Declan is the most hilarious, sweet and adorable kid I know. He is also, hands down, the most difficult kid I know. We are so keenly aware of this. Fortunately, I found a book when he was younger called Raising Your Spirited Child. Fireworks filled the sky...we are not alone! What's a spirited child?
"The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is more. They are normal children who are more
intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with
change than other children. All children possess these characteristics,
but spirited kids possess them with a depth and range not available to
other children. Spirited kids are the Super Ball in a room full of
rubber balls. Other kids bounce three feet off the ground. Every
bounce for a spirited child hits the ceiling."
If you know my son, you're "amen-ing" right now after reading that paragraph. The main characteristics of a spirited child are him to a "T".
Intensity - Some spirited children display their intensity in ways
anyone can see. They don't cry - they scream. They play noisily. They
sing loudly in the shower. Other spirited children are quietly intense
and observant , with their intensity turned inward.
Persistence - Spirited children are goal-oriented and unwilling to give up.
- Spirited children are keenly aware of their surroundings and respond
to the slightest noises, smells, lights, textures or changes in mood.
- Spirited children notice everything, and everything calls for a
spirited child's attention. They are often easily distracted and
accused of not listening.
Adaptability - Spirited children are uncomfortable with change. They do not shift easily from one activity or idea to another.
The author Sheedy Kurchinka also writes that there are four "bonus"
characteristics that can make raising a spirited child even more
Regularity - Spirited children can be extremely
irregular, and it can be difficult to figure out when a child will sleep
or eat, and it seems impossible to get them on any kind of schedule.
Energy - Extreme energy! Spirited children can be filled with energy. They tend to be busy at all times and possibly fidgety.
Reaction - Some spirited kids display a quick withdrawal from anything
new. Any unfamiliar person or place may be met with a resounding "NO!"
- Some spirited kids can be very serious and analytical, meticulously
reviewing experiences, finding flaws, and making suggestions for change.
Right now, we are struggling to work through the daily things in life without Declan trying to negotiation every darn thing with us. We are also going mad trying to discipline him. Seems like he only listens if we raise our voice. We are both sick of doing that and know there is a better way. I'm re-reading Raising Your Spirited Child and we just ordered Transforming the Difficult Child - The Nurtured Heart Approach. Excited to dive in to that.
Everything said, I would not change his personality for anything! He's such a joy. If we can figure out how to harness all this energy and other characteristics, we will for sure see Declan develop in to a future leader, or CEO, or talented athlete, etc., I know it!