Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Reads: Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary S. Kurcinka

As I have mentioned several times in this blog, one of my twins, Doodle, seems to fall within the "spirited" side of things.  I picked up this book in the hopes of managing this and thriving with it.

The book helps you identify if your kid is, indeed, spirited and then reassures you that this is perfectly normal.   This was a biggie for me, since nowadays all you seem to hear about is kids being diagnosed with ADHD and I hate the thought of a world full of heavily medicated kids.  I knew she wasn't ADHD because she isn't distracted...she is TOO FOCUSED!  What I really needed was coping strategies.

The markers of a spirited child are: persistence, intensity, sensitivity, perceptiveness - a child who is "more".  More is a good way to think of it.   My kids are normal...they just have "more" of a few things and it is that "more that can be so overwhelming. 

The first thing that struck me about this book is how I came to understand my  tendencies towards being spirited myself.  Little things I had lived with my entire life, but never thought anything of.   The different way I see the world. This helped me understand how Doodle (and, in many cases, Buggie) see the world around them.   In the first few chapters, I was often brought to tears by how familiar the stories were.

Once she walked me through the diagnosis part of the book, I could see that while both of my girls fit in to the spirited side of things, they are not as far gone as I would have thought.    They are just "more".  Now, I could find ways to cope.

From a coping strategy standpoint, I felt that the book was better geared toward older children. She describe techniques that I had already attempted and failed at.   I had the definite feeling that, if my girls were 4 years old - these things might work better, after reading the responses other parents had to them.  

In the end, I think I am a better equipped parent for having read the book.  I am prepared to be more consistent with my messages and to prepare them more fully for new things.   I am learning how to adjust my own spirited tendencies to enhance their lives instead of to cause them distress that I didn't know I was inflicting.  I also understand myself a bit better and it will hopefully make me a better mom.

I think I will re-read this one in a couple of years and see if the techniques are of greater help at that time, because I really do think that this is a book for the parent of an older preschooler or school age child - not one with toddlers.

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