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What do you think when someone says their child is "high needs"? - Page 5

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 #81 of 208

I think having a "high needs" little brother completely changed my way of thinking even before kids. 

All my sister and I can say about our babies is how easy they are and sisters baby sleeps on top of her all night!

I am sure there are things about my child that would make me consider her "high needs" if I didn't have experience with my little brother. The normal parenting frustrations are definitely easier because of AP and I think I have avoided the first child traps because I grew up around children but without experience every baby seems high needs since a normal baby wants to be held and bounced c constantly, follows you to the bathroom, has stranger anxiety, is picky as a toddler, throws screaming and kicking tantrums, decides they won't wear pants, cries between the hours of 10 & 11 etc. and if you didn't realize all of the demands having children entail then you will assume your child is high needs.

My brother is one of those kids who was high needs as a baby and is now SPD which I don't think is the entire issue since there are social and behavioural issues. He was really high needs and at 7 is still considerably more demanding than my almost 2 year old.

post #82 of 208

I have been reading this thread with interest, and I am surprised at the different interpretations people have...

 

Re: spirited... I had no idea people would interpret this term in such a negative manner, either to reflect on the child or the parenting (or lack thereof). Honestly, when DS#1 was about 1.5 and I found the "spirited child" book I was thrilled to find a more positive way of looking at my child's personality and behaviors... instead of feeling like my child was rigid, overreactive, controlling, and having ridiculously horrible tantrums (read: hours of intense tantrums, not minutes) I was able to frame it up as him being more sensitive, persistent, and intense than most children his age... so I felt the concept of him being spirited was so much more positive than many of the other ways he could be described. And I will honestly say that I don't think our parenting was responsible for his spirited behavior - we were calm and gentle and nurturing, yet firm in our expectations and boundaries - we did not say something if we were not willing/able to follow through so his tantrums were not related to getting what he wanted out of them.

 

I will say that I think almost all children are challenging at some point in their lives. However, I fully believe that there are many children who are "high needs" whether it is related to a (perhaps yet to be diagnosed) condition or simply their temperament. Those of us who have slept less than two hours of broken sleep a night for months or years on end despite trying everything to build a routine and soothe our child any way possible; those of us who have held a screaming child for hours and hours and hours on end without being able to stop the screaming using all of the tools in our toolbox; those of us who endured multiple-hour-long tantrums and meltdowns which escalate instantly over very minor things (even when preparation is given), we know without a doubt that "high needs" children exist and that their needs to be a way for parents to talk about it and access support.

 

FWIW, my children have ended up with medical labels and diagnoses over time and will likely end up with more as time goes on.

 

And I would like to point out two things about perceptions based on what we see in public and what is disclosed to us...

1) some children can manage without looking like a high needs child for a short period of time, so what you see in one environment may not reflect the rest of the realities of the needs this family deals with (e.g. At two my child would be quiet and reserved at play groups and activities at the Early Years Centre - parents often commented on what a quiet polite boy he was. However, as the centre was nearing closing time I would begin prepping for leaving and the scene would begin to change for those who were still there at that time; by the time we were leaving he would be screaming at the top of his lungs and trying to run random places while I had to grab him, dress him repeatedly as he would try to tear off every item I got on him (all while calmly reminding him we need to go now, if you are ready to cooperate you can put on your mittens or your boots...), and eventually I would have to carry him screaming to the car - at the car I had to physically force him into the seat or else close the door with him inside as he would hit and kick, he sometimes soiled himself in protest hoping I would take him back in (was never ever a possibility)... this sort of scene was the stuff our lives were made of, but people who saw us for just a short time would see nothing but the quiet polite boy). Also, if our child is having a particularly challenging day we may simply not leave the house...

2) What appears to be ineffective parenting may be well planned and thought out given the individual family's circumstances. For example, a parent may say something to a child and not follow through because they know from experience that their child would go into a full-on violent meltdown if they did follow through and they are sparing those around them that experience (though I understand why people do this, I would never say something that I could or would not follow through on, as I would not want to reinforce it and feel I have to show my kids I am consistent in my expectations. Therefore I have carried my children screaming/kicking/hitting away from places where they did not respond to my reminders regarding their expectations while at the playground/friends house etc. (unfortunately we never did get invited to do anything with one of those friends or their whole network of friends again... I think due to this). We do, while in public places running errands etc. tend to parent a bit differently than we do at home, because we need to preserve our ability to get our children home safely now that we cannot count on them remaining safely buckled in while driving, so we tend to be a lot more flexible in our plans on a day where we think that is in the best interests of our families... others may think that is poor parenting if all they have is their perception...

 

Just my rambling thoughts as a parent of children who have pushed me to develop patience, knowledge and skills I never would have imagined I would have needed (although I fully expected parenting would be challenging), and as a parent who still feels I cannot meet their needs effectively on a consistent basis despite a very strong basis of knowledge and skills (patience level still a work in progress, having a strong correlation to sleep or lack thereof...).

post #83 of 208

I answered "so is mine" though TBH it was DD1 who was a HN baby (she's a fairly average though very very smart/active 5yo now).  DD2 is the mellowest baby alive.

