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Parents of Spirited Children 2011

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

There was a thread about this floating around but it got long and forgotten....So I'm starting a new one! If your child is spirited come here for support.


 

 

post #2 of 14

Bumping this for you.

 

My 5YO is very intense. She fits all the categories in Raising Your Spirited Child except for "energetic"--I think she has a pretty normal energy level for a kindergartner. But, she's very quick to devolve into tears for what seems to others to be the littlest reason. She also throws very bad temper tantrums sometimes. Luckily, these come in phases--she's thrown two in the past week, but before that she hadn't thrown one since the fall. 

 

My biggest problem in dealing with her (and DH's, too, truth be told) is that I'm a sensitive child grown up. So, I find myself reacting to her in ways that protect me, or I find myself lashing out when she has a temper tantrum and just joining in the screaming. Not healthy...

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the bump!

 

DS1 has each and every one of the attributes. Even the "serious baby" comment was him.

 

I also react to him in "negative" ways. I yell and whatnot.

 

I have NO idea how to deal with him. It doesn't help that he's not really verbal yet. I know that plays into his frustration (and mine) but I don't know what to do about it except just get through it. Ugh.

post #4 of 14

He's probably reacting, also, to his little brother joining the family--and I can't imagine you have a lot of energy to deal with it. My DDs are further apart in age than your boys, but I still noticed a definite increase in "spirited child" behavior right before and right after the baby was born. 

 

I hear you about the pre-verbal thing. That was a really tough age. Have you tried doing sign language with him, at least for the most important things? Even with non-spirited children, that gap between what they understand and what they can communicate makes for a very frustrating year or so for everyone

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

He signs quite a bit....and all of it important things (milk, water, potty, eat, etc...) He's high energy to top it off so THAT'S a huge issue. I can't always play with him and he won't just go outside and play by himself. I'll have to post more later as I have a hungry baby about to lose his mind!


 

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

does anyone have tips on disciplining a spirited toddler?


 

post #7 of 14

Ooh, great thread! I'm definitely with you: my 5yo ds is a classic Spirited Child (and then some), plus probably ADD, anxiety, extremely gifted...the whole 9 yards. Yes, I'm tired redface.gif.

 

As for disciplining a spirited toddler, I'd say for me this mostly involved avoiding triggers: working on transitions by giving plenty of warning; making sure he was well fed, rested (we developed an extremely strict bedtime routine, which we still have, and which he clearly likes despite his occasional rebellion); and just keeping him out of situations that often resulted in outbreaks of, um, spiritedness. There were still many fights, over some nonnegotiables (like getting into carseat), and I still yell a lot etc. The impulsive aggression--pushing, hitting etc--which he still struggles with, is a huge trigger for me, and it's a LOT better than it was back then.

 

So mostly...hang in there. He's still very little, and IMO you can't truly "discipline" a kid that young. Just keep at it and things will eventually improve--4yo was a HUGE improvement for us, and so far 5yo has also been great. So there's hope!

post #8 of 14

I have a spirited 5 year old DD. She has more energy that 3 children put together. I've found that the best thing that I can do for her, and the rest of my family, is to take care of myself well enough so that I can be patient with her. I'm so much more likely to yell when I haven't had the rest that I need. So I do whatever I need to do to get it, whether that means hiring a babysitter or handing the kids off to dh.

 

One thing that I keep in mind is that these "spirited" children can grow up to be wonderful, charismatic adults. I'm pretty sure that a lot of the great leaders in the world were once spirited children.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie12 View Post

One thing that I keep in mind is that these "spirited" children can grow up to be wonderful, charismatic adults. I'm pretty sure that a lot of the great leaders in the world were once spirited children.



