How do you know if your child fits the profile of a difficult, sensitive, challenging, quirky or spirited child? Here are some of the descriptions professionals use when describing a child who strains his or her parents’ coping abilities:
• has a high activity level, gets into things all the time, behaves wildly;
• is distractible, impulsive;
• is intense, loud;
• is stubborn, disobedient;
• is highly sensitive, either emotionally or to sound, light or other sensory input;
• doesn’t like new situations, people, food or clothes, or refuses to give things up once used to them; or
• is negative and complaining.
The way these traits show up in any particular child is different. Has your child’s potty training been a back-and-forth process? Does she refuse to take a bath or go to bed? Will he eat nothing but macaroni and cheese? Do the tags in her shirts or the seams in her socks drive her crazy? Is he having a very hard time sharing his belongings? Is he aggressive toward peers and perhaps toward you when you say “No”? Can she focus on TV but not your directions? Is she non-stop movement, or consumed by moodiness or always fearful?