 

It wasn't until i had DD2 that i realised that DD1 was HN.  Yes, apparently it is NOT normal for a baby to scream, in arms, for 5 hours every day for 4 months (and yes i had her checked out multiple times, and no she did not have colic/allergies/reflux/any of the other things they checked for, she just cried a lot).  Nor is it normal for Mama to have psychosis due to sleep deprivation.  Nor is it normal for a 10 week old baby to remember for DAYS where the fun but unsuitable thing you took off them was put and cry every time they are near it...  I could go on.

 

If people want to believe i am scraping about for a label for some sense of self-justification then that's up to them, i really could not care less!  You don't know it until you live it and once you live it you won't be judging anymore!

post #84 of 208

didn't read all the responses yet, but just wanted to say.. yes, i have a high-needs baby.  i am not a lover of labels, but it makes a long story short for the purposes of explaining things.  i mean, would you rather read/hear something like:

"I had to get the lactation nurse to come every single time i fed dd the 5 days we were in the hospital and then i had to walk around with her in the moby every single second that i was awake or she would scream and she still wakes up every hour or so to nurse all night long and she won't let us put her down most of the time though it's getting better still at 17 months and she needs constant focus because she won't be content to play by herself etc etc etc"

or

"our high needs child does xyz.." 

post #85 of 208

I have to say, I'm surprised and disappointed by how judgemental many of the responses are.  To be honest, feeling that kind of judgement irl has been one of the saddest, most isolating things that I've ever encountered-- a mom who is up to her eyebrows trying to do what she believes is best for her challenging child could really use support and kind words/thoughts.  I had thought that I was entering a sisterhood of mothers after I gave birth, and while many are understanding, there are many who seem to make judgements about my child and my parenting based on only the most superficial observations or interactions.  It stinks. 

 

I have to agree with the numerous posters who said that it's impossible for outsiders to know all the aspects of a parent/child pair, everything that is being dealt with at home, in the car, at night, all the preparations, etc.    I haven't necessarily called my child "high needs," but would definitely consider her spirited, and we definitely seem to have "more" to deal with when it comes to night time, separation, intensity, and sensivity.  I think a lot is her personality, some of which is similar to issues that I have dealt with myself (so I can feel some empathy for her anxieties rather than seeing it as manipulation).  Parenting her the way that I believe is best for her can be draining, and behaviors that others judge poorly may be huge positive steps for us.  I'm sure that many other mamas deal with harder situations than ours, but that doesn't negate my experience, or somehow make me a crappy mom for being less-than-zen about motherhood at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

post #86 of 208

I have never heard the term high-needs to label a child IRL. I voted that I think "wow that must be tough" because what's it to me to judge how other people are assessing their situation?

 

Now, I do SEE children who are more high-needs than mine, but I don't hear the label. If I were to describe these children I would probably use the term spirited, emotional, or, in a less kind moment, needy. I am speaking of children here, not babies.

 

 

post #87 of 208
My older dd was very high needs when little, and I usually used the words "intense" or "emotional" irl. She's still intense and emotional, but I don't think "high needs" fits her at 9. She's pretty self sufficient and really well behaved now. But it was a struggle getting there and while I think it's possible to misjudge neediness as all babies and toddlers have fairly high needs, some are just more intense, and it isn't an attention seeking thing. Attention is the last thing i wanted. wasn't aware of just how intense she was until I had my second. I'm not sure if she's super easy or if it's just because I was expecting the experience I had with my first, but things are crazy relaxed this time around.
post #88 of 208

"I dislike "spirited" to describe intense, confident, or demanding children..."

 

Me too. I interpret it is as the hippie word for "brat." That may be my own limitation, but I appear to be stuck with it.  

post #89 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

"I dislike "spirited" to describe intense, confident, or demanding children..."

 

Me too. I interpret it is as the hippie word for "brat." That may be my own limitation, but I appear to be stuck with it.  


That's how I hear it too.

 

Years ago, it meant "thinks differently".  Like Anne of Green Gables.  She was exasperating sometimes, but always kind, and thoughtful.  Never mean or snotty.  She was just curious, and always getting into something. 

 

Now I hear it, and think "oh, great... another kid I don't want in my house".

 

post #90 of 208

I think that their child must be high needs or they woudlnt be saying it.

 

Now if it was special needs,then I think their child is special needs.

 

 

post #91 of 208

When I hear that, I honestly think "How can I help that parent?" I have a high needs five year old who behaves beautifully at school and for other people. I'm sure that people think I'm exaggerating when I say that she's high needs, because the outside doesn't see it.

 

The next time someone says that, please don't judge. My daughter takes every ounce of energy I have. YOu never know the full situation.

post #92 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPotato View Post

I have to say, I'm surprised and disappointed by how judgemental many of the responses are.  To be honest, feeling that kind of judgement irl has been one of the saddest, most isolating things that I've ever encountered-- a mom who is up to her eyebrows trying to do what she believes is best for her challenging child could really use support and kind words/thoughts.  I had thought that I was entering a sisterhood of mothers after I gave birth, and while many are understanding, there are many who seem to make judgements about my child and my parenting based on only the most superficial observations or interactions.  It stinks. 

