>Raising Your Spirited Child

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If your wondering what a Spirited child might look like, check out the book Raising Your Spirited Child.

Both of my daughters are spirited. Never did I think it would be possible to have two spirited children. Of course they have their own personalities, but the same characteristics are there.Thankfully not to the same degree.

The Spirited child is MORE Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic.
It gets crazy in this house sometimes, because after reading this book, I realized I’m spirited as well.

Can you imagine three spirited females under the same roof. My poor husband!
The book helped me realize so much about myself. By the time Charles gets home, I need time to collect myself. I don’t always get it. He’s ready to tell me about his day, and then the girls are so excited for daddy to be home. I’m learning how to take small breaks for myself throughout the day. This way I’m not a frazzled mess by the end of the day, or having a tantrum with the girls as their tantrum is going on.

I first picked up this book back in the summer of 2008. Ava had just turned one, and I remember thinking “I am so glad I only have one spirited child” HA! Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Nakiah was what some would call a High Needs Baby .
From the beginning. The nurses in the nursery said she scared them when she cried. She always had to be on me, or near me. I noticed how sensitive she was back then.
I picked up on this right away and started doing some research. Sure enough, I was not imagining things.

Ava was the complete opposite of Nakiah, but if I had know about babywearing the way I do now. Nakiah would’ve been on me in a carrier more often.
Ava would fall asleep by herself, anywhere. Imagine my surprise as she got older, and I started noticing the same things I saw in her sister.

Persistent:
What upsets one, doesn’t upset the other. They are both extremely persistent in different areas.
I’ve found a way for all of us to be happy with their persistence. I say yes more. You read that right. We say yes as often as we can. That doesn’t mean that our children run over us. Usually when we say no, they know that we mean it. We really only say no to something if it’s dangerous. I’m not going to tell them they can’t play in the rice ( we use rice until we get a sandbox) just because it could create a mess that I don’t want to clean up later. The rice isn’t harming anyone. It’s fun for them, and also a great sensory activity.

Intense & Sensitive:
Nakiah, our oldest. She turned 5 in December. She is very sensitive, and becomes quite intense when she gets upset. She’s also intense when she’s playing. She plays hard. She loves to run, climb, wrestle, she can hang with the best of the boys.
After reading the book, I started preparing her before we would go out to certain places.
She doesn’t like loud noises, like the movie theater, or church.
When we were living in MN, we found a church to attend, and I forgot to explain to her that it could get loud with the music. It took me a while to figure out why she started flipping out within five minutes of us walking in the door.
It was loud for me, so I can imagine what it was like for her.

I made the same mistake of not preparing her before we left for the kids free flick one morning. We had Flushed Away on dvd at home, so I figured this would be great to see, and if she wanted to leave it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Little did I know she would want to leave within five minutes of taking our seats.
At both places, she freaked out. Her eyes became huge, and she started crying loudly saying she wanted to leave. The movie was in the mall, so we walked around and went to Lego Land. With the church, Charles took her out for a few minutes, and she was able to calm down, she came back in, but we didn’t stay until the very end of the service. She grew to love the church services, and has also grown to like the movies.

I quickly learned from those mistakes, and started to prepare her for what it would be like any place we went. Our outings went so smooth after that. I would prepare her for Dr. visits, playgroups, any place I knew that had the potential to be loud, or a new experience for her. She was three years old back then, and I continue to notice the difference in her as she’s gotten older. If I forget to prepare her, she doesn’t have a good time, and her reaction is very intense to that situation.

I’ve noticed it’s important to prepare Ava, our 2.5 year old for certain situations, but not to the same degree as her sister.
A couple of weeks ago we had a playdate at our house, and including my kids there were seven. They age range was six months- five years.
The kids were all playing so well together, it was really nice. At one point Ava climbed into my lap, buried her head in my chest and said “mommy I want it to just be me, you and Kiah” It was pretty loud at this point, and she remained in my lap for about 20mins.
Eventually, she got back down to play and was fine for the rest of the time.

