Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (
-   Parenting (
-   -   who's got a "spirited" child? (

mama2jonah 07-09-2002 02:58 AM

My son is what some call a spirited child -intense, sensitive, persistent. I could also use some less flattering terms, but I won't. Some days are really wonderful, and others are almost more than I can handle. I'm a very nervous person myself and my son's tantrums and hyperactivity sometimes push me a wee bit past my limit.

Who else is dealing with an extraordinary and challenging child? I could use some support and encouragement.

khrisday 07-09-2002 03:02 AM

2 of them here. O yeah, it's fun- especially when one gets stuck on doing something a certain way and the other gets stuck on doing it the OPPOSITE way

Some days I hear circus music in my head- and that helps it to make a little more sense LOL

oceanbaby 07-09-2002 03:12 AM

Count me in. Ds is 14 months old, and even though he rarely throws full on tantrums or cries, his persistence and iron will, and his nonstop intense activity, really tests my patience, especially by the end of the day. I usually do great until about 4-5pm, and then I am watching the clock until dh gets home at 6:30.

You know how all the parenting books tell you to distract the baby with another item if you need to take something from them for whatever reason? Well, the last time this worked with ds was at about 8 months old. Now not only does he want to grab and thoroughly inspect everything that is either dangerous, dirty, breakable, or needed by me (like the car keys), but there is no distracting him when I need him to give it back to me or get it away from him. If I try to hide something out of his view, he watches my hand and then remembers where I put it. He is incredibly strong, phsyically, too, and really knows how to use his body to get whatever it is he wants.

He is such a happy kid, and so charming and smart, and I really do admire his perseverence and intensity, but never getting a still moment really does drain me sometimes. It has made my dh concerned that "doing the AP thing" is too hard on me, and he is hesitant about having another baby.

The times I handle it best is when I just surrender whatever it is that I'm trying to get done - clean house, cook dinner, shopping, watch tv, whatever - and just give up and get down and play with him. I always forget that it's really our conflicting agendas that is causing the problem, not him. It's him wanting to be a baby, and me trying to do adult things that it causing me to stress. This isn't always practical, but when I can remind myself to do this, even if it's the last thing I feel like doing at the moment, it does help to calm me out, and we usually end up laughing together.

I also try to remind myself what an incredible person he is going to be (already is too!). I think about adults I know who don't have his persistence, his curiousity, his intensity, and how well these qualities will serve him in life. And cliche as it is, I also try to remind myself that this is such a short period in time when I am needed 24/7. Pretty soon his life will no longer revolve around me.

Mamax3 07-09-2002 10:45 AM

I DO, I DO!!!! My 3 year old little girl is VERY spirited!!! Whenever she goes with grandma for the afternoon, I always miss her because she is so full of life that the house is so much quieter when she isn't here. Some days though, she wears me out!!!

joyful_mamma 07-09-2002 11:13 AM

Oh, count me in, too!

My dd is 9, very headstrong, outspoken, and perserverant. (She is the ultimate Aries...) It's an absolute miracle that I haven't gone completely grey by now:

I pretty much knew from day 1 that she was going to be a little handful. In utero she kicked me like mad, almost as if she was saying 'Let me out of here so I can take over the world!!' then as a baby whenenver she cried, I swear people 2 miles away could hear her. Then she progressed into a very curious infant, then an unbelievably headstrong toddler (the terrible twos were..well, let's just say I'm glad I lived through them! ) Then she was a super active, into everything, questioning everything child, and now she's a know it all, I'm going to do everything myself pre-teen!


She absolutely wears me out most days. But I wouldn't trade her for the world. Her fire and spirit, although definitely trying at times, are also so beautiful to see. (I still have days when I'd just like to lock myself in the bathroom, though. lol)

mama2jonah 07-09-2002 01:57 PM

Thanks for sharing mamas! Sometimes I wonder if I'm overlooking a developmental problem in my son. I read about something called sensory integration dysfunction, and my son seems to have all the classic signs. I know many doctors don't think SID is a real disorder, but I know many kids who supposedly have this disorder have been helped to calm down and integrate sensory stimulation better through occupational therapy.

