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A good friend of mine has a classic case of "my kid is better than yours." She is a wonderful friend and a great mom and I know she is just proud of her kids that she adores. But, sometimes I just can't take it!<br><br>
She is constantly labeling my 18 mo DS "High Needs" but says so in a sympathetic way as she believes her DS (now 4) was very high needs when he was younger. She makes these comments when my DS..... cries when getting placed in the car seat, when I am chasing him around the kids play area at the mall because he doesn't want to stay in the playground boundaries, when he throws a fit when he doesn't want to share a toy, etc. etc. etc.<br><br>
Maybe I am in denial because I don't want to associate my son with a negative label, but I DON'T feel like he is "High Needs". I think he is a typical 18 month old toddler who, yes! , keeps me on my toes!<br><br>
I guess what I am asking is... should I just get over it, let it roll off my back, and stop being so hypersensitive? OR.... Should I ask her to stop labeling my son as "High Needs" because I am uncomfortable with it. I think it is easy to suggest the latter, but think about having this conversation with your best friend before making that suggestion.<br><br>
Thanks for your advice!
 

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I like the term "spirited" It is not negative ( to me anyway) I hear it alot about my daughter and dependin on who it is, I might defend her or agree with them. Just today I found her sitting on top of the changing table. No idea how she got there. The other day she was on the pool table. And her new fascination is climbing the construction ladders on the porch. I hear you about keeping you on your toes.<br><br>
As I was putting her to bed tonight, I was thanking God for the spirited child and not a docile child. I know it sounds wierd but my DD demanded that I hold her and that led me to finally bond with her. When she was younger she would not take a bottle , so I nursed her, already showing spirit, she knew what was best. And as I run about cleaning up her messes and trying to stay one step ahead of her, I grit my teeth, but later laugh recounting her antics.<br><br>
Anyway. As for your friend let her believe what she wants about your kid. Time will be the real test of the value of her words anyway.
 

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Next time she says those words, try responding wth something like "aren't all kids this age" or "he's pretty much like any <i>active</i> toddler" (emphasis placed...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">)<br><br>
I can think of other, less polite things to say... But she is your friend and if she truly is being 'sympathetic', I wouldn't go with any of those <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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sigh, aren't all 18 month olds "high needs"? their needs are paramount and if they're not met immediately they don't really have an idea of what "later" is, you know?<br><br>
i think a lot of people try very hard to make their experience my experience and when i don't join in, it can be uncomfortable. i would smile and say "he's 18 months" and busy yourself with whatever he wants at that moment in time.
 

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before i knew ds had spd, I thought he was just high needs, and we turned it around by saying "it just means hes more vocal and confident about getting his needs met" which is never a bad thing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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Spirited is more positive label. My ds is spirited as well. I read something really wonderful this morning that you might say to your friend. An "easy" child does not always mean a "good" child. Some children are just born easier, quieter etc, doesn't mean they'll grow up to be good human beings, just means they make less fuss.
 

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Well, I don't personally have a problem with "high needs", but I would be a little irked if someone else kept referring to him as that. I think it's the whole referring to my child as a label, rather than whatever the label was (even if it was "the gifted child" or whatever).<br><br>
My style is probably a little more confrontational than most (I would just say "can you STOP calling him high needs, please?") but if it bothers you, you should definitely say something - in your own way.
 

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If it's bugging you, ay something. Maybe even like you said "Oh, he's keeping me on my toes alright! Such a typical toddler! Aren't they all high needs at this age?" or something. Maybe she'll get the point. If she doesn't, I'd just say, point blank, "I really don't think my DS is high needs. I don't care for that label anyways... How about some coffee?"
 

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Being passive-aggressive, I'd probably hear her say that while my child was placed in a car seat and say something snarky like, "Really? Didn't your DS? I don't know one kid who doesn't cry at that. Huh. Weird. Was DS ALWAYS like that?" (feign genuine curiosity).<br><br>
This approach isn't actually as mean as it sounds. If you can actually muster up some real interest rather than sarcasm, you can learn a lot about why she came up with that label, how she thinks DS is different than other kids, why she thinks your kids are alike yet exceptional, and all that jazz.
 

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Maybe that mama who is saying those things to you is the one who is "high needs".<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: She can't handle normal kid behavior.
 

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'I know your trying to help, but I really don't like labels for my son'
 

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Actually, I prefer "high needs" to "spirited".<br><br>
Yes, all toddlers are "high needs", so, it's pretty accurate, as far as I'm concerned.<br><br>
Every person I know IRL who uses the term "spirited" for their children just has out of control kids (I'm not talking toddlers, I'm talking older children) for whom they don't take parental responsibility. "Oh, he shouldn't have pushed your child off the swing, but, he's "spirited".", "Oh, I'm sorry she hit you after you asked her to not jump on the couch with shoes on, but, she's "spirited" (yes, these are real life examples) with no consequences for the child. Thus, I have a very negative connotation of "spirited".<br><br>
FWIW, my DD (17 mos) does many of the same things your son does, and I don't think that makes her especially "high needs" or "spirited"....she's just exhibiting normal toddler behavior. Maybe in three years, I'll know if I have a "high needs" child on my hands, but, at 17/18mos, it all seems typical to me.
 

