I only know the parenting life with a differently wired child so I fully admit that I may be biased with what I am about to say. But I think more than any other child, a differently wired child needs a cozy life. All children will benefit from one. But a differently wired child needs one. Why is this? I think there are a number of reasons.
What Do Differently Wired Children Need?
One, differently wired children need peace. They need some level of order and structure because they generally thrive on routines that fit their specific wiring. They need a restful home environment because the world is a complicated and sometimes hostile place for them. Sensory input can be overwhelming. The demands of social interactions are draining and sometimes confusing. These children need a place of peace where they know they can safely land.
Two, differently wired children need understanding. They are complex individuals and they need people who understand them inside and out as much as possible. Understanding includes people who love them, accept them, and assist them in successfully navigating the world. Ideally, they find this understanding in their loved ones with whom they live.
Three, differently wired children need joy. In many ways, it is stressful being a differently wired child. Simply functioning in society can take a toll. There is time spent navigating feelings and demands and appointments. All of the extra “stuff” that they need to function normally in life can suck the joy of childhood out of a differently wired child. These children need their parents to do whatever they can to help them find joy in a complicated and sometimes bewildering world.
Simplifying Life for a Differently Wired Child
One of the decisions we made very early on when we realized that Caroline was not like other babies (but didn’t fully understand the extent of it yet) was to simplify our life as much as possible. We made many decisions that people did not understand, but we knew deep in our soul that was what she needed. It didn’t matter what we might have preferred. She was our child and had specific needs. It was up to us to adjust to her.
That isn’t to say it has been easy. It hasn’t always been easy and I would be lying if I said I didn’t mourn some of the things we’ve lost or had to give up for her sake.
But I would make the same choices all over again. In fact, I would make even more choices to simplify our cozy life knowing what I know now.
Why would I make the same choices? Because she’s a peaceful and happy girl now. Not perfectly so, but overwhelmingly so – especially for a tween. It took everything we had to get her to this point, but we have been able to give her the gifts of peace and understanding which I believe I can see developing into real joy.
It took a long time to get to the joy part both for us and for her. It was a lot of work. Sometimes the cozy life is not easy to achieve. Sometimes it is a tremendous amount of work to create a cozy life with a differently wired child.
But it is so worth it.
Now as we are full into the tween years and look ahead to the teen and college years, I’m asking myself what we need to do to give her more freedom and opportunities, yet also maintain a cozy home full of peace, understanding, and joy. I don’t have all the answers yet and I won’t pretend to.
I can say that my commitment to her well-being hasn’t wavered and we’ll continue to make sacrifices to make sure she gets the best start in life we can give her. She’s worked hard to get to this point and she can see how there is a wholeness developing to her life that she didn’t feel before. I am thrilled to see the joy that brings out in her.
So we’ll continue to work in that direction because I believe with everything in me that a differently wired child truly needs a cozy life in order to be who she or he was created to be.
Please download a copy below of “Why Differently-Wired Children Need a Simple Life.” If you haven’t downloaded and completed my free mini-course entitled Creating a Cozy Life – Getting Started, I highly recommend you do. This activity will make so much more sense with it already completed. Just complete the form below for your free copy of both – plus much more!
Does this necessarily apply to an extroverted 2e child? My daughter is almost 5, just for reference. We are struggling to thrive with her unique wiring. (This is quite an understatement, btw.). Any advivr?
That’s a great question and I hope some more parents with extroverted 2e kids will weigh in.
I think it probably depends on what their exceptionalities are. If they have sensory issues, for example, then they will still need a place where they can escape after being out in their extroverted world that might have energized them with people but exhausted them in terms of sensory overload.
A child can be extroverted but if he/she is 2e and struggles with relationships in the “real” world, then home can be a comfortable place to unwind from all that.
Extroverts need interaction to feel alive, but their 2e issues could easily make it more complicated if they don’t know how to compensate for them in the “real” world. Home is the place to make sense of all that with people who understand them.
The “joy” part that I write about comes from the deep joy of being understood by those who offer you peace and understanding. I think that applies to any 2e kid whether she is an introvert or an extrovert.
What are your thoughts?
I also realized that I should link to my original cozy life post and my cozy homeschooling post in this one. I think this post about differently-wired children would make more sense with those as background.
This one is the foundation of this series:
This one is about homeschooling:
Thank you for your insight. It is our belief that she may have a form of adhd and obsessive compulsive disorder. She’s wicked intelligent, but immature for her age. Her inpulse control is another issue. In other ways my daughter is a lot like me: we love being with other people, being silly, and talking, but after a while we both start to say, “We to stay home today…and maybe tomorrow.” We just pull back and need a quiet day at home. She loves to meet new people and do new things, but reading and creativity need their time, too.
I must have missed this comment! It will be interesting for you to see her develop as an individual over the next few years. When Caroline was little (under three), I was sure she was an extrovert because she constantly wanted interaction with us to the point it absolutely drained us.
She’s actually turned out to be quite introverted. She enjoys interacting with people and having fun, but when she’s done… She’s done. She’s ready to retreat to her room. I’m the same way so she comes by it honestly.
Have a good day!
To say I feel as if I am reading about my own daughter and myself is a complete understatement. AND this is the first post read after reading the “getting started” post.
I am currently in the process of pulling my 8 year old daughter from public school. School has been a trying time for her (and myself). In the younger grades (she is currently in grade 3) her love of learning and the amount of free time to do art helped her overcome her sensitive nature at school. Now, however, the stress is too much and I can’t continue to force her to go. Her loving and artsy nature is being replaced by a fearful kid. It’s heartbreaking to see. As her mother, I must do something.
I am excited to continue reading your blog. I feel encouragement to finally start my own. I have wanted to for years but could never decide what specifically to write about. I have so many things on my mind. Thank you!
Welcome! I’m so glad you found your way here. I hope you find lots of encouragement. Feel free to leave comments any time. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people in the comments.
I’m so glad you are able to pull your artsy daughter out of school and homeschool her. I know that isn’t always possible, but it sounds like it is best for your daughter (and you!).
My husband, David, is a graphic and web designer and always knew he was going to be an artist (or architect). Caroline is like him in that she’s simply very art focused. He’s remarked that she is so far ahead of where he was at the same age. I think a big reason for this is simply how much time she has to focus on her art skills and interests. We’ve also opted to spend more money on art supplies and very little on homeschool curriculum since that is where her gifts seem to be.
I’ve got a series about parenting and homeschooling an artistic child bouncing around on paper and in my head. I need to write that up, especially since I think these kids really do benefit from a different kind of homeschooling approach.
Did you see my post about deschooling the homeschool mom? You might enjoy it. If deschooling is tough for new homeschool moms, I think having an artsy child adds another dimension to it.
Looking forward to hopefully getting to know you a bit and hearing more about how it goes with your daughter!