normal and healthy as they seem. The incidence of disease in my area must be of epidemic proportion! I will make a mental note to call in the appropriate agencies to study how it could be that every child that has ever acted difficult in my area must obviously have an undiagnosed condition. But seriously, in my opinion, a baby that isn't sleeping though the night at 4 weeks, or that cries in his stroller but is happy to be held, or a kid that wants the crusts cut off her sandwiches, or dislikes bananas, or likes to run around without socks on, is a normal baby or kid doing normal baby or kid things for their developmental stage or personality. So when these IRL parents complain of how "high needs" their kid is and I see other parents of profoundly disabled children complaining less than these "high needs" parents, I think they are whiners that have unrealistic ideas about how normal children can be. I think it would be of benefit to work on those unrealistic expectations instead of slapping a convenient label on their normal kid. Especially a convenient label that is outstandingly un-PC to question.

 

Maybe I am more of a skeptic than average but OP asked for honest opinions, good, bad, and ugly though they may be. The reality is that many people (in fact the majority if we use poll results) are skeptical of the label "high needs."



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

Since you asked to spare the sugar-coating, I think parents these days are over-eager for labels. If their child doesn't have a bona fide medical or psychological issue, then they will opt for something generic as "high needs" or "special needs". I think there is a munchausen-by-proxy-like need for sympathy and praise.

 

Unfortunately MDC reverse-ordered your posts when I multi-quoted.

 

I actually agree that we are culturally engaging in an over-pathologizing of our children.  However, I don't feel that I possess a crystal ball to know if casual contacts are actually dealing with "high needs" versus more typical child development.   And I would actually assume that the other person was using high needs to either grease the conversation (ie not get into details) or to be protective of their child's information.

 

One time a friend of mine was doing registration for an event, and whenever she was talking to parents of infants/toddlers she would ask how the baby was sleeping.  Consistently, the mothers were claiming that the babes were sleeping through the night, while the dads were standing behind shaking their heads.  Perception, and social expectations, can be powerful influencers of what people communicate to others.

 

post #71 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post





 



Unfortunately MDC reverse-ordered your posts when I multi-quoted.

 

I actually agree that we are culturally engaging in an over-pathologizing of our children.  However, I don't feel that I possess a crystal ball to know if casual contacts are actually dealing with "high needs" versus more typical child development.   And I would actually assume that the other person was using high needs to either grease the conversation (ie not get into details) or to be protective of their child's information.

 

One time a friend of mine was doing registration for an event, and whenever she was talking to parents of infants/toddlers she would ask how the baby was sleeping.  Consistently, the mothers were claiming that the babes were sleeping through the night, while the dads were standing behind shaking their heads.  Perception, and social expectations, can be powerful influencers of what people communicate to others.

 


Aside from that, even - "normal" children, even ones with no diagnosable issues etc etc etc, fall on a continuum of how much energy the require of their care giver. High needs children w/out other issues fall on one end of that spectrum - the lack of a diagnosable medical problem doesn't make caring for their child any easier just because they are technically "normal." They migt be normal, but they certainly aren't "average." There are some babies/toddlers/children who are low needs (usually called "easy babies.") I had one on that end of the spectrum, too, and it was seriously bliss after her older brother - slept through the night very early, didn't nurse around the clock, fell asleep on her own from birth, almost never cried, was happy to hang out on a blanket while I chatted with her and went about my day dealing with her high needs older brother, would nap anywhere, etc. I know she wasn't average either, though she was certainly normal. But I never hear people questioning whether "easy babies" actually exist or suggesting that parents of those easy kids are just trying to get attention for their easy baby (unless, of course, they're the type to attribute their child's pleasant disposition to their amazing, wonderful, perfect parenting. I might have been one of those had she come first!). I guess that's why it bugs me to hear parents who describe their kids as high needs as some sort of attention seeking, munchausen-by-proxy weirdos who should just shut up already. When I have used the term HN or spirited to describe my son, it's as a short hand to describe certain personality traits, and nothing more.
post #72 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post





 



Unfortunately MDC reverse-ordered your posts when I multi-quoted.

 

I actually agree that we are culturally engaging in an over-pathologizing of our children.  However, I don't feel that I possess a crystal ball to know if casual contacts are actually dealing with "high needs" versus more typical child development.   And I would actually assume that the other person was using high needs to either grease the conversation (ie not get into details) or to be protective of their child's information.

