My Spirited Child…

Strong-willed, spirited, challenging, high needs, difficult – apparently, they all refer to the same “group” of children. In their own unique ways, both G1 and G2 are both examples of spirited children at the opposite extremes.

The spirited child is truly a challenge to parents, because even parents with older children may find themselves stumped by spirited child behavior and reactions.

You don’t say…

What is a Spirited Child?

In a nutshell, a spirited child is just “more”. More what, you ask? More everything. The following is a list of characteristics that define spirited children. They may not display all of these characteristics, but they usually have a number. The real key is that they are just “more” of these than “regular” children. Spirited children are more:

  • Intense — meaning greater drama, easier cry response, making more demands on parents. (This was G1 when he was little. It appears to be G2 as he grows older.)
  • Persistent — gets committed to and stays with ideas, may argue points with parents long after an issue is settled. (This is both of them…)
  • Energetic — also sometimes labeled hyperactive, but many who write on this disorder do not want the term hyperactivity confused with the disorder. (This is definitely G2.)
  • Sensitive — may be overly sensitive to sounds, slight discomfort, pictures, and stimuli of all sorts. (This is both of them but to different things.)
  • Maladaptive — may react with greater emotion to changes like attending school, or moving to a new house. (Again, both of them but again to different things.)
  • Moody — may be more prone to get cranky, but may also be susceptible to and more perceptive of the moods of others. (This is more so G1 than G2. G2’s moodiness is sort of reminiscent of a person suffering from bipolar disorder – he swings from high to low in the blink of an eye.)- Wise Geek

You can find more here.

Or you can read:

If you recognise your child in the description above, Aha Parenting offers the following tips – click the link to read in detail. These are the take home points:

  • Avoid power struggles by using routines and rules.
  • Let him take charge of as many of his own activities as possible.
  • Give your child choices.
  • Give him authority over his own body.
  • Don’t push him into opposing you.
  • Side-step power struggles by allowing your child to save face.
  • Listen to him.
  • Try to see things from his perspective.
  • Discipline through the relationship, not through punishment.
  • Offer respect and empathy.

If you want more, there is an excellent PDF you can download from Penwell Counselling by Melissa Penwell that is succinct and to the point.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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