Spirited Children

My worn library copy of the book

 

I just finished reading a book titled Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents whose child is more Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

Both hubby and I are introverted. Hubby has studied Myers-Briggs extensively and by extension, I have developed an interest in it as well. We’ve already figured out that our #1 is extroverted. One of our main clues into that was the fact that he cannot play alone for long periods.

I hear of other parents saying their kids can do stuff alone for hours…I don’t know what that is.

Set him up with some paper+crayons? Or legos? Or painting? Or playdoh? We’re talking 10-15 minutes, tops, playing with any of these things. And we have to play with him. For introverts, this can be very draining since we get our energy from being alone.

But in addition to that, his tantrums and frustration events are very intense, he reacts dramatically to new places/people (but when he is warmed up, he’s exuberant), and an extreme picky eater. People call children like this “difficult”, but Kurcinka says these are some of the features of spirited children.

The five spirited traits (intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic) are actually present in all children; but, as Kurcinka says, spirited children possess them in much higher quantities.

One excellent point Kurcinka made was that most people admire spirited traits in adults. The energetic go-getter who dances to the beat of his/her own drum, who questions everything, whose persistence pays off in some way. Could be be becoming the founder of some business that will become a household name. Or as simple as not being vulnerable to peer pressure or always questioning authority.

Reading this book reinforced my desire to support my children as they are, rather than trying to change them into something I want them to be. And this is difficult. It’s way easier to yell, spank and scare them into submission. Constructing boundaries while trying not to be overly controlling or disrespectful takes more time and creativity. And both can be in short supply while living this fast-paced culture.