 

One time a friend of mine was doing registration for an event, and whenever she was talking to parents of infants/toddlers she would ask how the baby was sleeping.  Consistently, the mothers were claiming that the babes were sleeping through the night, while the dads were standing behind shaking their heads.  Perception, and social expectations, can be powerful influencers of what people communicate to others.

 




Aside from that, even - "normal" children, even ones with no diagnosable issues etc etc etc, fall on a continuum of how much energy the require of their care giver. High needs children w/out other issues fall on one end of that spectrum - the lack of a diagnosable medical problem doesn't make caring for their child any easier just because they are technically "normal." They migt be normal, but they certainly aren't "average." There are some babies/toddlers/children who are low needs (usually called "easy babies.") I had one on that end of the spectrum, too, and it was seriously bliss after her older brother - slept through the night very early, didn't nurse around the clock, fell asleep on her own from birth, almost never cried, was happy to hang out on a blanket while I chatted with her and went about my day dealing with her high needs older brother, would nap anywhere, etc. I know she wasn't average either, though she was certainly normal. But I never hear people questioning whether "easy babies" actually exist or suggesting that parents of those easy kids are just trying to get attention for their easy baby (unless, of course, they're the type to attribute their child's pleasant disposition to their amazing, wonderful, perfect parenting. I might have been one of those had she come first!). I guess that's why it bugs me to hear parents who describe their kids as high needs as some sort of attention seeking, munchausen-by-proxy weirdos who should just shut up already. When I have used the term HN or spirited to describe my son, it's as a short hand to describe certain personality traits, and nothing more.


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post #73 of 208
Quote:

Originally Posted by La Limena View Post

 

But seriously, in my opinion, a baby that isn't sleeping though the night at 4 weeks, or that cries in his stroller but is happy to be held, or a kid that wants the crusts cut off her sandwiches, or dislikes bananas, or likes to run around without socks on, is a normal baby or kid doing normal baby or kid things for their developmental stage or personality.


I'm seeing a lot of "or"s in there. My experience and opinion. I high needs baby or child isn't a child who has "this need, or this need, or this need", a high needs baby or child has "this need, and this need, and this need, and this need, and a million and one other needs to the exclusion of all other options." 

post #74 of 208

I so relate to what you ladies said....
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

I go back and forth. My DD1 was HN even at 8 now she still is so draining compared to her younger siblings. As she got older though, multiple disorders showed themselves but back when she was a never sleeping, screaming all day long until age 1 child, who didn't not sleep a single second on top of me until she was 3, high needs was the only thing I could call her. Possessed monster child just didn't sound that great. lol.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

