Anyone parenting a "Spirited Child"??? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-29-2011, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS2 is almost 17 months and is a "spirited toddler."  He was defiantly a "high needs baby" and I am now finding myself in need of other parents who can relate to my situation and possibly offer some tips and advice.  I'm feeling really beat down emotionally and no one understands...  So I guess I'll just start by asking if there is anyone else out there?


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Old 10-29-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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How do you define "spirited"? DD (will be 2 in December) is definitely spunky and opinionated, but I think that may just be the age. Today we were in a bookstore and she was running around and trying to climb on stuff and the owner said, "Wow. She's really busy." :-0 So do you mean like that or more challenging?

 

 

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Old 10-29-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Oh I'm here! (((hugs)))hug2.gif

 

My 2 year old is spirited, luxlove.gif but I think we're doing well because I am by definition too. In fact, I spent more of the spirited child book going "that's me" then a second thought, and Pumpkin!

 

Dh is having a harder time because...well DS1 and I see the world differently and think differently. Sometimes its not opposition its inability to move past current moment (for us answer what he's saying then he can hear what we're saying.) 

 

I think being spirited is a wonderful thing. They make amazing adults (if I say so myself) but that's only if they survive to adulthood winky.gif. I drove my parents nuts.

 

Is there anything in particular that's driving you batty?


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Old 10-29-2011, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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jennybear: this is a website that defines a "spirited child" IMO its just a nice way of say strong-willed.

 

http://www.thefussybabysite.com/causes/characteristics-of-the-spirited-child/

 

Right now I am just struggling.  In addition to the characteristics that define a "spirited child" my LO is also dealing with food allergies/sensitivities.  I just recently tried adding cheese and yogurt into his diet and it went badly.  So now I have an off the charts "spirited child" who is having crazy temper tantrums and rashes due to the dairy in his diet :(  He has been whining constantly for the last 2 weeks and I'm emotionally on empty.

 

The hard part is that my mommy friends have no idea what I'm going through.  I feel like they think I'm just a complainer or something... I told my best friend the other day "if I knew that I would 100% have another child like DS2 I would not have anymore biological children" :(  She was horrified and basically just admitted that she must not have any idea what I'm going through.  Umm yeah... He has been just really hard from day 1.  He is an amazing little boy and had he been my first child maybe this wouldn't be so hard.  But his is not my first and hopefully not my last so my question is how to make this work for everyone in the family?
 


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Old 10-29-2011, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, I want to add that I was probably a "spirited child" although not to the strength my DS2 is.  Anyways... I feel like I have been beaten and battered down by some people in my life which has really changed me and I want to protect my son from that.  I want him to grow into a good person without having to let go of his strength :/


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Old 10-30-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Yes, I have a spirited child. Though I often think of him (mentally, generally not out loud) as a difficult rahter that spirited child...though the terminology doesn't make much of a difference. He is now 4.

As an infant, he cried a LOT and demanded lots of attention and constant movement. He would *rarely* let me just cuddle with him on my lap. He was (and still is not) a lap baby. He would stiffen his legs and arch he back. I had to be moving with him the first year or so of his life; meaning, I needed to carry him--usually forward facing--and walk around somewhere, or bounce on an excersize ball. Also, he vastly preferred arms only. I got him to tolerate a baby carrier (Ergo, since he had to be up and looking out) since it was exhausting carrying him all the time. He hated the stroller for the most part (but oddly enough, enjoys it now) and loathed the car seat for the longest time. He basically disliked confinement, but at them same time wanted to be carried and around someone at all times. Preferably, me.


He was a terrible sleeper, still isn't great. Strong separation anxiety. Very moody/tempermental and very strong willed. Constant boundary tester. Physical. Very active. Often negative, especially with new things or transitions. Has a very hard time sharing, to this day. Some of this is very normal and age-appropriate. Some is simply his strong temperment.