 

 

 


Yes, me too. I assume that the child must be high needs, why else would the parent say it?

 

Munchausen parents, as mentioned, dont say thier child is high needs. No their child is deathly ill, sick or severely medically disabled. Not high needs. MSBP parents can not handle high needs kids. The kids they pray on are under 2 and non verbal and generally complacient or the charade woudlnt work.

 

Just like my kids are disabled. Why else would I say it if it wasnt true? I know I get alot of "But she doesnt look blind, autistic, disabled etc..."  which I find disturbing. Whose job is it to decide that my kid isnt disabled b/c she doesnt look it?

 

 


Edited by beenmum - 4/18/11 at 9:31am
post #93 of 208

 

 Just a quick thought, has he been tested for reflux disease? Those are the Hallmarks of reflux and they can be treated with medication and THEN life style changes (sleeping posistion etc). But any actual change is not going to make a darn bit of difference without medicine.

 

 A sleep study and a PH probe will dx reflux in toddler/infants. I have 2 with reflux. My 11 year old still cries and screams and holds her stomache and wakes up 25 times a night with it at times.

post #94 of 208

Seriously? You're equating someone with an SID child to a MSBP perpertator??????

 

MSBP parent dont call their kids high needs, they call them deathly ill, medically disabled or something equally medically based and severe.

 

 

Kids with oral fixations are dealing with something concerning. They constantly put objects into their mouths, mouth dangerous things such as baby powder, soap, pencils, metal, ink, chalk..... and can not process actual food appropriately. Its a real issue. Not osmehting made up b/c someone wants attention.

 

I applaud parents who actually care for their childrens emotional and physcial needs.

post #95 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by beenmum View Post

 

 Just a quick thought, has he been tested for reflux disease? Those are the Hallmarks of reflux and they can be treated with medication and THEN life style changes (sleeping posistion etc). But any actual change is not going to make a darn bit of difference without medicine.

 

 A sleep study and a PH probe will dx reflux in toddler/infants. I have 2 with reflux. My 11 year old still cries and screams and holds her stomache and wakes up 25 times a night with it at times.

agree. I'm amazed that you haven't tried medication for all this! Or a sleep study or anything!
post #96 of 208
Thread Starter 
Well, DH is on the phone now with EI. I am really anxious about getting him evaluated (for some reason I feel like we're inviting the gov't into our lives???) but I guess we'll have an appt and see what they say.

I haven't medicated him or done a sleep study because I keep hearing OVER and OVER that it's normal, he'll grow out of it, I'm over-reacting, he's fine, etc. Not to mention I have a HUGE issue with the medical establishment that is far beyond the scope of this thread... and we need to switch doctors because ours does not seem to take anything seriously (which at first was great, not having someone over-react about little things, but now seems to be problematic...)
post #97 of 208

I really dislike the term spirited as well. I try not to say this, because I hate labeling my son-- and was really against saying it in teh baby days. But... after having my daughter, and seeing more kids, if you have to call him something, high needs is it. When he was younger, I used to say he was just opinionated.

post #98 of 208
Wow, I'm shocked by how many people think the high needs label is overused, or that there is no such thing as high needs. I have only met two families IRL who have high needs babies....and those little turkeys ARE high needs. My SILs kid didn't stop crying for a YEAR. Their nanny quit because of it. And SIL knows kids; she's a pediatric OT. None of my friends with normal babies even comment on their temperament. IDK, maybe I hang with a really stoic crowd.
I do think that nowadays people are probably more likely to get kids treated for SPD or reflux because there are more treatments available. There's no reason to let a kid suffer if they are in pain or unable to handle stimulation. Heck I have a really easy, but extremely active kid. My OT SIL gave me a ton of great ideas to keep DD happy and engaged. It helped a lot with some of her aggression issues. Her temper tantrums stopped immediately, so did hitting mommy. Of course I wouldn't pay to have her seen by an OT because, like I said, she's as normal as toddlers get, but it was nice to get a couple free pointers.
post #99 of 208

The label "high needs" is over used. There are parents who use the term to describe a child, then admit "he/she is usually so calm and laid back" five minutes later. So which is it? The misuse/overuse of the label just adds fuel to the idea that "high needs" doesn't exist and a child is either normal or has other issues affecting them. I do think that parents who's children are high needs have a right to argue that the term is overused when they are used to hearing things like "Oh, he wakes up twice a night still, he is so high needs" or "my daughter is high needs, she won't eat her bananas unless it's whole... What? Other things she does? no that's it, but is just sooooo tough on me" while their own child is clingy, up 4 or 5 times a night, won't eat anything except specific food made a specific way, and prone to tantrums when their needs aren't met perfectly.

post #100 of 208

As for spirited. I have no problems with that term. I like that term. But then again both kids in this house are spirited, and so is one adult (the other one often finds himself in need of a little piece and quiet...)

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