Nurturing Our Spirited Children
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Spirited/High-Need Children

This description of spirited/high-need children was written in Fall 1998 by the parents of Parent Soup's Spirited/High-Needs Children message board.

Spirited or high-need babies and children are truly unique people. From the moment of birth they come into this world letting their parents and families know exactly what they need. Some long to be held and cuddled, while others find our touch too much stimulation. They all long to be loved. They display that longing by letting their parents know that no matter what time of day, what activity is taking place, they need to know their place in this world. They want their place to be filled with love, mutual respect, touch, and happiness. They want to feel "right". They will fight for this love until they get it.

They are the connected children who won't let their parents give up on them no matter how frustrated they get from time to time. They want what all of us want and demand it - a secure loving home. They bond to people, not things and express the bond with loving affection. They make us look at our priorities and realize that our time on this earth is limited and that nothing matters except unconditional love. These babies and children are our "reality check".

Like artists, they perceive more deeply, are observant of the smallest details, and organize them like a Picasso. Their intensity enables them to express themselves in a colorful, dramatic way...sometimes vibrant and bright and other times dark and moody.

With a deep level of compassion and empathy, they show you the world from an entirely new perspective. Not everyone understands their reactions or point of view, but if you take the time to study them, you can see the world in a new dimension and respect their expressions.

Their boundless energy, savy debating skills, clear sense of fairness, and caution when encountering new situations will help them to become tomorrows athletes, world leaders, judges, or parents with their own spirited children.

They know that their real strengths are what others may see as weaknesses to be manipulated, changed and labeled negatively. They need from their parents encouragement, guidance, discipline, praise, and the skills to handle situations they find most difficult. They need us to speak up on their behalf, to advocate, with strangers and teachers instead of chastising them when they don't "conform".

As their parents we need to understand that they were born with their personality traits. We need to listen to their voices, especially when they are cries, read their cues, and help them to understand their environment, emotions, and feelings.

Most of all, they bring out the best in us as human beings and help us to achieve a potential we thought was only a dream.

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