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Living with the Active Alert Child
by Linda Budd, Ph.D.
Linda Budd

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Feature story:
Budd's Research with Passionate, Intense Children Provides Strategies and Reassurance for Parents

Identifying the Active Alert Child

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Feature Story
Budd's Research with Passionate, Intense Children Provides Strategies and Reassurance for Parents

Does your child have more energy, more creativity and more intensity than anyone you've ever known? Is she sensitive to every injustice? Is he suffering from low self-esteem? Do you feel as if you've been struggling to keep up since Day One?

Then you need Linda Budd's Living with the Active Alert: Groundbreaking Strategies for Parents. Now revised and expanded to include teenagers, the third edition of this popular book will help parents understand what motivates these bright, capable—and exhausting—children. Dr. Budd's case histories and anecdotes also give parents strategies for surviving their children's youth and provide reassurance.

Whether you're scrapping with a second grader who insists that homework is busy work or overwhelmed by a teenager determined to single-handedly right every social wrong, you'll appreciate the perspective that Dr. Budd provides after almost three decades of work with these special children.

"These kids are often not well adjusted socially," she points out. "The extraverted ones don't pick up on boundaries and they blurt out comments that may be truthful–but simply aren't appropriate."

Moreover, the "active alert" children know they are different and that impacts their sense of self-esteem.

"They are intense and they can't understand why others aren't intense, too," Dr. Budd notes.

Because they can imagine worst-case scenarios better than almost anyone else, these children sometimes become obsessive about anticipating or avoiding problems, she adds.

The "active alert" is also often perceived as a rebel. These are the kids who think "outside the box," who question what's fair, who are willing to challenge teachers and other adults in positions of authority.

"What they don't understand is that they will never win with a teacher," says Dr. Budd, "because the teacher has the political clout."

Sound like your child? Then you'll be glad to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Dr. Budd, who has stayed in touch with most of the children profiled in her original book, believes things get easier when "active alerts" go to college. And as adults, she exclaims, "They're wonderful!"

Because they are so sensitive, many "active alerts" struggle through youth, especially if faced with such challenges as divorce, abuse and too frequent moves. Even as adults they will have difficulty with transitions and in their social lives, she says.

"But these are the kids who grow up to start companies, who do wonderful things for society," the author goes on. "Some I would call hyper-focused. They take an idea and make it happen."


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