Was your child a spirited/high need baby? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-20-2003, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. I have a 2 year old who is very spirited/high need and has been so since birth. I have posted on the toddler forum regarding this. Several other mamas and myself were wondering what happens to those spirited/high need babies and toddlers? Still a bundle of energy? Also, are there any problems with school (ie: labeling child ADHD and so forth)? Any advice, stories, information etc. would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 15 Old 08-21-2003, 03:21 PM
 
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Hi there - I have one of those children and DD will be turning 5 next month and starting Kindergarten. She is going to a private Jewish school and they won't test until 1st grade, so I have no idea about what she might be clinically labeled.

I would say that the behavior changes as they get older, but it doesn't improve. She very emotional, very competative, extremely moody, tactile sensitive, short attention spane, but very loving and giving and attention needy! I would say she is probably more hyperactive than than anything. She loves to run around outside, but also enjoys being read to. We have started reading early reader books (Junie B. Jones (popular with 6-8 year old girls) is a wonderful series, but watch the attitude of the girl - she is high maintance also). My DD relates to this Kindergartener in more ways than one.

DD is also extremely smart and soaks up everything like a sponge. She remembers the most amazing things, that I can't even remember and has already mastered all the kindergarten level academics, which is why she is going to private school. They are going to consentrate on all the Jewish things instead of the secular (she knows those).

Good luck. You can PM or email me if you want more information.
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#3 of 15 Old 08-21-2003, 06:31 PM
 
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I would say that the behavior changes as they get older, but it doesn't improve. She very emotional, very competative, extremely moody, tactile sensitive, short attention spane, but very loving and giving and attention needy! I would say she is probably more hyperactive than than anything. She loves to run around outside, but also enjoys being read to. We have started reading early reader books (Junie B. Jones (popular with 6-8 year old girls) is a wonderful series, but watch the attitude of the girl - she is high maintance also). My DD relates to this Kindergartener in more ways than one.
This sounds a lot like my spirited 5.5 year old. She is not so hypyeractive as she is just curious and VERY emotional and sensitive. But also very persistent.

These kids are soo wonderful but sooo draining!! My 5.5 year old is very smart and like the above posters daughter remembers things that even I had forgotten.

I reccommend the book Raising your spirited child

: :Mama to 4 girls and Michael is here 9/11/09 We love :::
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#4 of 15 Old 08-21-2003, 10:39 PM
 
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My son will be three tomorrow! He was a really high needs, very picky baby, and very willful. For instance, not only did I need to be holding him all the time, but I needed to be standing up while hoding him. If I sat down for a moment, all hell would break loose. He's also extremely bright, very verbal, very perceptive, notices and comments on EVERYTHING, right down to the phase of the moon each night! He has gone through various stages of being more mellow or more intense. The time from 18 months to 2.25 years was his longest stretch of being rather easy going- for him. Now, he is very persistent (will slam the dishwasher door shut 100,000 times to get my attention if I am doing chores and he wants me to give him attention) and we are struggling with a form of discipline that works. He seems not to care about any consequences- or at least he's able to pretend they don't bother him! He will be starting pre school in 3 weeks, and I'm curious to find out how he will do in that environment.
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#5 of 15 Old 08-22-2003, 10:41 AM
 
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It's amazing how they are different in school than at home. DD is wonderful in school and behaves nicely - most of the time, but when she gets home or even just sees me at school picking her up - watch out, the S**T hits the fan. She falls apart and starts up. She is worse for me than her father, and is also difficult for her grandparents (who see her all the time and live very close).
I have learned to expect it and have worked on dealing with it. Part of the problem is when she gets home, she needs immediate down time and a snack before dinner. I sit her and her brother on the couch with a snack between them and put on PBS or a video. They sit quietly while I cook dinner (about 1/2 the time) the other 1/2 they are running around like wild animals. At least the snack holds and helps DD's temperment in case dinner takes longer than expected.
I remember one day I went to pick DD up from school and the minute she saw me she expoloded and started crying and screaming about something that had happened during the day. The teacher looked at me (she was from another class) and said, " OH MY GOSH! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER?" I said, nothing why? She said, I have NEVER seen her act this way before!! I laughed and said, this is normal behavior. How she acts in school is exceptional behavior. I sat down and held and hugged DD until she calmed down, then we talked about the problem and all was fine. The teacher kept looking on with utter amazement. She still askes me in disbelief about that day and has since seen it again and again.
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#6 of 15 Old 08-22-2003, 10:48 AM
 