Does anyone know about this disorder or have any experiance dealing with it?

glh 07-09-2002 02:03 PM

My middle child, ds6 is a very spirited child. I'm glad he was not my first because I would have wondered what I had done to make him so emotional and intense. Yet he is also outgoing, charming, curious and full of energy (which at 45 years old really wears me out at times!). I have a feeling that the years to come will be exciting and sometimes scary. Isn't it funny how you can always spot a "spirited" child when you are out in public? My dh and I always give each other a look as if to say "yup, there's another one". I also am a lot less judgmental about other parents and their kids behavior than I used to be when ds18 was growing up. Someone once said to me that people are much more accepting of the different personalities of adults than they are of children. I try to keep this in mind when I feel people are judging us.

Inwe Surion 07-09-2002 02:16 PM

My little dakneps (Passamaquoddy for "full of fire") kicked like crazy in utero, too. I read Dr. Sear's Discipline Book and laughed thru it! It's ok for a child who does what is asked...

I would not trade her for the world or beyond! Being spirited is a very common trait in Indigo children. I am ready for bed when dd (4 in August) goes.

EllasMama 07-09-2002 02:49 PM

Originally posted by Clancysmum
I read Dr. Sear's Discipline Book and laughed thru it! It's ok for a child who does what is asked...
Heehee, that is so true. I love Dr. Sears and think it's a good book overall. I try to use many of the ideas, but it does assume that a) your child doesn't have an iron-clad, by-golly-I-will-not-falter-and-I-will-not fail personality like mine, and b) you can maintain your composure when reminding your child of something time after time after time after time after time after time after time...which I often can't!


mybabybug 07-09-2002 04:33 PM

oceanbaby, do we have the same child or something??? really, you described my 20 month old perfectly!

i love my son dearly, but nothing is ever easy with him.

for example, we tried co-sleeping, but he is too active a sleeper to co-sleep. honestly, the child wouldn't sleep when he was with us. even as a tiny baby he fought to stay awake. finally, at like 18 months, he got to the point where he would go to sleep by himself 80% of the time and wake two times or less 80% of the time and sleep past 5am 50% of the time. then two weeks ago he climbed out of his crib. we had to get him a little toddler bed, and now i am back to rocking to sleep and spending hours trying to get my very overtired and overstimulated, but still very hyper child to sleep...

he is easily the most energetic child i have ever come across. he began walking at about 8.5 months. he almost never stops, although he is finally beginning to be able to focus on activities very intently. also, he is very determined about everything. i, too, have read "the discipline book" several times, but always find that they seem to be writing about some other child--not mine!

i am worn out. and a little sad, too. i never expected it to be this hard....

on the other hand, he is an extremely happy child. he is smart and clever and amazes us with his ability to grasp things. he is affectionate and loving and sensitive to others. one of his slobbery kisses melts my heart...

i know god must have thought a lot of me to bless me with such a unique little person. at least that is what i keep telling myself. LOLOLOLOL

mama2jonah 07-09-2002 06:45 PM

I relate to everything being said here. Do any of you ever think your kid's behavior is just over the top, or maybe caused by food allergies or something? My ds seems to be his normal intense self until he gets some sugar or milk, and then he blows a gasket.

Also, who has read the book Raising your Spirited Child? I was able to relate to almost every bit of it, whereas every other parenting book seemed to be written with somebody else's kid in mind.

lorrielink 07-09-2002 08:21 PM

i think i would have had a meltdown without "raising your spirited child" that woman is soooo great and that book and work book was so helpful

fionn was 8 weeks old when he made it clear to me in no uncertain terms that he was going to be "spirited" from then on (hes three now) he has been more of everything.

more rambuctious, more emotional, more intellegent, more more more then almost every other child ive ever met.

sensitivity is one of his major areas, we have had to be so incredibly picky about what kind of toys he has from when he was 3 months old, so often he gets smart enough to know how to do something but the physical skills were just not developed enough and he was cry and cry and he would not give up.