Both girls are very sensitive. If they hear another child crying, the want to make everything alright. If one of them is upset, they rush to console the other, most of the time. The exception is when one says to the other “your not my friend” That statement brings lots of tears and them coming to us very upset.
I’ve noticed they seem to be more bothered if a cousin, or friend takes a toy, tells them they can’t play, something like that.
We have to be very careful of their moods. They are together 95% of the time. That other 5% is for the others space.

Nakiah has to have all of the tags cut out of her clothes, and the seam on her socks has to line perfectly with her toes. She gets very upset if her socks aren’t on right.
Ava gets upset if you open or close a door when she was expecting to do it. We can’t flush the toilet after she’s done, because it will result in a meltdown. She has to be the one to flush it.
Nakiah is more willing to accept help with getting dressed, where Ava will have a fit if you try to help her. She needs to come to you for help. It’s rare that we can offer her help with anything, and she’ll say yes.

Both girls can be selective about what they eat. Aren’t most kids? Nakiah has to smell her food first. If she doesn’t like the texture of something she won’t eat it, like cheese. It’s got to be a certain cheese, and on certain foods, or she won’t eat it. She can tell the difference in some brands of food!

Perceptive:
You can’t sneak anything past my girls! If they see something on TV, or hear someone say something, they want to know all about it. They will know if we’re telling the truth. The other day Charles was mad at me, and we didn’t think the girls overheard what he said. This morning the first thing Ava says to me “mommy, daddy was mad at you yesterday” Like most kids, they pick up on more than words, they pick up on body language, facial expressions, etc…
Both girls notice if I sigh when they ask me for something. I’ll hear “mommy why you make that sound?” Or “mommy why you make that face?”
They feel my moods when I don’t think they can. It’s not just us, they seem to pick up on things with other people as well. Sometimes it could be a complete stranger.

Energetic:
This is Nakiah ALL DAY! Take 5 boys her age, and put them in a room together to play. That’s the energy you’ll see coming out of her. She plays hard. I’ve learned that cards, coloring, and cooking with me aren’t enough for her. Everyday she has to run, jump, or kick something. Today the girls were racing down the hallway. Sometimes Nakiah gets so excited and into her play that she starts grabbing at the other kids clothes, or she just wants to hold their arm. I am constantly reminding her that not everyone likes that. Ava is used to it now. I remember one of the first times my parents kept her for more than a few hours. They were both talking about how tired they were, and how she wore them out. They told me they didn’t know how I did it. This was before Ava was born.

Nakiah can go from toy to toy, running, jumping, to books, coloring, to puzzles, to wanting to play a game on the computer, to wanting to watch a movie. This girl doesn’t sit still for long. Even while at the computer or watching TV, she’s up moving around. She’s always gone from one thing to another. It can be very tiring at times. It’s not like this only happens a few days out of the week. This energy goes on 24/7
I am so glad the girls play so well together. I was starting to have trouble keeping up with her.
Even now it can get to be overwhelming at times. I feel I’m being pulled in multiple directions.
I like to think I’m getting the hang of it now.

The girls keep me on my toes. It’s not possible to have three spirited children, is it?
I’m looking forward to going through the book again, this time along with the workbook.

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22 thoughts on “>Raising Your Spirited Child

  1. >I'm so glad to have found your blog! (I did a search for "spirited child blog" I am the spirited mom of a spirited daughter who's almost 3. I've found the book very helpful, but we're still struggling, some. My spirited child is intense, sensitive, very perceptive (which makes it really hard for this WOTH mom to get out of the house on time) and very introverted. Plus, we're both negative first responders. So, we're working on healthy ways of expressing that intense emotion and on how to interact more successfully with others. It's great to remember that we're not alone and to learn another mom's strategies.

  2. >great info!!! i am curious about this book…may have to check that one out!thank you so much for stopping by today. let's just say that today has been fun in NOLA! 🙂 your babies are PRECIOUS… and you're expecting #3! awesome! congratulations.