I didn't even believe in "high needs" until my 3rd was high needs. She COULD NOT be away from me for over a year without screaming the WHOLE TIME. Even her grandmother we saw frequently couldn't babysit without her screaming(not crying, but screaming) the entire time. Never falling asleep, never taking a break, never being distracted. She nursed constantly, day and night. I mean CONSTANTLY. I don't know how my nipples took it. Neither one of us slept more than 2 hours at a time until she was 16 months old and I drank a shot of butterschnapps at bedtime. She never would take a bottle, of any type nipple, and trust me, everybody tried everything. I needed a break so bad. I thought something was wrong with her but nothing showed up on any tests. I had never imagined a baby could be this difficult...I'd had two already, plus took care of other babies frequently. I KNEW babies and what to do. WIth this baby, I had no idea how I was going to keep living. Oh and she would not sleep in the bed with me, either. Or in the recliner, or crib, anywhere else. The only place that child would sleep was on the floor(carpeted). I was terrified if I left her on the floor the other kids would accidentally step on her so I cleaned out my bedroom closet and she slept on the closet floor. She couldn't sleep if there was noise, either. My MIL just loved blaming me for that one. She didn't just cry or whimper, she screamed like something was wrong with her. She was over half a year old before I stopped poo-poo'ing Sear's high-needs theory and I finally broke down and read it and just cried and cried. I always thought people with high-needs babies just spoiled their babies, didn't know what they were doing, (cuz remember I had two babies already and lots of experience!), the mother just had to be high strung and not laid-back enough. Boy did I learn my freaking lesson. Now she's 8 and I finally got over my fear of having another one like that and am pregnant again. Took me that long. I am pretty scared this baby will be high-needs but I keep telling myself, "What are the chances?" She's a very smart kid, VERY active lol She's the star of her softball team, she's very fun and likable now, and has been for years, I'm just pointing out the changes. The biggest help I had with her was some friends who also had a high-needs child. Dh and I went to a concert when my daughter was about 2 or so, and my friend babysat her. Kept her very busy. It was hard work for her, but her teenage son had been high needs as a baby. He was very good with our daughter also and she adored him. I wish I had had friends who knew what it was like from the beginning instead of meeting them when she was a toddler! It would have been such a major help, especially when family members were blaming ME for her being so "clingy". Clingy was not the word for it!! When someone tells me their baby is high needs, but that baby doesn't cry all the time and it lets someone else hold it I'm pretty skeptical. My husband was able to do more with her than anyone else. I felt so sorry for my older kids, you build up a baby as being something older kids can help with but they had to live with this child's screaming and always taking my time and us having to be silent whenever she bothered to sleep. She wouldn't let them mess with her until she was over a year old. She's pretty normal now, though a tiny bit louder than most and tends to be obnoxious LOL But she's really cute. I know if she weren't homeschooled, a school teacher would push for ADHD medication. We'll see how that goes later one. Her personality seemed to have ruined how my own mother feels about her but that's her own loss(my mom's, I mean). No one else seems affected by it and I finally got over the fear of those baby months.

DS was my #1 and I had only minimal infant experience, so no real expectations. I was totally unprepared for DS and his needs though. When I, in my long hours of Googling my baby's actions trying to figure out what I could do to make him happy, stumbled across Dr. Sears' high-need list and explanation, I cried. It was so wonderful for me to have a label to put on his behavior and to know that he wasn't the only one out there like this and that I wasn't doing anything wrong to cause it. In fact, I was already following all of Sears' recs naturally b/c they were the only things that somewhat stopped the screaming. When I made a photo album of his first 6 mos when he was around 9 months, I titled it, "To Hell and Back..." People thought it was horrible when they saw it, but I felt that it was a fair representation of the experience... DS began staying awake from 4 weeks on for 15-19 hours at a stretch. He screamed the entire time he wasn't on the boob. I was suffering from some undiagnosable breastfeeding pains (probably vasospasms + small mouth) that caused me to be in toe-curling pain at every latch on for the first 5 months. He refused any type of bottle. It made for a rather miserable first few months. He was suffering from GERD, which finally started getting treated ADEQUATELY around 5 months when we finally got to see the pedi GI. It took me logging an entire day of our misery for our ped to believe that something out of the ordinary was going on though. Even after treating the GERD, DS was still high needs--he still needed to be held 24/7, he still was a sucky sleeper, etc, but at least he was less miserable if you just held him/nursed him. Before that, he was miserable no matter what. It's a rough, rough place to be as a parent (and I'm sure for the infant). So, yeah, when people say their kid is "high needs," I think there might be something to that. And I for sure don't tell an exhausted, high-needs mommy, "Honey, you just need to sleep when he sleeps...." That particular piece of advice was always so awful to hear since it told me A. the person wasn't listening when I said DS NEVER slept except for a very broken 6-8 hr stretch at night or B. they didn't believe me....

 

Having the high-needs label helped me a lot. I have certainly heard others apply the term to babies that I would consider "easy" by comparison to DS, but I figure there's a whole spectrum of infant personality out there, from high-needs to super-mellow. I am sure there were even more difficult babies out there than DS, but I know I haven't heard from any who come close IRL.

 

So, I both totally sympathize, but also think a lot of people think their baby is high needs when it might be less so than others....

 

Also, as to the suggestion that people are using this term to get attention--I can assure you that I don't. I learned mostly NOT to talk about DS's issues, since everyone had lots of easy (unhelpful answers) as to how to "fix" DS, most with the implication that I was the root cause of our problems (and especially our coping mechanisms--constant physical attachment, cosleeping, demand nursing, etc). I generally only asked questions hinting at his problems of recent moms trying to find out if they'd dealt with anything similar.