as for sleeping HAH!

he didnt sleep a full night untill he was two and half! and he still wakes up occasionally, we still take a half an hour everynight to read stories ( and that is after the last half hour to hour of the night slowly dimming lights and lowering noises and calming activites) and then we pat him down and sing for about 10-15 mins -on a GOOD night-
he sleeps about 10 hours a night and stopped taking naps before he was TWO! he never ever slept the apparently "usual" 16 hours a day in his newborn weeks.

when he was a baby/toddler and he would be fussy, people would say "o he must be tired" ,id just laugh and say " my son doesnt get tired, he gets intensified!"

and thats just the tip of the ice berg about my sons "spiritedness"
dont even let me get started on nursing him hehe, (i bf'd till 2 years and 4 months)

but really i know that he will be such an interesting person when hes all grown up and if he had been "normal" i wouldnt have been pushed to become the parent i have and am still struggleing to become. however i do believe that when i have another child im gonna put in for one of those "sleeping,easy going ones"

khrisday 07-09-2002 09:40 PM

Sometimes I wonder if I'm overlooking a developmental problem in my son. I read about something called sensory integration dysfunction, and my son seems to have all the classic signs. I know many doctors don't think SID is a real disorder, but I know many kids who supposedly have this disorder have been helped to calm down and integrate sensory stimulation better through occupational therapy.

Does anyone know about this disorder or have any experiance dealing with it?

both of mine have sensory issues as well. A book called The Out of Sync Child helped me tremendously with that aspect of it. Both of my kids have had sensory based occupational therapy, and if you can find someone in your area who is knowledgeable with this it may help you.

khrisday 07-09-2002 09:42 PM

I am a huge fan or Raising Your Spirited Child

and both of my kids have allergies/immune system issues. Check out this site:

mamapixie 07-09-2002 10:55 PM

Yes, my 6yo is VERY spirited. He was the type of baby that would never sleep, because he was afraid he'd miss something. I was working at a daycare, bringing him with, and the ONLY way to get him to go to sleep would be to put him in his infant carrier, place him in a corner of the room, and let him fall asleep on his own.

He didn't sleep thru the night until he was over 3, and still wakes up quite frequently, and comes into our room(which we DO need to break him of, as much as I hate telling him he can't sleep with us anymore, he is just too big, and with the baby coming any day now, he's not going to want to be in our room anyway)

I love "raising your spirited child" I need to order the workbook though, could never find it in the bookstore. And I had one of "those" days with him today. OMG, I am so ready to sell him to gypsy's. Ever since he woke up this morning he has been testing me. And I admit, he has won. *sigh* Tomorrow WILL be a better day....

Inwe Surion 07-09-2002 11:02 PM

"Raising Your Spirited Child" was good. I also found that NOT giving dd a multiple vitamin helped - too much Vit A produces symptoms of nervousness.

momea 07-10-2002 12:09 AM

Yes! I love this post! My dd is a year and a half and she has always been a do-it-now-and-by-myself kind of gal. Walking (and falling and falling) at 9 months, etc. My husband and I were talking last night about how glad we are though that she's like that. We do a lot of things differently and have learned SOOOO much more than we think we would have if she had been less intense.
We take baby swim "lessons" - basically singing and bobbing around together. The entire 1/2 hour I feel like I'm wrestling a 35 lb. eel or something. She simply thinks she can swim on her own. Pulling down my top so often I think all of the staff would recognize me by my breasts alone, pushing away and shouting "back back", hitting me, going under every five seconds - I look at the other kids and think "why can't you be like them - even just 1/2 the class?" This is so typical of her. But, when I look at the situation with my "right eyes" I see that she's not doing anything to ME, she just wants to swim! She's determined - she can do anything!! Okay, I'm learning. This child will make me grow if it kills me! So I'll grow. And I'm lucky.

mama2jonah 07-10-2002 03:26 AM

Wow! I starting to think that spirited kids are more plentiful in this world than I thought! That makes me feel so much better. Sometimes it's hard not to want to crawl into my shell and isolate myself because I'm so annoyed by people's judjements of my kids.

