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Top ten lists are fun. (Thank you David Letterman). I wanted to synthesize a bunch of thoughts about 2e children (actually in many cases, these apply to 2e adults too), and hope that I am providing thought-provoking ideas to reflect upon. When you read this top ten list of considerations, ask yourself “Why” is this a consideration? “How” does this happen for the 2e child? “What” can I do to address this?

These ideas are here to provide a framework of understanding in an effort to level the playing field for our 2e kids. So often responses and reactions are based on misinformation, faulty assumptions and a deep-seeded need to fix. 2e folks are complex and knee jerk responses to the way they present in the world only serve to fuel their frustration and yours. Keeping these considerations in mind is like remembering to take a deep cleansing breath before addressing something challenging but worthwhile.

  1. The child in front of you wants to please but doesn’t know how.
  2. The child in front of you feels misunderstood most of the time.
  3. The child in front of you has something he wants to say.
  4. The child in front of you wishes he had (more) friends.
  5. The child in front of you wishes something in his life could stop for just one minute (sensory, emotional, fear, confusion, frustration, movement).
  6. The child in front of you knows a lot about something.
  7. The child in front of you would love some time to process and a chance to think. This may mean letting him say a lot of stuff before he gets to the point.
  8. The child in front of you knows exactly what you think of him.
  9. The child in front of you will change your life for the better if you let him.
  10. Be curious about the child in front of you – to really understand his experience, you’ve got to ask a lot of questions.

As you move through life and witness challenges and the jarring effects of transitions on your child, remember these considerations and use them to advocate for non-formulaic responses to your child’s behavior. Above all, remember to see, hear, celebrate and fan the sparks of joy.