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Anyone have a spirited toddler?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for others who have read _Raising Your Spirited Child_
If you have how has the book helped you?
I'll be back to talk more about the book & my spirited toddler...
post #2 of 17

Raising your spirited.....My Bible!

Okay, this is my first post on the new boards, hope it's legible.

I just had to respond to your question about the book because I have a daughter, almost six now, who is quite spirited and that book has been a lifesaver for both of us. I haven't used it so much in the last year but from the time she was about 18 mos I pulled it out frequently and reread the sections that seemed to apply to the situation at hand. In fact all these years I have kept it on my headboard because I always needed to know right where it was!

Basically, it taught me what spiritedness is, why it needs to be acknowledged and respected in a child (or adult!) and how to deal with the spirited child in a way that keeps there spirit intact and me sane. Even though my daughter is very different from my son, who was always very laid back and nondemanding as a baby and toddler, it helped me realize that he also has elements of the spirited in him, but on a different place on the spirited spectrum.

For example, bedtime. My daughter hasn't gone to bed easily since she was about 18 mos. She weaned herself at 14 mos, and within a few months had learned how to crawl out of her crib and into our bed. That was okay but just getting her to bed in the evening so we could have a little time with her brother and each other was exhausting. The book helped me learn that some children just don't transition easily, and can take up to an hour to put to bed. I had been struggling to move this process along in what I thought was a reasonable amount of time (based on what had been comfortable for my son) so I could go do other things. The book helped me realize that that wasn't meeting my daughter's needs and in fact was making her feel more anxious because she felt hurried. I came to understand that she was a kid that would require a good hour to get settled in bed and I then was able to plan my evening around that. I would start getting her washed up an hour before I knew we would be saying goodnight and allowing her all the little rituals of getting ready. Over the years the rituals have changed, but they still take an hour and I respect that. I just keep reminding myself that before too many more years she won't need or even want me to "put her to bed" and these years will seem to have flown by.

Let me also say that this is the same child who yesterday morning when she came in to snuggle with us and wish us a Happy Thanksgiving said to me, "I knew you were the best mommy in the world the second I first looked into your eyes, and that was when I was born." WOW! Did that ever make it all worthwhile.

I'd be interested to hear more about your spirited toddler. I bet there's never a dull moment at your house!
post #3 of 17

Stupid question…

OK, this is probably a stupid question, but what exactly is a spirited child? English is not my first language and my translation doesn't really tell me a whole lot. From what I have read so far I think I might have a spirited toddler as well
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka defines a spirited child as *more* ~ they are more intense, persistant, sensitive, perceptive, & uncomfortable with change than other children.
Dr. Sears might call this a High Needs child.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

support group

For those who are interested there is a support group for parents of Spirited Kids who use Attachment Parenting methods, go to:
post #6 of 17


thanks for the info. I tried to find out a little more about spirited children and I guess I do have one! All of the descriptions fit Max perfectly, except that he is pretty good about accepting change. But everything else fits to the point!
I might get that book myself
post #7 of 17
Oh thank you thank you thank you for the support group!!! And yup I have the book, Love the book...I dont think I could have made it to 2 1/2 with my son with out it! Its totallt helped me deal with his (and my!) spiritedness. My Mom read it and she loves it as well, wishes she had it for when I was a child
post #8 of 17
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka has a new book out. "Parents, Kids and Power Struggles". It is excellent. Perhaps some of you would like to check that out as well. In some ways my son is really mellow, but he is a "spirited" child based on his persistence, sensitivity, and difficulty with transitions. We were definately having issues with power trips, and the book was very helpful. It was more about how temperments affect the way people behave (mom and child) rather than a "discipline" book.
post #9 of 17

you know...

my mother always told me that my son (almost 7yrs old now) was (and is) a spirited child. I never read the book, but now that I have read your descriptions, I will go out and get it.
post #10 of 17

another question...

you described how your spirited children had to have a longer time to go to bed. Would this also apply to the adjustment of waking up? My dd1, needs a good 30 min to 'wake up' in the morning or after a nap.

Are spirited children also known as 'sensitive babies'? My dd1 was considered a sensitive baby according to my Dr. Everything set her off when she was a new born. Too much light, too much noise, too much stimulation, etc. She lived in my front carrier for the first 4 months of her live 24/7.

hmmm...makes me wonder. I am really going out and getting that book. Julie, would you say Em is a spirited child by the descirptions of that book?
post #11 of 17
Oh Yes Jenny She definatly strikes me as a spirited child, Look how much her and Evan are alike...I'd definatly recomend getting the book!

And LOL on the wakeing up thing...never thought about it...Evan needs a good hour of quiet time alone in his room to wake up in the mornings!!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I read an authographed copy of _Raising Your Sprited Child_ by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I was delightfully surprised to learn that the author lives in a Minneapolis suburb (in Minnesota) & that she did research for this book through ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education - a program that only exists in Minnesota & has been around for over 25 yrs). I was thrilled to learn that through ECFE there are Raising Your Spirited Child, Positive Parenting Seminars.
I will be attending a seminar title "Intensity - Diffusing Strong Reactions" in Dec & another one called "Persistence - Choosing Your Battles" in Jan.

I recently learned that Mary Sheedy Kurcinka came out with Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook (only costs around $3).

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka has a website:
She makes appearances across the country, I hope to go to at least one of her appearances in Jan (& get her new book autographed).

For those that are interested I came across this info:

Spirited Kids message board:

Spirited child info & support:
post #13 of 17
Hi! I've read the book once when my ds Teagan was 8mths and again recently. He 's 20mths now. He's a persistent extrovert who loves change.... I think I could really use the Power Struggle book. By the way if you can't afford the book, it is in the Laleche reading list and maybe your town public library could order it. It has many helpful tips. In fact maybe I could read it a third time.
post #14 of 17
I just thought I would let you know that I too have a spirited toddler (she was a high need baby first!). She is now 2.5 and we live in the MSP area.

Love the spirited child book. It makes me feel SO much better when I read it.

This is a late reply but I thought I knew your name and that you were also in MSP so I decided to reply anyway.
post #15 of 17

Thanks so much for the resources. I bookmarked them and will go back and look through them. I too have a spirited toddler. We are just starting to hit the tantrum stage. :
post #16 of 17
Never read Raising Your Spirited Child, but did read Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles. I consider it--or something like it--a must read for every parent who puts thought into her or his parenting style. So much information about learning who your child is *and* who you are, and how to work with your different temperments. Also great stuff about alternatives to "discipline."

I liked this book because it goes beyond "spirited children" who are heavy in several different temperament groups, and gives tools to parents with children of many different temperment styles all along the scale. My DS is not exactly spirited, but his temperment does have some spirited aspects! He's also clearly different tempermentally from his parents in several areas. It's amazing how obvious this is, even at 13 months old.

Not in the book, but I've discovered that my son is a night person. Unfortunately, I'm definitely a morning person, and my DH (stay at home dad) is best in the early afternoon. Many of our nighttime struggles come from this fact alone, and have little to do with more traditional temperment issues.

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yet another support group

Parents of Spirited Kids
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