Spirited Child ~ Putting A Name To It

So, I did a quick post the other day about our spirited child and I have continued my investigation of this and am SO COMPLETELY…


…to read books that describe our 4-year-old son’s temperament and the strain a “highly spirited child” can put on a family. The thing I am focusing on now is the fact that I have found “a name” for what is going on within our son, and our family, which therefore means I can move forward with finding ways to help all of us “cope” with everyday life.

So, what are some things that help describe life? Here are just a few (taken from Raising Your Spirited Child)…

– The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is more. They are normal children who are more intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with change than other children.

– It’s difficult to describe what it is like to be the parent of a spirited child. The answer keeps changing; it depends on the day, even the moment.

– Figuring out when they will sleep or eat is a daily puzzle for parents of spirited children who are irregular. It seems impossible to get them onto any kind of schedule.

Here is a list of words: demanding, stubborn, noisy, nosy, loud, whiny, easily frustrated, wild, disruptive, self-critical, manipulative, argumentative, never stops, unpredictable, angry, aggressive, explosive, picky, single-minded, easily bored, obnoxious, up/down extreme.

Here is that same list of words looked at from a better perspective: holds high standards, flexible, a creative problem solver, enthusiastic and zestful, opinionated, strongly committed to one’s goals, assertive, a willingness to persist in the face of obstacles, curious, energetic, tenderhearted, traditional, charismatic, compelling, cautious, dramatic, selective, analytical and perceptive.

I am reading three books related to this:

The Difficult Child by Stanley Turkcki, MD
Raising Your Spiritied Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Living with the Active Alert Child by Linda S. Budd, PhD

Each has a little bit different “twist” to understanding our son and each gives different suggestions for going about helping him, and our family, work through his extremely intense personality. So far I REALLY APPRECIATE the way each of the authors is not out to “put down” these children – but to help the parents understand and “lift them up” to be all the Lord has created them to be (none of them are “religious” that wording was my own). For instance, did you notice the difference in “attitude” between the two lists of words shared above?

Currently I am looking forward to doing the “child assessment” provided in The Difficult Child so we can see better where each trait comes through and work with it overall instead of just at each moment it occurs.

WE LOVE OUR SON so very much – he is an amazing gift from the Lord…but he also stretches each of us in ways we never imagined. Highly spirited kids have EXCELLENT, WONDERFUL, AMAZING gifts that are just as overwhelming and intense…such as intellect, creativity and caring for others. So, I don’t want anyone reading this to think “it is all bad” – it isn’t – it’s just figuring out how to work with the amazingly intense temperament the Lord gave him.

One thing I am still trying to figure out is how to “deal with” people who HAVE NO CLUE and assume, even after I’ve shared he’s a “highly spirited child”, that he is “just like every other kid with a lot of energy” and that we are bad parents that have no clue how to “discipline” him or “get him to do what we want”. Let me just clear this up now – with highly spirited children (once referred to as “difficult children” [I personally LOVE the name change]) there is NO MAKING them do ANYTHING, EVER.

I feel I have a lot of people judging me right now, believing I am a “bad mother” and it has taken finding these resources to help me understand that isn’t true AT ALL. AND that my need to “escape” in ways I’ve chosen to are a way that I have been trying to keep my sanity. I’m not saying it is correct, but I am saying I’ve done the best I can. And now that I have an understanding of what is going on, I pray the Lord will help me and my family to move forward and figure out some changes that will bring relief to all of us. And to help us all lift each other up for the glory of the Lord. And, with regards to being judged, I am going to give that to the Lord as well…HE knows what we are dealing with and HE will hold me tight and love me, even when everyone else doesn’t.

Mainly, at this moment, I want to ENCOURAGE other parents of children who are (as it says on the cover of Raising Your Spirited Childmore intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic that you (we) are NOT ALONE and  there are resources out there to help us understand, and guide, our child(ren) and families.

I am excited about this journey. They say journaling is a good thing for the mother of a spirited child so I plan to share my journey with you here. I pray what I find and share will be helpful for others as well.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!



2 thoughts on “Spirited Child ~ Putting A Name To It

  1. Betty May 29, 2012 at 6:25 am Reply

    Thank you for this post. I am also raising a highly spirited child. He’s 9 and definitely keeps you on your toes. But he’s the one that most people now love despite his high spiritedness. He’s the first one to hug the older members at church and he is so charismatic, they all tell me how much they love him. His 6 year old brother seems to be following in his footsteps. It’s nice to know I am not alone. 🙂


    • Dawn May 29, 2012 at 9:09 am Reply

      Betty – you are SO RIGHT…it IS nice to know we are not alone! {{hugs}} and thank you for your encouragement for how things can be when they get older. *grin*


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