Right now I tend to think "spirited" is a probably over-used, mabye meaningless label, BUT I totally suspect that's because I don't have a particularly "spirited" toddler. lol.gif It's all in the parenting till it's your kid, right??

post #75 of 208
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdie B. View Post




I just want to give you a hug - and a break!  What you're describing sounds like hell on earth to me, honestly.  I don't think I could handle it.  My daughter is considered special needs, has birth defects and has required many surgeries and medications, testing, therapies, etc. But she is laid-back, happy and easy-going.  Although the first years were hard, it was so much different than what you're describing.  You are amazing!

 

 

 


Thank you so much. Just hearing you say that feels incredibly validating. It's hard to explain in words just what it is/was like to parent this kid and I usually feel like I'm at best, misunderstood, and at worst, totally crazy. I really, really needed to hear this.
post #76 of 208

I think a lot of times, parents will confuse high-needs or spirited with undisciplined or misguided discipline.  I have seen a lot of kids in my playgroup who's parents claim they have a "spirited" child, when in reality, the parents allow their kids to get away with everything and rarely follow through on consequences.  So naturally, the kids don't listen because they have no reason to.  Meanwhile, the parents are ignoring bad behavior while complaining/explaining that their kids are high needs and how difficult it is.  It's a disservice to the child obviously and to parents with truly high needs children. 

 

I think as previous posters have said many high needs labels come from too high of expectations from parents.  Baby wants to cluster feed all evening and is up several times a night at, oh 12 weeks old and then everybody gets bent out of shape that s/he isn't sleeping 12 hours a night and going 4 hours between feeds like every other baby they know of.

post #77 of 208



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post



Aside from that, even - "normal" children, even ones with no diagnosable issues etc etc etc, fall on a continuum of how much energy the require of their care giver. High needs children w/out other issues fall on one end of that spectrum - the lack of a diagnosable medical problem doesn't make caring for their child any easier just because they are technically "normal." They migt be normal, but they certainly aren't "average."
 

Yes, exactly. Thanks for putting into words what I couldn't. I have no need to use my kid to make me "cooler" or different or whatever. Ds1 required a LOT. He had a lot of needs. lol. Nope, he didn't have a dx then, and he doesn't now. He's actually a very normal 6yo. Possibly more social than others, and has a higher need for attention perhaps, but nothing out of the ordinary at all.

My second is (always has been) a lot of work. But he was occasionally ok with being put down for a few minutes, and I never had to nurse him on the toilet until he was sick recently. He wasn't high needs. He was what I would consider in the realm of "average" I suppose. But my first, man. Yeah, high needs.

 

I don't understand the sentiment that a baby can't be high needs unless they have a dx, or special needs. Didn't Dr. Sears coin the term "high needs" and can't it pretty much describe an otherwise "normal" baby who needs to be held a lot, needs to nurse a lot, needs to be moving/walked/rocked/whatever all the time...and demands it all the time?

Granted, a baby with certain dx or special needs would have been more work than mine, I assume. But that doesn't negate the fact that ds1's needs were not in the realm of "normal" when he was little.

post #78 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa85 View Post

I think a lot of times, parents will confuse high-needs or spirited with undisciplined or misguided discipline.  I have seen a lot of kids in my playgroup who's parents claim they have a "spirited" child, when in reality, the parents allow their kids to get away with everything and rarely follow through on consequences.  So naturally, the kids don't listen because they have no reason to.  Meanwhile, the parents are ignoring bad behavior while complaining/explaining that their kids are high needs and how difficult it is. 

 

