Raising Your Spirited Child
This excellent nonfiction book helps parents understand and enjoy their “spirited” child. These approximately 10% of children have the extreme attributes of INTENSITY, PERSISTENCE, SENSITIVITY, PERCEPTIVENESS, and SLOWNESS-TO-ADAPT. These five, along with other “bonus” attributes (irregularity, energy, first reaction, and mood) make up the personality of a spirited child, and by understanding how your child processes things and what their “triggers” are, you can help them better cope.
I loved this book. It was laid out in a logical fashion, starting with the broad (definitions of attributes, how they may manifest in different children) and working the way to the specific (dealing with situations like holidays, travel, school problems, etc). Much of the information is told through stories — stories of real parents with real children struggling with real problems, and how they worked together (often through small group discussion classes) to come up with solutions that will work for kids with this personality type.
More important than the writing style, I found I could relate to what the author was talking about. This book arrived at just the right time, as we had been dealing with our two-year-old who simply seemed to be throwing more and more tantrums and being less and less able to deal with everyday situations. I had experienced two weeks of frustration, stress, and conflict, and felt I was losing my patience and my mind. Even after the first few chapters, I was recognizing my son and things that he did, finally analyzing his personality type and recognizing WHY he was doing the frustrating things that he was.
For instance, we realized that he is an introvert (a bit of a surprise, since you generally think of introverts being quiet people), and realized that in the time frame that he had been struggling, he had been having to share his special daddy snuggle time with his newly-mobile infant brother. His daddy’s attention was divided, his space was “invaded,” and he obviously wasn’t getting what he needed — his own quiet time with his “security person” to recharge from dealing with his little brother the rest of the day. When we gave him back that one-on-one time in the mornings, we could see the difference right away. With that time to recharge, he was much more patient with his brother and much better able to handle the stresses of the day.
We also learned that while my husband has a VERY easy time adapting to new situations, our spirited child does NOT, and this realization has helped us work together to come up with solutions that prevent melt-downs throughout the day. When our son was called to breakfast, it was nearly always a fight, but we’ve started giving him a heads-up when breakfast is almost ready, which helps him know what to expect, to be able to finish what he’s play with, and transition more easily to mealtime.
These are just two of the many things in the book that we felt really spoke to us about our son. I’d highly recommend this book to parents, teachers, caregivers, and any others who have regular contact with a child who is exceptionally intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and slow-to-adapt. I plan on buying a copy for reference!