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mingber, I am totally hoping to see in my son the same school behavior you describe in your daughter. My son did attend a home daycare 4 days a week for about 2 years, and his behavior there was really different (he was a lot more calm and in control) there than at home. He is, like your daughter, worse for one parent than the other. Lucky for me, though, it's dh wth whom he seriously butts heads. As an elementary level teacher, I have known many kids who are, in the words of one parent, "street angels, house devils." That's the best I can hope for my son, becuase I will love him and help him no matter what but I can't say the same for all the teachers he will have throughout his life. He can seem pretty unlovable at times!
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#7 of 15 Old 08-22-2003, 11:17 AM
 
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Elliott was pretty high needs from the start, and I wasn't surprised when he meet the criteria for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Elliott refused all of the traditional elements of AP life (cosleeping, slinging, etc.) but was absolutely inconsolable if he wasn't touching me between 6 and 9.5 months. Honestly, I could put him down on the floor of the bathroom right beside me, and he'd be hysterical for the 30 seconds in took for me to go and then wash my hands. Luckily he became more easy going by 10 months, but those 3 months were an eternity.

The behavior described (house devil/street angel) is true for many spirited kids. I know, in my case, that I chose to homeschool Elliott partially because of this. He works so hard to "keep it together" when out and being bombarded by new sensory information, he simply falls apart in a safe place (with mama if we aren't at home). Flattering as it is to be my kid's foundation, I thought if we could avoid the stress that triggers the behavior, life would be better for everyone, but especially for Elliott. We tried a special ed preschool for Elliott last spring, and those two half days a week, even with me there, were just too much for Elliott to cope with. He was marvelous at school, but had a 20 minute meltdown every time he dropped a piece of Lego, or the doorbell/telephone rang while we were at home. I knew that academically he didn't need preschool, and I was sure that there were easier ways to meet Elliott's need for socialization. This is in no way a suggestion that everyone should homeschool, just something we found that works best for our high need 4 yr old. I would, however, recommend that anyone with a spirited child read "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It's an excellent overview of sensory integration dysfunction, and you may find what fuels your child's temperament somewhere among the chapters.
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#8 of 15 Old 08-22-2003, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much for your responses. i know my ds is only 2 but i can't help to look toward the future. your responses have truly been helpful. thanks.
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#9 of 15 Old 08-22-2003, 05:44 PM
 
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My dd is 8 and going into 3rd grade. She has mellowed quite a bit in terms of her sensory issues. Tags and sock seams don't bug her as much as when she was young. She can wear jeans now and something besides stripped shirts.
She is a angel at school too. She has found that if she jumps on the trampoline right when she gets home from school, as a way to transition, she does fine. She definitly needs something to help her transition. She also does better if she has protien for breakfast and I still have to be very careful about making sure she eats a balanced diet and gets enough sleep, or we are headed to breakdown. All of her teachers have loved her, really have taken her into their hearts. She is so smart and, as the other mothers have said, remembers EVERYTHING she ever learns. It is astonishing, really.
Having a little sister has been an interesting experience for her. Claire has helped her big sister learn patience, and compassion. The little sister is so loving and kind and dear that the big sister has a hard time being mad with her. Not that the little sister doesn't sometimes just try to get big sisters goat, because she does. But big sister has had to try very hard to manage her temper so she doesn't hurt little sister. It has been a remarkable growth experience for big sister.
This girl has stretched me as a parent, like none other. I am so grateful that she came to me.
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#10 of 15 Old 08-26-2003, 03:34 PM
 
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Hi All
I've just read all the postings regarding spirited and high needs kids. I am the mother of 3, the first born (boy) is by far, the most spirited! He has just turned 8 and entering the 3rd grade. We've had ups and downs along the way, most of which involved me wondering when the padded wagon was coming to pick me up! None of my friends kids were like mine, I really thought I was going to lose my mind! He is above average in intelligence, emotions and activity levels. Some of which the school appreciates, most of which they don't!
The most successful thing we tried was the Feingold Program which involves removing ALL SYNTHETICS from your diet (they can be found at www.feingold.org) it helps us bring the energy/emotional level down to a reasonable level. It is by far, a very hard program to get used to but, for the children who are sensitive to synthetics, it is worth it. I strongly recommend you try it out. If you think about buying the product booklets, it is worth it! (and i'm tight with a buck!)
The school wanted us to medicate him and until he swings from the ceiling, it's not happening here! we did the program as an entire family without giving the kids too many details as to why we were trying it, we just explained that there are lots of chemicals in foods and we'd like to try a healthier way to eat. After about 1 week or so, my son replied that he liked this way to eat because he felt "healthier and like his body wasn't going so fast all the time like it did before". Interesting isn't it?
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#11 of 15 Old 08-27-2003, 01:03 AM
 
