Friday, February 3, 2012
Friday Reads: Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary S. Kurcinka
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.