March 07, 2010

Finally Figuring it All Out- Raising My Spirited Child

I'm really into audio books this month and have gotten books on everything from love to parenting. (Okay, really I only got two books, one on love, one on parenting; haven't made it past my first two books.)

The first book I listened too was Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.! I was at my wits end with both of my boys. Youngest is non-stop emotional roller coaster and full of more energy than all three of my children combined. It takes him two hours to fall asleep at night, even when he's exhausted. He is also happy go lucky one second and then crying desperately the next- just because his paper airplane didn't fly "the right way" or because his pants make too much noise when he walks so he can't wear second.longer. Frankly, my patience was wearing thin with him.

Oldest, also Mr. Moody, but in a different way. He just gets so upset about things at a much deeper level than most eight year olds should (and this has always been the case with him at every age). Everything with him is a battle; homework, going to taekwondo, doing homework (oh yeah, said that), his frustration with his games, toys, even other kids his age. And sometimes he says things that are so deep- like he's just too smart for an eight year old.

My way of handling these boys was to count down the minutes before bedtime and pray that we all made it to bed without me spinning my head around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.


With all three of my pregnancies I always had the latest baby book on my nightstand and would read every single line like it was the Bible. And then it was all different nursing books. My education stopped there. I realized one day that I needed to be just as proactive about parenting as I was about weaning the kid off the boob. I had no idea what I was doing- duh.

The Spirited Child was a savior! My boys are definitely spirited children. A spirited child is a child that typically is characterized as more than a handful- to put it nicely. Not your usual handful but like a double dose of extra work that makes you want to take a stiff drink just to deal with them. They are usually more aggressive, wild, temperamental, and energetic than your average child. And they can also be more persistent, sensitive, moody, and intense than most children. The more is not just sometimes, it's all the time.

There are generally two types of spirited children - the extrovert and the introvert. My youngest is my extrovert, and my oldest is the introvert. This just adds to the fun of it all for me, of course, because dealing with each requires different strategies.

After listening to the book I've learned how to identify ways to make it a good day while also preventing the triggers to make it horrible day; I learned to diffuse blow-ups; learned how to select my battles; identify the positive in having a spirited child; and most importantly, I know what I'm doing now! Before reading the book I doubted everything I did with my boys, felt guilty for the way I felt about them, and the way in which I communicated with them. There were many days in which I was so drained from being around them I felt like years were being taken from me daily. Not only was it draining me but also draining Daughter- often she'll lock the boys out of her room just to get some peace and quite.

When I popped in the first CD, I swear, Mary was talking to me. It was as if she had been watching home videos of the madness going on at my house and decided to write me my own how-to manual. Over the years I've tried to read other books but never felt like the recommendations would work in my house. This was just the right fit.

If you struggle with a child that is "more of everything" I encourage you to read her book. It will definitely change your relationship with your child in a positive and healthy way.

Tune in on Wednesday for my next review- The Power of Love, by Dr. Laura Schlessigner in which I write about all the stupid things covered in the book.

Have a great week!


Justice Fergie said...

You know what's funny? I have been saying that I was going to read this book for the past 3 YEARS! I remember Googling desperately for clues as to why my child was just "off the charts." Chatterbox is most definitely a Spirited Child (extrovert). When I heard about this book thru one of my Mocha Moms, I just knew that it was written for me and I was relieved that there was a NAME for my child. Because until that point, Hubby and I had just been calling her "Crunk." And clearly, that was not a technical term :) Anyway, your post reminds me that I still need to read it. Will be heading to the library this week.

So glad the book helped you figure out how to better parent your two boys. And how interesting that you have one of each type.

Good luck!

ParlinMom said...

WOW!!! I may need to get this book as a must have. My daughter is 2 but so far I have not seen any "spirited" behavior but things can change at the drop of a hat.

thanks for the title and author.

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