What I Know About ‘That Kid’

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Recently I have read posts about “that kid” one in particular talks about it from the perspective of a teacher that can’t tell you that “that kid” was born with drugs in his system and has been shuffled around foster care, etc.  I want to tell that sometimes that is not the story of “that kid”.

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Sometimes “that kid” was born from a planned and prepared for pregnancy to a typical family.  The mom took prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant, she researched everything she should and should not do while pregnant and followed it to a T! She read the books, bought the best things, switched to chemical-free, fragrance-free, non-toxic cleaners and household products. She and her husband did everything “right”.

They read to their baby, talked to him, did all the “right” things to encourage the development of their precious baby.  It wasn’t enough to alter the fact that this child was born “unlucky”. No matter what the parents did this child would struggle.

This kid cannot always meet the demands placed upon him, not because the demands are not age appropriate, but simply because this child does not yet have the same emotional development as his same aged peers.  He struggles with impulse control.  His emotions are stronger because his body releases more chemicals and hormones that most kids his age.  There is not middle ground with his emotions, even little things can trigger a huge reaction.  It worries his parents so they research more, ask doctors for help.  Read everything they can that might possibly hold the answer to help their struggling child.

This kid doesn’t struggle because he wants to.  He does not have epic meltdowns for attention, believe me, this kid just wants to be like everyone else. Whenever he explodes, he feels like a complete failure, so do his parents.  Most of these kids have given up trying to do the right thing in early elementary school, especially if they are given only punishments instead of support and encouragement. They think they are the “bad kid” or the “stupid kid”.  His parents have to work extra hard trying to figure out how to best help their child, trying to understand exactly what the struggles are, often when the child is too young to be able to explain it himself. They go through evaluations and tests, counselors, therapy, changes in diet, basically anything that might prove helpful.  These kids’emotional development starts of behind other kids their age and develops at a slower rate.  It’s no one’s fault, it’s just a difference.

“That kid” tries so much harder than other kids to do the right thing, to meet the demands that they cannot reach.  They deal with failure so much more than most kids and adults.  If you were able to put yourself in their shoes you would probably applaud them for doing as well as they do.  They have to prove themselves all the time.  They know they are labeled by others so they have to work even harder to overcome that label, then they have a bad day and feel all the progress they made was for nothing.  They want what every other kid wants, to feel loved, respected, and like they matter, isn’t that what we all want?  So, please, the next time you see “that kid” be kind, be empathetic and compassionate.

For more information on helping “that kid” in your life please go to http://www.livesinthebalance.org

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