My son Lucas was definitely a high need baby and I often worried about him becoming a high need kid. For about 3 years, we didn’t get a break. He went from being a fussy baby to an exceptionally high energy toddler with tantrums starting right after his first birthday. Terrible twos started early and peaked at about 18 months — he wasn’t even two! Lucas started to “slow down” after his third birthday. He was still a “needy,” “high energy,” “bossy” kid but I started noticing some amazing qualities that made him stand out from other kids his age. My fussy baby/difficult toddler was turning into a loving, sensitive, spirited, and extremely bright child. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel like my parenting skills were not as bad as I thought.
I have recently come across a great article “Difficult Babies Can Turn Into Super Kids” by Gwen Dwar, Ph.D that discusses how “the same sensitivity that makes people difficult as babies can make them into lovely, academically-successful, socially-adept kids. If they get the right sort of parenting. Compared to easy babies, difficult babies are much more responsive to the effects of parenting. Because they are more influenced by their parents, they can turn out better-adjusted than their easygoing peers.”
Lucas is now 4 ½ years old and I couldn’t agree more with the article. Hands-on and consistent parenting is very important in the early years of a high need child. We have consistently used positive reinforcement as opposed to punishment to encourage desired behavior. Lucas responds extremely well to rewards. I really believe that some of the common features of high need babies described by Dr. Sears such as “intense,” “hyperactive,” “demanding,” “unsatisfied,” “unpredictable,” “super-sensitive” can later on become “assertive,” “obedient,” “independent,” “over-achiever,” “loving,” and an overall “go-getter.”
When I look back and think of my restless nights and days, the colic, the tantrums, the screaming, I still get goose bumps and feel like crying, but I know everything I experienced has made me a better and stronger parent. I never thought I would say this – but – I am thankful I had a high need baby.
This article was written by Fernanda Haido, the founder of FefisBaby. It is based on her personal experiences and should not be a substitute for medical/professional consultation.