“Sometimes in waves of change we find our true direction.” – Unknown
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 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 the one on the receiving end of his 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 recognize is that it’s okay for our children to have intense personalities. It is also more than okay for their personality traits to change, and to rise and fall in their magnitude. Like a wave that alters its form, changes within children will help them on their path to self-discovery and self-acceptance. Ultimately, his highs and lows will aid him in the realization of his own life 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’s itching to get out.
According to Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, the best thing parents can do when trying to successfully guide a high-spirited child, is to understand their 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 the parent and the child to feel a sense of dignity and personal power.
It is quite possible that while you are working on the aforementioned principles proposed by Kurcinka, your high-spirited child will take you from intensity, all the way to insanity, and then surprisingly to serenity. This can happen monthly, weekly, or even daily in some cases, as in mine.
Ohhh…serenity? You like the sound of that? Where can you find some? Let me tell you…
— Find serenity in the fact that as an adult, your child’s intensity can be productive. There is belief amongst many 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 many believe the more intense someone feels an experience, the further the depth of their learning from that experience.
I promise you this. If and 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 writing with intensity, my children, and my husband.
So maybe, just maybe, my son is learning to be “intense” from me, and maybe that’s really not so bad after all. Think about it, there is no more intense love than the love we have for our kids, right?
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” –Anonymous
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