10 Reasons I Am Thankful For My High Need Child {Why Wednesday}

why wednesday new“She’s so alert!” people would say to me as they admired my bright-eyed, red-headed bundle of joy. As a new mom, I didn’t know any differently. “Don’t all babies stay awake this long?” I thought. “Aren’t most babies attached to their moms and refuse to go to anyone else?” Apparently not.

The more I observed my daughter, I began to realize I had been blessed with a child that has a high need personality. This is not a disorder or something “wrong” with my daughter. God created her just the way she is supposed to be. It is simply a way to describe children that require a lot of interaction and attention, particularly with and from their parents. While high need babies and toddlers can be clingy and extremely active, their curiosity and tenaciousness allows them to learn quickly and try new things when properly guided and made to feel secure.

While I hesitate to label my daughter as “high need” because I don’t like the idea of labeling people, I have come to realize that characterizations doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation. I would much rather someone describe my child as high need and see it has a positive attribute than focus on and criticize the difficult aspects that often come with this personality.

So, with that in mind, I begin my new on-going series…

high needs child

Why I’m Glad My Firstborn Is High Need

(In No Particular Order)

1. It has forced me to “die to myself” and put my daughter’s needs above my own. Selfishness is not much of an option when parenting a high need baby. While I believe down time is crucial to avoid burnout, it is necessary to realize that mommy time is a privilege, not a right.

2. I have learned that patience is a must-have virtue. People often say not to pray for patience because you will be tested, but I strongly disagree. I often cry out to the Lord to grant me the grace to lovingly respond to my daughter’s needs. I have far from perfect in this area, but strive daily to grow more patient as a parent.

3. It has helped me realize how unique each individual is. God created my daughter and her strong personality for a reason. Who am I to question His will? Every person has different characteristics for a reason.

4. I rely more on the Lord for strength. Having a high need child can be exhausting, but God is always faithful to encourage me or give me much needed rest when I become weary.

5. I better empathize with other parents. I will be honest. Before I became a parent I was a little judgemental of some parent’s parenting decisions and their misbehaving children. While I still struggle with this, I am much more understanding and compassionate toward other parents.

6. It has required me to rely on wisdom from God for my parenting decisions. As I recently shared, only the Lord can give us perfect parenting instructions. Parenting books, articles and advice from others can be helpful tools, but should never replace or take precedence over the Word of God.

7. I care less about what people think about me or my child. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. I still cringe when people make comments about my clingy daughter, but God is slowly refining my heart and mind and setting me free from pride and the approval of others.

8. I have learned to fall asleep quicker. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning of my blogging adventure may remember that I struggled with insomnia quite a bit in the past. No more! God has taken care of that issue by giving me a child that ensures I am exhausted by the end of the day. 😉

9. It has forced me to become a more creative and outgoing person. As an introvert, I would be perfectly happy curled up on the couch with a book or hiking by myself in the woods. My daughter has given me a reason to broaden my scope of entertainment and requires me to develop better interpersonal relationship skills that I often shy away from.

10. I will be a better mother to my future children because of the lessons I have learned. At the end of the day, I know that all the parenting techniques and knowledge I am gaining by raising my high need child will better equip me to mother more children. I believe what I am learning will be especially helpful when becoming an adoptive parent in the future,

While having a high need child can be demanding and difficult at times, the blessing far out-ways the bad in the situation.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28

What a beautiful promise to cling to in times of doubt and frustration! God has created our children to be unique individuals for a purpose. What some people may see as a negative situation, He views it as perfect and good. Let us all embrace in our children’s personalities, rely on the Lord for guidance, and watch in joy as they grow to be confident, godly men and women. Won’t that be worth every exhausting moment? I believe it will be.

What has your child taught you about parenting lately?


{This post is happily shared with Pour Your Heart Out and these link-ups}

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  1. ro elliott says

    we are neighbors at WIP…love this…children break us up a little our a time…this little ones cut way at our flesh…but what a sweet cutting. blessings as you embrace this sweet girl of yours.