Krisday, did you get any insurance coverage for the occupational therapy? I want to try it, but it seems so expensive. If it will help, it's worth it though.

Clancysmum, did you find any homeopathic remedies that have helped your dd? Have you tried constitutional therapy? I wonder if that might help my ds.

Julie 07-10-2002 03:51 AM

Oh Im Lucky Im blessed with 2 spirited children...a great combo with my sprited self When I first got the "Raising your spirited child" My Mom Read it first and was telling me how she had wished she had had it when my sister and I were younger. I couldnt imagine not having spirited Children, Everything is so much More.

merpk 07-10-2002 04:19 AM

... by Clancysmum
... I read Dr. Sear's Discipline Book and laughed thru it! It's ok for a child who does what is asked...

Absolutely ...

DS#1 is 4yo and is ... ahem ... very spirited.

I actually read the Sears' book "Parenting the Fussy and High Need Child" when he was two and going into his third year of "energetic two's" (better than "terrible two's," right?) He was born an "energetic two." I found it reassuring but lacking something. "Raising Your Spirited Child" I found to be much more empowering.

The noise level is incredible, isn't it.

DD tries so hard to keep up with him, and even imitates the noise level sometimes but the difference is positively stark.

While folks have suggested supplements or dietary changes to us, I believe a lot of it is hereditary, at least in our case.
I can see so much of the same intensity in DH, and I know that DH was for certain very spirited when he was small, and not from information gleaned from family, but just because he still behaves the same way sometimes. : It was much more frustrating to me (DH's occasional lapses into "spirited child" behavior) before we had DS#1 in our lives ...

Remember, they'll lead the world someday ...

- Amy

Inwe Surion 07-10-2002 08:40 AM

I use homeopathy pretty much exclusively with dd. Calms Forte before bed has helped relax her- she went thru a period of not sleeping. Even teething tabs help.

I have not done a constitutional on her yet (I am a doctoral student of homeopathy btw). Pulsatilla is frequently the comstitutional remedy for spirited children. You may want to give it a try!

khrisday 07-10-2002 12:24 PM

Mosts states have an early intervention program (done by the state school system, Easter Seals or other places), or service organizations like Elks or Masons's who provide these services and speech services for free. In Cali at age 3 the kids can get services through the school, which I know is scarry for some people but we found it very helpful. I would call your local Easter Seals and tell them the gae of your child and that you are trying to find a low/no cost OT program- they should know what's available in your area.

joyful_mamma 07-10-2002 12:34 PM

Ok, this is completely T but I just have to know!

Glh said:

Originally posted by glh
My middle child, ds6 is a very spirited child.
Does 'ds6' mean that your son is the sixth child and since his the middle child, does that mean you have TWELVE????

glh 07-10-2002 01:49 PM

OMG!!! NO, he is six years old and I have three children (ds18, ds6 and dd20 months). My other two children have their moments but they are not what I would call spirited like my six year old. When you have more than one child you really notice the difference. I have a hard enough time keeping up with these three at my age (45), if I had 12 kids I would be ild!!

joyful_mamma 07-10-2002 01:57 PM

Lol, ok *whew!* that makes more sense!

I was thinking, gee if you actually have 12 kids, that's one resiliant uterus you must have!!

Jish 07-10-2002 05:12 PM

My younger, more spirited son is also named Jonah.

BeautifulLife02 05-13-2015 07:46 PM

I know this is a really old thread, but I have just started to read the book about raising a spirited child so I had to chime in. It's actually the same book my mother read about me... :W . Soooo, I absolutely have a spirited child. My firstborn actually. It was quite an introduction to the world of motherhood; let me tell you. Still is actually. She is 3 and has mellowed some, yet when I scored her based on the spirited child "test" in the book she was 41/45. Then I did the one for the parent and I scored 39/45. I guess she really does come by it honestly. I would like it if we got this thread going again. Support is great :grin:

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:22 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 5.26%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.