I spoke about my intense child the other day on Insta Stories and it erupted in some really good conversation. I promised several of you that I would get all the goods into a post and here it is! There are truly so many of us, I hope that the more we are open and honest about our challenges with these kids who feel deeply and are still learning how to navigate those feelings, the better ALL our situations will become. More tools, more ideas, more compassion, more understanding, more light and laughter and fun, too! There are several amazing quotes from the round-up of books below but this one especially caught my eye and tugged at my heart:
It was only in the last few months that my husband and I stopped saying “It’s a phase” and shifted to the understanding that this might just be his personality. Super sensitive, easily overwhelmed with emotion of all kinds and seemingly deeper more intense feelings than your average joe.
For my kiddo there are SO many factors we are weighing each day. I’ll share them here because maybe it might help you in figuring out your balance, too!
-He is a picky eater, but also has a lot of sensitivities in his favorite foods. Like corn and dairy are his favorite things, but also things an allergist told us to stay away from. We do our best, but it’s so hard!
-Eating often. He can get ultra focused and not be concerned with eating but I think he might be hypoglycemic like his mom because if I can keep him fed and fed well (I.E. not chips and chocolate milk) he is night and day different. I found he LOVES Jamba Juice smoothies (Caribbean Passion is his fave) so I bought the pre-bagged smoothes ($3 gets two full cups) and because the flavor is something he loves and recognizes and can be consistent with the bagged version, I can load in extra good stuff. Knowing he is getting good nutrients that way helps take some of the pressure of forcing him to eat things he doesn’t like which is ALWAYS a battle and causes so much contention.
I add Buried Treasure ACF for Kids Immune Support, a Probiotic powder, and this Organic Superfood Blend. The Caribbean Passion flavor is strong and recognizable enough to come through and they don’t even flinch when they drink it!
-Sleep. I can tell he is tired when he gets super weepy. I pull the plug on him and put him in my bed and turn the fan on. He might throw a fit but 100% of the time he falls asleep when I do this.
-Attention and Praise. He seems to keep track if I am paying attention or praising other kids more than him and he will internalize and eventually tell me that it made him sad. He acts out to get attention and in turn can get in trouble a lot which also triggers him. Vicious cycle.
-Control and being in charge. He has said so many times he can’t wait until he’s older so he can make the rules.The less I tell him what to do the better for us all. I have to pick my battles with him and occasionally we do a “YES” day (usually a Saturday after they finish their chores) where parents can only say yes to things the kids want (we have some rules to keep it within reason) and he LOVES it so much.
-I’ve had him tested for a number of things as a precaution to no avail, but one thing I sense in him is that he gets over stimulated super easily. Too much noise, too much going on, to bright etc. So I have to make sure he has a lot of down time with out all of that. He is also a classic introvert where as me and my other kids are the opposite so we have to protect him in that way and make sure he gets time to himself.
Validation. Validating kids feelings is sometimes all they need to hear to let go of something. It’s as easy as mirroring their emotions or actions to them, “I can hear that you’re really angry.” “I can see you’re so excited you couldn’t wait.”
Grounding or Earthing. Feeling peaceful in nature isn’t a fluke, the energetic waves that come from way underneath the Earth’s surface have been shown to have a calming effect and negative charge on us all! You have to be barefoot for it to work but it is proven!
Drink Water. The act of drinking water automatically regulates breathing and switches the brain to focus on not choking. Watching stressed child drink water, they are visibly calmed (this research was discussed in this book!) In addition dehydration can cause irritability and a number o other stressors.
Weighted Blanket These blankets (mine is 15 pounds) are used for all types of disorders like OCD, Autism, Sensory issues, and anxiety. Serotonin levels have been tracked to raise when under a weighted blanket which helps calm and relax as well as helps us fall asleep faster. This is the one I use and put my kids under to watch a show, or have quiet time when needed.
BOOKS SUGGESTED: I’ll post a quote from each book that helps summarize what you can expect to learn
Whole Brain Child — “We now know that the way to help a child develop optimally is to help create connections in her brain—her whole brain—that develop skills that lead to better relationships, better mental health, and more meaningful lives. You could call it brain sculpting, or brain nourishing, or brain building. Whatever phrase you prefer, the point is crucial, and thrilling: as a result of the words we use and the actions we take, children’s brains will actually change, and be built, as they undergo new experiences.”
No Drama Discipline — “Reduce words. Embrace emotions. Describe, don’t preach. Involve your child in the discipline. Reframe a no into a conditional yes. Emphasize the positive. Creatively approach the situation. Teach mindsight tools.”
The Child Whisperer (the “types” book)– “I believe that the purpose of parenting is to raise children true to their natures so they can grow up feeling honored, confident, and free to be themselves. When you truly stop seeing your children’s tendencies through eyes of judgment, they will feel the change and respond in positive ways you cannot yet anticipate.”
Transforming Your Difficult Child — “Children do not awaken by the fear of punishment. They awaken to their greatness.”
The Explosive Child, A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children — “Challenging kids are lacking the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, skills most of us take for granted.”
Raising Your Spirited Child — “Love your spirited child for who she is. Because she is more, she will make you more.” or I also loved this one:
“It almost seems un-American, at times, to have kids who are slow to warm up. Other people tell us to push them—to force them to jump in—and they reprimand us for babying them. When your child adapts slowly, remind yourself that you will appreciate it when he is an adolescent. While all the other kids are running off on some ridiculous impulsive venture, yours will be thinking, moving slowly and cautiously. There are strengths to every temperamental characteristic.”