    • says

      I go-to word was usually clingy… I can definitely relate to demanding as well though. lol I still think “high need” sounds slightly negative, but have found it to be the most all-inclusive without using an overly-negative term.

  2. says

    I really appreciate this one Jenni…
    I can so relate to many of the ways God has used your child’s unique personality-design to mold and move your own heart.
    Our oldest kiddo has struggled with speech issues and is dyslexic…I can look back now and see exactly why God knew she would be a gift to me and that I actually NEEDED to walk through these struggles with her.
    As a mama, I still would love to remove the heartaches that she faces from time to time, but deep down…I am thankful for the struggles because of how they have shaped her heart and also changed me.
    Thanks for sharing this…
    Kara @ The Chuppies recently posted..Are You Already Skimming…?My Profile

    • says

      So glad this blessed you, Kara. Thank you for sharing a little glimpse into your own parenting struggles and lessons. It is so wonderful to see the blessings in the difficult, isn’t it? :)

  3. says

    I loved your list of lessons your daughter taught you. As I read them I realized that I too have learned the same lessons in a different way. I guess when we are faced with the challenges (good or bad, it doesn’t matter) in life, what we learn are the tools for us to live our lives the best we can for ourselves and those around us. Thank you for sharing!

  4. says

    I love your list! And adore that my list of lessons learned with my first is sooooo similar yet I bet our stories aren’t the same. Then again, maybe they are closer than I think. I can’t believe I haven’t thought about this “high needs” much before. . . . I’m going to.

    Like all of your lists, I can’t even think of one to add. they’re always so brilliant!
    Nikki recently posted..Forget Less…I Want More.My Profile

  5. says

    Ellen has been in and out of the peds frequently for her high-needs behavior (before I figured out that is what it is!). Finally, the doctor just said, “There is nothing wrong with her. She is intelligent. She is very spirited.”

    There you go. My very high-needs baby is spirited, and I love her that way!
    Jenna@CallHerHappy recently posted..4 Fun and Safe Crafts for 1-Year-OldsMy Profile

  6. says

    Jenni, we’ve been dreaming about what kind of personality our baby girl will have when she’s born. I just read that her activity now – at 7 months pregnant – is a predictor of her personality. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but she moves all the time!! Just today I started worrying about what if she’s too active. God quickly convicted me. Your post really helped me to put that in perspective, too. I have to remember that this child is not my creation of perfection. She’s God’s child to do His work – not mine. :-) She is perfect no matter what she’s like. I will need your posts in this series! Thank you!
    Brenda @Triple Braided recently posted..You’re a Butternut Squash! :: Pregnancy at 7 MonthsMy Profile

    • says

      My daughter moved around a lot in the womb as well, so you definitely could have an active little one in the near future! You will have a wonderful work of God’s creation and He will give you everything you need to be a wonderful mother.

  7. says

    My children have taught me that one has to take just have fun at times. I work a lot of hours but since I have been on my sabbatical, I get to spend some serious times playing. It has been fun to connect to the kids on that level.
    Wayne recently posted..TalentMy Profile

    • says

      I agree that we definitely need to take time to play with our children. I believe it is one of the best ways young children learn as well. Thanks for your comment!

    • says

      So glad this was a blessing to you! I completely understand becoming irritated at times. It is something I daily struggle with as well. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  8. says

    It’s funny reading this post. My 11yo is a high-needs daughter. I remember looking down at her constant motion in the baby carrier and thinking Heaven Help Me. As an 11 yo — she is high drama and constant questions. But you are right. I need to be patient and thankful. She is our by adoption and the answer to many prayer. The Lord never makes mistakes. Even with this low-maintenance mama.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted..What if I had saved Rod Stewart?My Profile