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I hear this kind of thing a lot, and while the label "high-needs" doesn't especially trouble me, I'm just not sure that applying such labels (especially repeatedly) isn't counterproductive. When I am in this situation, I am not so much trying to change the friend or observer making the remark; I am trying to reframe the issue for myself so that *I* do not absorb the kind of thinking that labeling can lead to. So generally, I don't respond by correcting or admonishing the commenter; I just respond by replacing the 'label' with an actual observation: "It sure seems like sharing the toys is difficult for him today!" or "Yeah, he'd obviously much rather run around than get in the car seat right now!"<br><br>
I sometimes even do this proactively, if I can sense or if I suspect that someone (especially my dd's grandmother) is uncomfortable with the scene. It can really help to break to tension to say something like, "She's really having a hard time slowing down to our pace right now!" or "It sure is hard for her to stop herself from splashing the dishwater!" I'm not sure if it truly makes the observer feel any better, but I can tell you that it makes *me* feel better to make a concrete observation. It turns off the voice in my head that is saying what I *think* the observer might be thinking: "This child is disobedient and unruly!" or "This child is high-needs!"<br><br>
Bottom line? I don't think you should try to change your friend, except maybe by example. But I do think that you should reframe the situation for yourself (whether by method or some other one) so that you don't absorb any negativity and can remain open to your son (who, by the way, sounds entirely normal to me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>katheek77</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9900017"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Actually, I prefer "high needs" to "spirited".<br><br>
Yes, all toddlers are "high needs", so, it's pretty accurate, as far as I'm concerned.</div>
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Me too. I have always heard the term 'spirited' used negatively or used as a way to excuse bad behavior. A woman came to playgroup and explained that her 2.5 year old was hitting and biting the other children because he was 'spirited' and didn't we think his 'spirit' was beautiful? ...
 

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I agree with you that he sounds perfectly "normal," but I would probably let it roll off your back. Like others have said, "high needs" doesn't even begin to cover it, really--and that's okay.<br><br>
Instead of worrying about what that might suggest about your son (since you *know* it's normal) just enjoy what that implies about you--the one who provides for those "high needs."<br><br>
Or, if it's really bothering you, I would just say, "Oh, I don't know that he's particularly 'high needs'--he's just being a toddler!"
 

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My experience with "high needs" is that it is a Dr. Sears term which he uses a lot when talking about babies more then toddlers. There truely are "high needs" children - all I take this to mean in my experience is that they feel things more deeply and are more sensitive. That has nothing to do with being active/good/bad/smart/typical toddler, etc., etc. It sounds like in your situation, you have a very happy, active, toddler. It sounds like your friend is just trying to say "i've been there" by her comments. Trying to let you know that she is being supportive even if it isn't an approach that supports you - I don't know if that makes sense.<br><br>
Having a child who feels too deeply for what they can mentally understand is very challenging. I honestly can tell you from my heart that if I had tried to be mainstream with DD as a baby she would have ended up in the hospital as FTT. While I agree that I don't like labels, this is a real difference in children and speaking as a parent of a high needs child - parents need extra support just like they would with a "special needs" child. It is the difference between a child with true ADHD and a child who is super active and the parents call them ADHD. Sorry to go on a bit of a rant, but I feel like this issue is the only one that does not get much support on the mothering boards.<br><br>
I have never thought of high needs as a negative label. Quite the opposite. I was saved by reading Dr. Sears info on high needs when DD was very little. I thought I was doing something wrong because if she wasn't nursing or sleeping she was crying. Babywearing wasn't enough - I had to also be actively engaging her every second with movement, sound, etc. If she wasn't in my arms she was crying for the first 6 months straight - nearly nonstop. She is now 2.5 and as an example of her sensitivity: I started scratching my ankle while she was nursing. I told my DH that something bit me (calmly). She pulled off the boob and started thoroughly crying. I immediately looked down to ask her what was wrong and between gasps she said, "something bit you on purpose". She didn't calm down until I explained that it was a mommy bug getting food for her babies.<br><br>
I would never imply that "high needs" meant that my DD was in some way better - yicks! She is just different and needs more sensitive parenting.<br><br>
Sorry this is so long - I just wanted to add a different perspective.<br><br>
Happy toddler chasing!
 

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I consider "high needs" a kid who needs to be carried or held all the time, who can't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, who has regular meltdowns.<br><br>
Your son kinda sounds like many 18 month old kids. Some kids are naturally quiet and prefer to stay close to mom. Some kids are naturally active and boundries are meant to be broken. Some kids fall in the middle.
 
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