The Fearfully and Wonderfully Wild

The Fearfully and Wonderfully Wild March 23, 2023

Dear mom of the “wild child”, I get it. It’s not easy. Their busy, hyperactive bodies rushing around all the time can be exhausting. You can easily become overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and embarrassment, especially under the weight of social pressure for them to “behave”.

Wild Painter
Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

Let’s talk about the “wild child”! You know the one… the kid constantly moving, the one who won’t be quiet or sit still and has a hard time maintaining eye contact because his mind is two steps ahead at all times. Though this behavior can be overwhelming, being “wild” in itself is not necessarily a bad thing!

Labels and Misconceptions

Often, kids with high energy can be labeled as “mischievous” or “out of control”- even when they’re not doing anything wrong or harmful. In society, mild quiet children are praised, as being “well-behaved”, while we try to condition those who are naturally more energetic to fit the mold. After all, too much wild can lead to chaos! While this is true, and certain situations require order, I think it is often pushed too far. If we’re not careful, we can put unrealistic expectations on young energetic kids, punishing them and making them feel guilty for simply having so much spirit.

Because the outward behavior of these energetic kids can be so prominent, unfortunately, people often fail to see anything more. They make snap judgments and miss out on getting to know the heart of gold that lies underneath or the unmatched brilliance their busy minds hold. The enthusiasm, energy, and confidence these personalities bring to the table are things this world needs. Man, how I wish I could borrow some of it!

The Tension Between Calm and Chaos

wild tension
Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

As a mild-mannered, tranquility-inclined introvert myself, raising a highly-energetic extrovert (who talks at a consistently loud volume, loves attention, and has never met a stranger in his life) is challenging. Thankfully, he gives me endless grace, as we learn together. I tend to seek out calm, quiet environments, which means I have to be careful that I am not projecting that desire onto him. As adults, we often find ourselves intentionally seeking moments of calm, due to the chaotic pace of life. Trust me, as a mom of 3 active children, I get it! However, we can’t expect our children to necessarily feel the same way we do. Our desire for calm is not their responsibility to fulfill.

When I begin to feel overwhelmed with my child’s actions or volume level, I have to ask myself, “Is he actually doing something wrong, or am I just over-stimulated, touched out, stressed, etc.?” It’s easy to blur the lines between wild/loud behavior and misbehavior.

Active or “Out of Control”?

I recognize that sometimes wild behavior can become out of control, leading to disobedience. So, I understand why there’s often a level of uncomfortableness around wild behavior. I absolutely think children should be taught self-control, and that there are certain times when they need to be calm. I’d never condone behavior in my children that’s rude or disrespectful. It’s important to instill respect in children at a young age, but it’s also important that we as adults respect children as the little humans they are, and acknowledge that their bodies and brains are still developing. Part of this is recognizing their need to be wild at times, and knowing that intense behavior in itself is not wrong. 

Sometimes, my son needs to be loud. He may need to run around, jump, and climb on things. At times, he needs to explore his surroundings with his bare hands and feet – even if it means getting “messy”.

These actions are not harmful in themselves, but actually the opposite. As a sensory-seeker, they give him the kind of sensory input he needs to better regulate his body and emotions. These sensory needs vary from child to child, and my son happens to need a high level of input.

wild puddle jumping
Photo by Roopak Ravi on Unsplash

Wildly Different

The wonderful, yet admittedly frustrating, truth is that none of us are created the same. God gave us all distinct behaviors and character traits.  Being highly energetic and enthusiastic is a huge part of who my son is, and I would never want to suppress this in him.  He is intense and gives 100% at everything he does. I have already seen this contribute to his stamina in sports and his ability to make friends easily. I know, if guided, it will continue to be beneficial when he heads into adulthood.

This wild boy of mine took me by surprise coming after my generally calm, soft-spoken firstborn. Parenting is such an interesting journey as we get to know our miniature humans for the amazing, intricately designed creations they are.

The Wild Road Ahead

My youngest, only a year and half, has that same spark in her eye and twinkle in her toes as she seeks out thrill without a fear in the world. I simultaneously cry, “Lord, help me!” as I smile at the the exciting road ahead.

As parents, grandparents, and friends of wild children, let’s:

  • Love them for who they are, without making them feel like they are “too much”
  • Acknowledge and embrace their high energy personalities
  • Guide them in expressing their energy in healthy and positive ways
wild little girl
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Here’s to the wild ones! The ones who don’t fit the mold, but make their own instead. The literal movers and shakers: this world needs you to be who you were created to be!

About Tori Carpenter
Tori is a creative freelance writer and editor with a heart for connecting with others through her writing. She invites you to come along with her on her journey, as she seeks a simple life full of Jesus, family, board games, and endless cups of coffee. You can read more about the author here.

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