Difficult Child: A Case Study

June 11, 2016
How do people become who they are? Do they inherit their characters from their parents and/or other ancestors or does how they are treated reflect who they become?

When my son was small, I found out about the “difficult child” concept and people who specialized in coaching parents on how to treat a child who would be classified as “difficult”. (Now these children are referred to as “spirited’; a much better term as far as I am concerned.)

It made me reflect on the idea that maybe we become “difficult” when we are continually mistreated as children.

The following poem includes autobiographical facts connected to my own childhood:

Zygote Magazine
Fall 1993
Difficult Child: A Case Study
by Tanya Lester

A difficult child’s temperament might include:
1.High Activity Level-…gets wild or revved up…*
After you tried to choke me, they say I went wild.

2.Distractibility – doesn’t listen; tunes you out*
Floating up in the clouds, looking down at myself, it was
safe and I couldn’t hear you tell me I was no good.

3.High Intensity-…can be heard above the rest.*
When you grabbed me between my legs, I yelled, “STOP”.

4. Irregularity/unpredictable- … wakes up at night; has
good or bad days for no obvious reason…*
At night, the spruce trees outside my bedroom window were
ferocious giants. In the day, the big people were the giants;
sometimes good, often bad.

5. Negative Persistence- stubborn; goes on and on nagging…*
I can’t. I’m scared. Please don’t make me.
I can’t. I’m scared. Please don’t make me.
I can’t. I’m scared. Please don’t make me.

6. Low Sensory Threshold — highly aware of…sound..bothered
and overstimulated by noisy settings…*
Please don’t yell. You’re always yelling. Stop. I can’t take it.
If I was dead, I would no longer hear you yelling. I never asked
to be born.

7. Initial Withdrawal — shy and reserved with new people…*
If I’m quiet and stay in this corner, no one will know I’m
here and I won’t get hurt.

8. Poor Adaptability- inflexible…does not handle surprises well…*
Don’t put your hands down my pants.
Don’t put your hands down my pants.
Don’t put your hands down my pants.

9. Negative Mood – basically serious or cranky; doesn’t show
pleasure openly*

Note: Lines ending with an * are excerpts from Bev Rickey, BA’s

Understanding, Living With and Working with Difficult Children.. A Practical Guide


To read more posts on Tanya’s blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya is a psychic counsellor and housesitter. For more information on both, go to her website: teareading.wordpress.com; her pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google; or contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call 250-538-0086




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