Advice for the mom of a spirited child - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-16-2005, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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My 2yo has a friend of the same age, who is very opposite in mannerisms.- I would like some thoughts on having two children of such differing temperments playing together. The other girl's mom and I have been friends since we met in the childbirth classes. Her dd is very quiet, shy and doesn't really say much to stick up for herself. My dd, on the other hand is very spirited, boisterous, and is constantly trying to engage this girl into some more active type of play. I always seem to feel bad after play dates, because I feel like I am constantly trying to make sure that my daughter's actions are not going to hurt this girls feelings. I do want to say, in my daughter's favor, she has played with other kids without these problems. I think that part of the problem that the other child is extremely reserved. But of course, our society seems to like "good, sweet, quiet" children. I want my dd to learn how to channel her energy, and make it work for her when it comes to making friends and playing.

Somehow, I am worried that constantly interfering with her is going to break her down, and make her stop enjoying having a friend around. For example, she will run to the girl to give her a hug, and the girl just stands there kind of freaked out. I will tell her to play soft with her, not all people like to be so rough. Also, the girl will be standing doing nothing, and dd will gently push her, as if to nudge her into action. While she is not being mean, I feel the need to find a way to teach her to respect other people's boundaries.

In addition to this, has taken to saying "go away" whenever she is feeling upset or even just tired and irritable. She says it to me, dh, the baby, the cat, even her toys. While I realize this is a normal toddler behavior, I would like some suggestions for dealing with this type of expression in a way that respects her feelings, but makes it clear to her that it is not an appropriate behavior. Today she did it during her playdate with her little friend, who is very quiet and sensitive. I feel bad that she hurt her friend's feelings.
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#2 of 4 Old 11-17-2005, 12:59 PM
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I am a mom of two spirited boys ages 2.5 and almost 5 and i think it really is something that varies depending on the child, when it comes o playdtes. I find some kids handle my sons energy and passion just fine and others don't. I do my best to teach them what is unacceptable in regards to other peoples personal space and such but often if something gets out of hand I just have to pull him back. I cannot expect my child to change just becasue another child differs in personality traits. It does get easier though as they grow up. My oldest is getting better at communicating with me. have you read the book "Raising Your Spirited Child"? It helped me alot to understand WHy my boys act the way they do and to teach them how to put thier emotions into words. Zane can tell me now when he "has too much energy inside" and we will sit down together and discuss what he can do to feel calmer. It leads to less fusturation than just telling him to "chill out now!" I myself am spirited and can relate.
As far as the telling people to leave her alone, I think you have to find that fine line between respecting her and others. She has a right to BE left alone if she feels she needs that space. BUT she needs to find a way to communicate this politly.Sit down together and explain how this hurts others feelings and decide together what some ther ways could be to make her needs met in that time.
It can be so complicated to handle situations when you have a spirited child. Wish they came with individual owners manuals! LOL
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#3 of 4 Old 11-17-2005, 02:07 PM
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Sounds familiar. My dd is hyper-sensitive, plays quietly, and has major sharing issues. My friend's ds is boisterous, loud, and also has major sharing issues. Playdates with just the two of them are no fun. So, we go to public places or places where there are lots of kids: parks, zoo, swimming, children's museum. We rarely hang out just the four of us. It makes me sad but helps keep the babes happy. Maybe things will change.

My dd is saying "bad" all the time. I had a thread going for a while on the topic and talked to my counselor. She said respecting feelings is a really important lesson to teach but also asking "why" is important, too. Mine cannot really explain why but I think it is a start. The counselor also said that toddlers have issues with the large scale of everything around them and sometimes express some negative emotions related to their feelings of being scared, overwhelmed, sad, etc. Talking with my dd has helped me realize that she does feel small and powerless and having her toys call each other "bad" or calling the dog "bad" helps her feel like she is strong. I believe that, in time, she will move away from this and start communicating better. I bet your dd will, too. Maybe when she says "go away" you could ask her if she wants a quiet place. You could find her a place to go when she needs a self imposed time out. Maybe a small tent or tepee or something like that. It would be fun to make. Or, you could make some silks with her and she could use those to make her own hideaway. Silks can be $12 and up each but I have directions for making them for less than $3 each. Pm me if you want them.

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#4 of 4 Old 11-18-2005, 03:21 AM
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I have a very spirited 4 year old and to be honest, unfortunately I have lost friends because of it. I used to be so hurt and offended by the looks he would get, the advice other moms would give me on discipline(when it CLEARLY wasn't a discipline issue). I ended up leaving playgroups early because he never knew the boundaries and other moms simply weren't accepting of that.
I am so glad I did not try and make him conform to how other children behaved. Or how he was expected to behave by other parents. In time, he learned the boundaries. He still struggles with trying to give other children space, but it does get easier.
I would not change him for a second. I am glad I walked away from those who didn't understand. It enabled me to let go of the guilt I felt about not doing things the right way. I was constantly wondering where I went wrong, whether I was disciplining the right way, etc....
Now I see it is his personality. And I love every bit of it. He is so full of life and love and energy. He doesn't walk, he runs. He laughs, he sings, he dances. He embraces life to its absolute fullest.
Nothing brings him down. Nothing breaks his spirit.
I am glad I went through the early challenges and went with my heart. If some of these other moms could see him now, he could teach them a thing or two about living life.
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