Does your kid never eat or sleep but seems to live off your energy instead? Is your kid out of control, but you don’t have the energy to do anything about it? It may be that your child has Hyperactive Deficiency. In Chinese Medicine this disorder can lead to behavior problems, frequent illnesses, and challenges in maintaining boundaries with a child but, also the necessity to do so - for the sake of healing. The good news is, acupuncture can help your child heal from this disorder and help you get your energy and control back!
What does Hyperactive Deficiency look like?
A child expressing Hyperactive Deficiency usually has lots of energy, frequent illnesses, poor digestion, and doesn’t eat much. He may also resist going to sleep. He is clever and can usually figure out how to get what he wants, even if he has already been told “no”. To him “no” means “maybe”. He may be hypersensitive or nervous but he may also be coy. He may have been a very sick baby that needed lots of attention and may still crave that level of attention, acting out to ensure he gets it.
Meanwhile, his drained parents cave to the child’s demands because they have no energy left to enforce clear boundaries. This could also lead to relationship problems between the parents. If one parent is a primary caregiver and the other is away from the family for several hours during the day, the one who is away more often may not understand why the exhausted primary caregiver submits to the "unreasonable” or “silly” demands of the child.
What to do about it
If you relate to the picture I just drew, you may not like what I’m going to say next, but if you gather your strength and courage, and do your very best as a parent, you will be helping your child, and your family, to heal. The most important thing you can do for your child is to set clear boundaries and enforce them.
You also need to make sure you’re setting boundaries with your own energy. When you lose your temper or bend to the will of the child, you give your energy away. You need to remain calm and grounded. Have you noticed your child gets more energy when you get worked up and meanwhile you’re left depleted and drained? Remaining relaxed will help you save energy and demonstrate to your child what you expect of him.
According to Stephanie K. Glassman, Psy.D., boundaries “begin to form in infancy through family and environmental interactions…We learn about our boundaries by the way we are treated as children, and then we teach others where our boundaries are by the way we let them treat us.” Children with unclear boundaries are more likely to give in to peer pressure or be treated inappropriately by another person. Conversely, children with unclear boundaries are also at risk of becoming the type of adult who lacks respect or takes advantage of others.
How to create boundaries
I cannot tell you how to create boundaries for your kid. First, no one knows your kid better than you. Second, I have never had the opportunity to create boundaries as a parent. My best suggestion: Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no". I am very interested in the work of Marcy Axness. Her book, Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, might be a good resource. I also loved the book Bringing Up Bebe in which an American mother, Pamela Druckerman, learns first-hand the French approach to the raising of children. I appreciated the French concept of giving children extreme freedom within well-defined boundaries.
What will happen next?
The next thing that will happen is that your child will freak out. I don’t want to scare you, but I think you already know this will be the case. Your child is used to thriving on your energy and getting his way. He may be shocked to find he is being asked to create his own energy (from food and sleep) and is no longer in control.
Your child will be more calm and relaxed
Soon, however, he will feel more calm and secure when he knows you are in control, where the boundaries are, and that food does provide the energy he needs. Boundaries set by parents and caregivers are vital to helping a child with Hyperactive Deficiency. Once caregivers are committed to enforcing boundaries, a pediatric acupuncturist can help the child heal from Hyperactive Deficiency. This includes regulating digestion, balancing emotions, and improving sleep.
Caregivers need treatment too
“Treat the mother to treat the child…” is a concept in Chinese Medicine. You can support your child by building your energy as well. If you, or another of your child’s caregivers, feel emotionally or physically depleted (which may show up as exhaustion, irritability, or impatience), acupuncture can help you recover from the exhaustion and overwhelm and find the balance and strength needed to provide boundaries for your child and healing for your family.