This is something I have to tell myself daily. I wrote a letter to him on my blog recently and in it I said something about it. I know that his strong emotional side will be a strong point when he's an adult (if we don't quell it he won't end up like me: afraid to show emotion)

post #10 of 14
My ds is almost 9. He's spirited and gifted, what a combo! Between bouncing off the walls, arguing about every little thing, sneaking every time I turn around and becoming hysterical because something didn't go his way I'm exhausted. He's homeschooled so I don't get much of a break. I've got a whole library of books on spirited children. I have to be more strict with him that I care to be and I have to really pay attention.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonStarFalling View Post

My ds is almost 9. He's spirited and gifted, what a combo! Between bouncing off the walls, arguing about every little thing, sneaking every time I turn around and becoming hysterical because something didn't go his way I'm exhausted. He's homeschooled so I don't get much of a break. I've got a whole library of books on spirited children. I have to be more strict with him that I care to be and I have to really pay attention.


Me too! My DS is 7.5 years old. I'm finding that gentle discipline/consensual living/unconditional parenting ideals aren't working. He doesn't just need a boundary, he needs a concrete wall! Or he will steamroller right over anything he perceives to be even slightly permeable. It's exhausting and I have to be much more strict than comes naturally to me. Two behaviors we're concentrating on this week: waiting for your turn in conversation, and following the grown-ups instructions. Lack of both of these is causing him trouble at school and in his social relationships.

 

post #12 of 14

I can SO relate to the bolded statement! My ds is turning 5 in May and he completely exhausts me, everyday. He does. not. listen, it seems, unless I raise my voice practically to a screaming level. :-( There has been quite a bit of screaming going on here lately, and I am just at my wit's end...I was a little disheartened to read what you typed about GD not working....sometimes I feel like I just suck at it, but I keep going back to it as a primary goal in my parenting because I want to treat him how I want to be treated, and instill all those lovely qualities in him such as empathy, kindness, consideration, proper anger management(ha!), among others. Most days I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, and I sometimes wonder if I haven't already caused him some type of deep-seated emotional turmoil. :-( I believe very much in gentle discipline, but man he really brings out the worst in me sometimes.

I'm currently reading "Love and Anger: the Parental Dilemma" by Nancy Salamin. Great read, and I've read several things that have really resonated with me. I don't know if it's a "cure-all" for our situation though. I'm so frustrated. :-( I also want to check out Scream-free Parenting and perhaps read The Secret of Parenting again. I read it when he was two I think, so I don't really remember it now. From what I gather it's a bit more strict as far as GD books go.

I'd love to keep this thread going, commiseration with other mamas makes me feel at least somewhat better. :-) It's good to know I'm not alone in these daily battles...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by isisreturning View Post




Me too! My DS is 7.5 years old. I'm finding that gentle discipline/consensual living/unconditional parenting ideals aren't working. He doesn't just need a boundary, he needs a concrete wall! Or he will steamroller right over anything he perceives to be even slightly permeable. It's exhausting and I have to be much more strict than comes naturally to me. Two behaviors we're concentrating on this week: waiting for your turn in conversation, and following the grown-ups instructions. Lack of both of these is causing him trouble at school and in his social relationships.

 


 

 

post #13 of 14
A concrete wall, yes, you hit the nail on the head there. I've also found that a lot of the GD parenting tactics don't work with DS. We have both taken the positive discipline class, it is a great class. I have to laugh at some books and articles, even books for strong willed children.
post #14 of 14

Hey everyone, just realized there were additional posts to this thread. It's been a lot of months and I wanted to share my reflections. I feel a lot more comfortable in the realization that every kid is unique and deserves their own tailored parenting approach. I *want* to parent in a GD/UP/CL style, and happily that is a good fit for my DD.

 

But it's not a good fit for DS. This doesn't mean I should be a raging jerk to him - not by any stretch - but I'm finding that he responds better to firm direction, firm commands, and firm consequences. Even though it icks me out and is NOT.AT.ALL how I would like to be treated, it seems to be what he needs. 

 

I think there's probably many, many ways to lovingly and helpfully parent a child - and they might seem very different from each other - and the challenge is to find that way that works best for you and each particular child.

 

Wishing all of us luck and support as we carry on parenting our spirited and not-as-spirited (or perhaps challenging-in-other-ways) children, 

 

Isis

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