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Dealing With Intense Kids

When a little isn't enough.

Do you have an intense child? Some kids are just more intense than others. I've heard many examples of intense kids. For some, the child sleeps less than most kids or even the parents, or maybe stops needing naps at a young age. The child may be more emotionally intense, or show heightened empathy and sensitivity. Other intense kids are highly talkative, why some are shy. An intense kid may be passionate and highly focused on those passions, or they may be a perfectionist to a fault. Most intense kids exhibit several of these tendencies, but a few only possess one or two.

I have one intense kid. He is my second born and I'll be honest, when he was born I figured it would be a breeze. I'd already been through it all with his older brother. Yet, unlike his brother, he didn't sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. As soon as we got him to sleep through, he no longer needed naps. He could be up, awake and active (highly so) for 14 hours before finally dropping off to sleep for the night. No crankiness, no tiredness, he just didn't need a nap anymore.


As he got older he showed other signs of intensity. He could focus on a single task for hours, until he got it just right, unlike the other toddlers in his playgroups. In fact, he lost patience with his age peers and would usually gravitate to the older kids. His fine motor skills were highly developed at an age when most kids are mastering basic walking. He could follow the diagrams in a Lego manual and manipulate the blocks with ease by the age of three.


At seven, his intensity is focused on space science and electronics. He's building his own toy cars from parts he purchases at Radio Shack and he can name and draw all 88 constellations. He can find those visible in our area in the sky, as well. Oh, and he talks! He has a million questions and a million answers. After he masters something, he quizzes everyone present to make sure they get it, too. He also assumes everyone knows as much about his chosen subjects as he does, and becomes frustrated when we adults just don't understand.


I really have very little advice about raising an intense child. It's hard, it's tiring, and sometimes it's a bit stressful. Yet, it's also highly exciting and rewarding. When he's in his element, such as discussing the best resistor to complete the circuit in his working toy motorboat with the Radio Shack guy, it's amazing to see. Or when he is teaching adults five times his age how to use a telescope and giving them a tour of the night sky, it's hard not to feel proud of him. All you can really do is love the kid and try to keep up!