How to Raise an Intense Child

Do you have a child that is more—more loud, more energetic, more argumentative, more everything? Intense children can be harder to raise, but their intensity is a gift as well as a parenting challenge. We talk with Howard Glasser, creator of the Nurtured Heart Approach to parenting. He is the author of Transforming the Difficult Child and Transforming the Intense Child Workbook.


In this episode, we cover:

  • What do you consider to be an intense child? My child was “more”—more loud, more energy—their reaction to most things was simply more. They go from 5 mph to 60mph in about a second. How to raise the intense child.
  • What are the labels and diagnoses that intense children often accumulate? ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), conduct disorder, PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression.
  • What makes some kids more “intense” than others? 
  • What do you mean by energy-challenged kids? Unable to handle or effectively control their physical, cognitive or emotional energy. They have a disorder of self-control. They have more energy than they have self-control.
  • Energy is a gift as well as a challenge.
  • You mention in Transforming the Difficult Child that many intense or difficult kids love video games—more so than the average child. Why? 
  • Structure-while I think all children need structure, the high intensity child really needs structure. Positive forms of structure vs. negative forms of structure
  • Traditional parenting techniques did not work well for my intense little wonder. Your approach to raising an intense child is based on your Nurturing Heart Approach as outlined in your book, Transforming the Difficult Child and Transforming the Intense Child Workbook. What are the basic principles of this approach to parenting? The 3 strands.
  • Strand 1: Refuse to energize the negative. What are some of the challenges parents face when applying this? What are some common ways we might accidentally energize the negative?
  • Strand 2: Energize the positive. active recognition, experiential recognition, proactive recognition, creative recognition.
  • Is there a problem with too much praise?
  • Strand 3: Absolute clarity on limits and consequences. How to set limits?
  • Intensity is not something that a person outgrows.

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: RODNAE Productions