I have an intense child. Yes, all of my children have some level of intensity, but one, oh that one, he is extremely intense.
Some use the term high-needs to describe such a child. I, however, happen to prefer the term “high-spirited”. Yes, he has lots of needs and yes, he is very demanding about the those needs. But, a unique thing about some high-spirited children, is their ability to raise and lower their intensity level depending upon their audience. In this family, Mommy is almost always on the receiving end of the extreme. I would compare my son’s high-spiritedness to that of a wave; his feelings and range of emotions go up and down and all over the place.
What I have come to realize and recognize is that it is okay for our children to have intense personalities. It is also more than okay for their personality traits to change and to rise/fall in their magnitude. Like a wave that alters in it form, changes within children will help them on their path to self-discovery and self-acceptance and ultimately aid in the realization of their life’s direction.
As parents, we need to understand and support our children in their moments of fervor. Sometimes our children need to “break”, like a wave; in that they need to have less positive moments (tantrums, tirades, etc.), so that they can release some of their spirit that is itching to be let out.
According to Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheeda Kurcinka, the best thing parents can do when trying to successful parent a high-spirited child, is to try to understand your child’s temperament. The book instructs parents to stop referring to their children negatively; even if not in front of them. Kurcinka states that parents should use positive labels when describing their child. She also coaches us through successful ways to deal with our child’s tantrums and “blow-ups”. “Principled negotiation” is an interesting topic that is discussed in her book; it deals with finding solutions to problems that allow for both you, and your child, to feel a sense of dignity and personal power.
While you are working on the aforementioned principals proposed by Kurcinka, it is likely that your high-spirited child will take you from intensity to insanity to serenity. This can happen monthly, weekly or even daily, in some cases, as in mine. So where can you find some serenity?
— Find serenity in the fact that, as an adult, your child’s intensity can be productive. There is belief amongst some, that intense people are more likely to achieve results.
— Find serenity in the fact that your child loves you with high intensity. Savor those moments where your child is loving you with such passion.
— Find serenity in the fact that some believe a distinguishing feature of “winners” is their intensity of purpose.
— Find serenity in the fact that most “intense” people are also very curious and excite easily; two very endearing traits.
— Find serenity in the fact that some believe that the more intense someone feels an experience, the further the depth of their learning from that experience.
I promise you this. If/when your child’s intensity subsides or goes away (which I hope it never will for mine), you will be missing it. I know that I personally approach everything with intensity. Not on the same scale as my son, but the intensity is still there. I approach my blogging with intensity, my family, my children and my husband. So maybe he is learning to be “intense” from me and you know what, maybe thats not so bad…
Think about it, there is no more intense love then the love we have for our kids, right?
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” –Anonymous