Yup. This is me. What's your point? I'm exhausted - beyond exhausted. I suspect I have some kind of physical issues (thyroid, adrenals, I have no idea). I have dd2 still nursing multiple times at night. I have running around of various kinds to do for my two oldest, and I'm the only driver in a family of six. And, then I have ds2. He's high needs. Would I be able to handel them better if I only had him? Probably. But, I don't. And, yeah - sometimes I "ignore" bad behaviour at the playground...because I'm done. I'm frequently more exhausted from less than two hours of dealing with him at home than I was from an entire day of dealing with ds1 (and ds1 wasn't "easy" - he was probably fairly average, except that he was unusually verbal, which can be somewhat draining). People can see me sitting back and not doing anything and think taht he doesn't listen because he "has no reason to"...but he doesn't listen, anyway. Consequences don't register with him, and he just plain doesn't get it. People don't see me talking to him until I'm blue in the face, pulling him inside for extended periods of time, taking away his bike, or the 5th toy that morning that he threw at someone, or the tv remote (because he threw it at the tv or his baby sister), putting him in time out for the fourth time in less than half an hour, chasing him up and down the stairs, or down the sidewalk (while I leave dd2 behind, because I can't possibly catch him while carrying her), etc. etc. etc. What you see on the playground is a snapshot. I don't follow through that much once we're outside, because he's not that likely to break anything, so I save the little energy I have left (because it's gone by the time we get outside) to prevent him from actually hurting someone. The simple fact is that I only have so much energy and ability to cope, and he's using all of it. As it is, his silbings are all being neglected to some degree, because I have nothing left.

 

It's a disservice to the child obviously and to parents with truly high needs children. 

 

And, how do you know that those parents don't have high needs children? Because they're not coping with them the way you think they should be? FWIW, I had multiple people tell me that ds2's issues were because of my parenting, in one form or another. That was three years ago. None of them think so, anymore...because they've seen what he's like, and seen how discipline/consequences play out, and how little impact any of that has on his behaviour. But, the people who know me only from playgroup-type environments or on the playground? They don't have a freaking clue. And, honestly - jumping to conclusions like this can cause real problems. All the "it's just a parenting issue" advice I got made me so doubtful of what I was seeing with my own eyes that I waited far longer than I shoudl have to start the process to get him evaluated, and it's caused him an immense amount of pain and a huge, huge hit to his self-esteem.



 

post #79 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa85 View Post

I think a lot of times, parents will confuse high-needs or spirited with undisciplined or misguided discipline.  I have seen a lot of kids in my playgroup who's parents claim they have a "spirited" child, when in reality, the parents allow their kids to get away with everything and rarely follow through on consequences.  So naturally, the kids don't listen because they have no reason to.  Meanwhile, the parents are ignoring bad behavior while complaining/explaining that their kids are high needs and how difficult it is.  It's a disservice to the child obviously and to parents with truly high needs children. 

 

I think as previous posters have said many high needs labels come from too high of expectations from parents.  Baby wants to cluster feed all evening and is up several times a night at, oh 12 weeks old and then everybody gets bent out of shape that s/he isn't sleeping 12 hours a night and going 4 hours between feeds like every other baby they know of.


Maybe that is true in  a limited amount of cases, but tell that to the mom (me) who has  a kid melting down in the subway due to sensory overload and no effing amount of discipline is going to cure that.  People look at me like I'm insane and I give them the "yes" nod.  Yes, I'm insane.  So is my kid.  love.gif

 

Btwn:  I'm a pretty laid back person.  I deal with criminals and people committing criminal acts in my profession.  My expectations for humans are really, really low.  There are a lot of "bad" people out there.  People that lie, cheat, steal, do stuff to gain the upper hand, despite the fact that it is wrong and people don't shouldn't act that way in normal, human relationships.  My expectations are pretty low.  I do expect my kid, however, to act appropriately, with empathy, and with honesty and integrity in her daily dealings.  She's too young to grasp a lot of these concepts specifically or even  generally.  She has  a hard time harnassing her feelings and emotions.  It is something we are working on.  She has a harder time than most of her peers.  It is a hard thing for us.    

 


Edited by CatsCradle - 4/18/11 at 6:01am
post #80 of 208

I dislike "spirited" to describe intense, confident, or demanding children because it seems very sarcastic at worst (kind of like a euphanism for brat for many people) and implying that all other children are mealiymouthed mush at best.  My DD has the personality that many would consider spirited (intense, loud, confident, stubborn, creative, doesn't give a damn about what anyone else thinks of her or her ideas and thus little care for impressing/pleasing others, go-for-it, blah blah);  one of her brothers nudges that way, but the other one has just as much "spirit"--but his is a gentle spirit--he manages to have many of the same qualities, but more empathy and more people managing skills even at 7.  I love and appreciate all my kids; and see that all of them have plenty of "spirit" (which is a good thing).  However, I'm also sympathetic to the need for a positive-sounding label--it's just that I think now (maybe because of overuse) it's become sarcastic for many people, or sounds sarcastic to many.

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