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I am so glad I found this thread! I just got the book Raising your spirited child and cried when I read the intro! I have a 3 year old that is by all means spirited - I always said he was "spicey" and we fight every day just to do things like put on underwear. Not knowing what to do I found this book and now this link where I am not alone Yay for me. I am very tired right now so if its not making any sense I do appologize. Its nice to read that all of you have survived past the 2-3 y/o stage into school (are any of you totally gray headed yet? lol) Is there any more links that has anything to do with support of a spirited child?

to all the mommies of spirited children
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#12 of 15 Old 08-27-2003, 07:50 PM
 
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Just thought I'd add my voice too. Both my husband and I are "spirited" and even in our very active families were considered "most". So it comes as no suprise that our son Taylor 3.5 is too. That said, AHHHHHH!!! Taylor is SO much "more" than we were according to our relatives. Teachers [day care, church, camp, swimming, etc], relatives, friends, all say something to the effect of "Wow. He sure is, uh, active?" Uh, Yeah.

I definatly DO think things are much much easier as time goes though. I recall around 21-22 months old suddenly thinking one day "Gee, THAT wasn't such a tough day?" And each month has been a smidge better in general. Mostly I think this is because he is VERY bright and is an excellent communicator. Whew. Now he can TELL me what is wrong which is SO much easier!!

I actually came to this site today to ask something similar to this. Do other folks kids who are high spirited do better with ALOT of scheduled activity or LESS? We go through phases and I cant get things straight. We spent Apr, May, and June this year with a tight schedule of 9-10 am until 2-3 pm each day going M - Zoo, Tu - Library & Story time, W - Beach w Male toddler Friends, Th - Hiking/Park w Female toddler Friends, F - out-of-house chores. Wore me out to tears !! So July and Aug we tried taking it easy doing only 2 or 3 things a week which "seemed" to go better, except now he is go-go-go at home like a whirlwind and he hardly ever sleeps [8 hr avg - 9 hr max and even then it's a battle] etc. Ideas for a compromise?

PS. No gray hair here -- I use Clariol #108
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#13 of 15 Old 08-29-2003, 08:25 AM
 
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I try to keep our schedule to middle range of activities. DD will go to school (Kindg) every day from 9-2:30 and she will have a 45 minute commute with a parent or friend's parent. We will then have MAJOR down time in front of the TV with decent shows or videos and a snack. Tuesdays she will have a dance class in the early evenings (5pm) that way it's not right after school and she can have her down time (WHICH IS NEEDED!). Other than that, we have no scheduled activities for the fall.
During the summer she was in day care 3 days a week full days. On the other 2 days we tried to do outings (petting zoo, library), but limited it to 2 a day or 1 long one. She needs lots of down time (actually, I need it to help me, but she does benefit) even if it's just sitting and reading to her.
(She refuses to learn to read - she is afraid that if she learns, we won't read to her anymore) Anyone else with similar problems???
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#14 of 15 Old 08-30-2003, 05:49 PM
 
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levar, a tight schedule works better for my spirited 3 year old. Dh and I agree: the less time at home, the better the day goes! From the time he was 2 months old, we had to be UP and OUT early in the morning. Ds is a schedule kid in another way, too: he is MUCH happier if he knows the precise schedule for the day. At bedtime, since he was about 2, he would ask, "What are we doing tomorrow?" and it would be great if I could outline the whole day for him.
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#15 of 15 Old 09-02-2003, 09:21 AM
 
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Techma - I know what you mean. My DD bedtime story everynight is what will be happening the next day and to review the day we had. It gives us quiet time to reflect on everything that went on, to discuss problems or situations and how we can do better next time. Also, she can then go to sleep knowing what to expect tomorrow or over the weekend or on a trip.
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