It is exhausting and tries our patience, parenting skills (or lack thereof) and makes me confront my own personal demons every day.

I realize this is more of a negative post, but I wanted to say I have been there and I am there. He is an AWESOME kid, he is social and often compassionate, smart as a whip. But I have found him challenging to parent.

I know what you mean when you say you want him to grow into a good person without losing his strength of character. For me, it is trying to get him to channel that strength in a positive, constructive way.

I often think those with mellow, easy going happy-go-lucky kids just don't get it.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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Yep, I've got a spirited child who's now 7.

 

As she gets older, her determination is a wonderful thing. When she wants to learn something, she's passionate about it. When she doesn't want to do something, however, that passion is directed into fury. It does get to be tiring. It can also be joyful. We actually had a fine time from ages 4-5, an OK 6, and we've had a rough 7. I'm hoping 8 will even out.

 

It's really important to make sure she gets enough to eat, enough sleep and enough time to connect with her parents. When she gets those, she's a pretty good kid. When she doesn't, we have a rough time of it. She's had too much candy and too little sleep the last couple of days, and we've had rages once a day or so for the last 3 days. Tonight bedtime routine starts at 7 (not 7:45) and she's getting a dose of melatonin before bedtime.

 

 


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Old 10-30-2011, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sagelove View Post

As an infant, he cried a LOT and demanded lots of attention and constant movement. He would *rarely* let me just cuddle with him on my lap. He was (and still is not) a lap baby. He would stiffen his legs and arch he back. I had to be moving with him the first year or so of his life; meaning, I needed to carry him--usually forward facing--and walk around somewhere, or bounce on an excersize ball. Also, he vastly preferred arms only. I got him to tolerate a baby carrier (Ergo, since he had to be up and looking out) since it was exhausting carrying him all the time. He hated the stroller for the most part (but oddly enough, enjoys it now) and loathed the car seat for the longest time. He basically disliked confinement, but at them same time wanted to be carried and around someone at all times. Preferably, me.
 


That sounds exactly like my son when he was an infant.  I thought it was all related to his allergy's/sensitivities to dairy and gluten, but I am now finding the majority of it is just his personality with the dietary sensitivities upsetting escalating the problem.  I am still nursing him and he is an pretty good sleeper.  He rarely sleeps through the night (usually wakens to nurse once or twice) but he goes down easy which is a huge blessing.

 

When he is happy he is so happy, but when he is not - everyone around him suffers.  It's been like that from the day he was born.  The first year of his life was extremely hard especially since DS1 is a happy going child.  I feel like I've grown a lot as a person and as a mom from having to learn how to handle a high-needs baby and toddler.  I guess I will have my work cut out for me throughout the whole parenting journey :/

 

 


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Our baby girl  stork-girl.gif is arriving October 2012!!!

 

 

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Old 10-31-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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Right there with you. :) I have two actually that are spirited. My eldest and my youngest. My  eldest is 10 and has sensory issues, is very impulsive and melts down easily, especially when having to transition or compromise (in other words, live in the real world) My two year ld is a bundle of limitless energy. He is up at six, no nap and up til at least 10 or 11 pm. the result of lacking sleep is serious tantrums, rage, and somehow MORE uncontainable energy. (In fact, i can tell when he is finally getting ready to sleep at night because he will literally begin bouncing off the furniture and walls.) They are on a restricted diet which helps alot. The tughest part is realizing what works for one child wont work for the other. It can be emotionally, mentally and phsically exhausting. But I try to look at the supposed "negative" tendencies in a positive light. Ie: their hyperactivity can be seen as exuberance and healthy energy, mayybe someday they will have a career that will require limitless energy and multi-tasking and they will excell at it. :)

 

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Old 11-01-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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Yep!  My "spirited" child just started full day kindergarten and I am just now taking my first breath of air after 6 years even though I still have a 3 year old at home.  My daughter never slept as a baby and has chattered non stop and had intense behavior ever behavior.  Like others said, the intensity and determination are being channeled more now and it is amazing to see all her many talents blossom.  It really did help me to try to positively reframe the exhausting habits.