  3. >My son was a high-need baby. I still remember the times when I couldn't get anything done when he was between infant and preschool age. Now "spirited" is definitely a word that can describe him. A lot of what you mentioned reminds me of him. Interesting. So you have two spirited ones and you're "baking" another one? You're brave! 🙂

  4. >This is very informative. Thank you for posting and WOW it sounds like you have your hands full!I wonder if my (now 1 year old) daughter will grow up to be a spirited child?!?!Right now, I can tell you she is very, very sensitive and I never know what I will do to accidentally hurt her feelings (like set her down to play when she still wants to be held or assume she is done with her food because she will not eat anymore…then wham a crying fit.)It is hard for me to tell what is normal at her age (1) or what is an attribute of her budding personality to come. I guess only time will tell.Again this was a good post, as I am sure pointing out the way your girls are spirited helps other moms notice those things in their children.

  5. >This is very informative. Thank you for posting and WOW it sounds like you have your hands full!I wonder if my (now 1 year old) daughter will grow up to be a spirited child?!?!Right now, I can tell you she is very, very sensitive and I never know what I will do to accidentally hurt her feelings (like set her down to play when she still wants to be held or assume she is done with her food because she will not eat anymore…then wham a crying fit.)It is hard for me to tell what is normal at her age (1) or what is an attribute of her budding personality to come. I guess only time will tell.Again this was a good post, as I am sure pointing out the way your girls are spirited helps other moms notice those things in their children.

  6. >I'm so glad to have found your blog! (I did a search for "spirited child blog" I am the spirited mom of a spirited daughter who's almost 3. I've found the book very helpful, but we're still struggling, some. My spirited child is intense, sensitive, very perceptive (which makes it really hard for this WOTH mom to get out of the house on time) and very introverted. Plus, we're both negative first responders. So, we're working on healthy ways of expressing that intense emotion and on how to interact more successfully with others. It's great to remember that we're not alone and to learn another mom's strategies.

  7. >My spirited child is now 5. I can totally relate! Thanks for stopping by my blog! You girls are dolls!! I can imagine how much fun the 3 of you have together. Hopefully this pregnancy will be easy and the delvery will be as pain free as possible. See you over at SITS!

  8. >great info!!! i am curious about this book…may have to check that one out!thank you so much for stopping by today. let's just say that today has been fun in NOLA! 🙂 your babies are PRECIOUS… and you're expecting #3! awesome! congratulations.

  9. >This is so informative, THANK YOU! I can already tell my 6 month old is going to be spirited. She is high energy (or what her pedi calls "very active") and gives lots of cues through body language about her needs. I tell my hubby that we have to be careful about balancing the need to teach her manners/self-discipline w/o crushing her spirit. He grew up in a house where it was believed that children should be seen and not heard and you could spoil a baby by indulging his every want (his mom talks ad naseum about how much I hold Marlie). My mom was the opposite…she co-slept, breastfed, and carried us everywhere. I think each child is different and will let you know what s/he needs to feel secure.

  10. >My son was a high-need baby. I still remember the times when I couldn't get anything done when he was between infant and preschool age. Now "spirited" is definitely a word that can describe him. A lot of what you mentioned reminds me of him. Interesting. So you have two spirited ones and you're "baking" another one? You're brave! 🙂

  11. >Oh yeah! I relate. I loved hearing about your girls, and you. My first son is definitely spirited. Was a high-need baby, still demands a lot of attention. Guess I should look into that book!One of my younger brothers was the same way with the socks. He hated it when the seam at the toe was off the tiniest bit. My stepmother tried to get him socks without that seam, or he went sockless.

  12. >Darcel, this is what I call a Resource Post, through and through. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such details. You will help so many parents who may be wondering what's going on w/ their child or children. Our oldest is definitely Spirited, and our early experiences with her have helped us w/ her little sister. It's almost like they're your children, but also your roommates (as weird as that may sound). You have to make certain allowances for them, and keep in mind that their needs, wants, and quirks are valid and worth considering.Again, GREAT POST!!!

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