  9. says

    I would much rather have a child ask me 1000 questions in a day (but not before breakfast) than not. I thrive on their excitement. I have 4 kids that are non stop–bouncing, swinging, singing, dancing, laughing, talking and I would not want it any other way! God picked me to be their Mom for a reason–the same is true for you as well.
    renee recently posted..St. Theresa’s Prayer vs. BalanceMy Profile

  10. says

    I totally agree with all the statements in this post. I too have a spirited child. He isn’t clingy at all (completely independent in fact), but he is energetic and very strong willed with a temper the size of Texas. I sometimes wonder where I went wrong with him to make him this way, but I know that this is just the way God created him. I need to work on a post like this so I can read it on the bad days when I just want to run away. Thanks for the idea.

    Melissa Ryan recently posted..Cleaning, cleaning, cleaningMy Profile

    • says

      Thinking positively and realizing that God created them this way for a purpose really helps you get through the difficult days. Glad this was a blessing to you, Melissa!

    • says

      So glad this was an encouragement to you, Ree. I hope the future posts in the series will be helpful to you a well. I know I will appreciate your input through comments! :)

  11. says

    bella I really enjoyed this post. My oldest (who just turned 4) was such an easy baby, until she turned 3. Oy vei. This is when she began exhibiting some very strong willed behavior, extreme persistence, and even became argumentative and even a bit of a dictator (especially to her brother). Also seeming to need more attention once baby #3 arrived than previously. It can be so easy to get frustrated because this is such new territory for me…but I have been praying for God to show me how to cultivate the good aspects of this behavior, and help me nip in the bud the negative aspects of this behavior, and the discernment to differentiate, and how to handle it. It’s a process. I know if I just take a step back, that as she gets older, these can be very positive attributes. Her strong willed-ness can become something that will help her not give in easily, and not just follow the crowd. Her persistence and determination can make her the kind of person that does not give up and tries and tries until she reaches her goal..her argumentativeness can be someone who will challenge something that doesn’t seem right, and her dictator-like behavior can become something that helps her develop leadership and so much more. Again, I am praying the Lord help me cultivate her God given personality in the right way, but still nipping in the bud the negative parts of it….Lord give me wisdom through this journey!!!! I did come across a book that I feel has given me some very tangible techniques to try, and I have been seeing some very positive results. It’s called Parenting the Strong Willed Child. But as you so poignantly stated, at the end of the day, it’s still God who directs my path ultimately…I’ll pray for you sister, and if you remember, pray for me!!!!
    mangiabella recently posted..The Space Between…And Green ChileMy Profile

    • says

      Yes, so much wisdom is needed to raise any child! So thankful we can turn to God for guidance! I have heard of the book you mentioned. I may read it in the future. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

  12. stephanie says

    wow, thank you so much for sharing this!! i have a 2 year old high need toddler. your reasons are exactly my reasons as well. sometimes i feel so strained, not so much now that my daughter sleeps through the night every night (albeit in our bed), but still some days are exhausting. she gets frightened easily by new places, new faces, new routines-people act like there is something wrong with that, like i should have her tested, but i know she is just very observant and cautious and given time and calm explanations she will usually become comfortable. we had a “situation” in church today where someone made a remark about her growing bigger but not any less shy ( hate the word “shy”) and i have felt discouraged. thanks for reminding me not to let others get me down.

    • says

      So glad this post was a blessing to you, Stephanie! I can be very difficult when people make seemingly innocent comments about our children, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your heart!

  13. Gaby says

    I can definetly agree with number 8 lol Thanks for thiss, i really almost cried reading this because for a long time I felt like I was doing a bad job as a mommy. I was being told my Son is bad and It hurt. My son is spirited that is all…i was the same way.

    • says

      Oh Gaby, I’m sorry that people have said hurtful things about your son and made you feel like a bad mom! I’m so glad you found this post to be encouraging. I hope to start up my Parenting a Spirited Child series in the near future and hope it will be a blessing to you!


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