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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I have a daughter who is 2 1/2 and a 9 month old son who are fortunately both pretty happy-go-lucky.  I didn't realize just how easy-going they really are until I started watching a good friends daughter two days a week.  She is 9 months older than my daughter and I am coming to realize that she may be a "spirited child".  I'm having a difficult time.  She is a very smart, very thoughtful girl, but she has many moments throughout the day that are challenging.  She can also pitch a pretty nasty fit, something that frankly...I don't want my daughter (or son) to witness or imitate.

 

She is emotionally needy and in constant need of my approval, which is exhausting.  She finds ways to get my attention both positively and negatively, sometimes at the mercy of my children.  She is also very physically active, always moving, dancing, tripping over her own feet, etc. she cannot just sit or read a book without moving her body around. 

 

Her parents are opposite in their parenting style and often conflict over what to do at home.  I agree with mom's parenting style, but lately out of frustration and exhaustion have taken on a tough-love approach which I know is a few degree's stronger in that direction than her moms. Because she is always searching for approval, am I just confusing the poor girl?  Or is this a sense of "the real world"?  I want to help the situation, not make it worse but am at a loss. 

 

I have talked to my friend about some of the difficulties I am having and the concerns I have for my own daughter.  It was a hard call to make.  My friend was completely understanding, but I know it was difficult to hear.  I know she has her own struggles at home and she could not offer much advice.  At the time I spoke with her, I was not familiar with the definition of a "spirited child".  Now that I have done some research, I would love to share it with my friend.  But worry this is something that she may not want to hear and take offense to it.  

 

Any suggestions on how to approach this?

 

Any books or great websites out there that I could read to help myself?

 

Thank you~

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Old 02-22-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Yep, I've got a spirited child who's now 7.

 

As she gets older, her determination is a wonderful thing. When she wants to learn something, she's passionate about it. When she doesn't want to do something, however, that passion is directed into fury. It does get to be tiring. It can also be joyful. We actually had a fine time from ages 4-5, an OK 6, and we've had a rough 7. I'm hoping 8 will even out.

 

It's really important to make sure she gets enough to eat, enough sleep and enough time to connect with her parents. When she gets those, she's a pretty good kid. When she doesn't, we have a rough time of it. She's had too much candy and too little sleep the last couple of days, and we've had rages once a day or so for the last 3 days. Tonight bedtime routine starts at 7 (not 7:45) and she's getting a dose of melatonin before bedtime.

 

 



This. My son is a spirited child but as he gets older, there are a lot more plusses. He can be bossy and stubborn, but he's the kid on the playground who steps in when he sees someone being bullied. When he's faced with a problem he usually thinks of a way to fix it and just goes ahead and does it, so there have been a few times when I came upstairs in the morning and he said "There weren't any clean spoons so I started the dishwasher." or "We're out of apples so I opened a can of peaches for our snack." Sometimes his solution ends up making a mess or something, but usually not.  He's a really capable kid, I don't need to worry too much about him walking somewhere on his own because he wouldn't be easily tricked or intimidated even by a stranger. He's been my most difficult child by far at home, but there are some really big positives to the spirited personality, it's just a long wait!


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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Old 02-22-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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My spirited child is now 9 and while still a very challenging child, it is much easier to see the benefits of how she is. She is mature, I don't worry about her like mammoth mentioned, she is not easily tricked. She has always known what she wants, she either likes something or she doesn't, I often say her world exists only in black and white, she has no shades of grey! Her determination and passion has lead her heavily into sports where she excels. All that energy finally getting out to good use! Today she went snowboarding from 9-3pm with her team and then is at gymnastics right now from 4-6 and she still won't be wiped out tonight. And she LOVES days like today where she just gets to go all out all day long. 


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