Thursday, April 3, 2008

The book that is currently changing my life...

Those of you who know us well know I've been struggling for some time with what I felt were some behavioral issues in Kai. Trying to avoid the dreaded ADHD can of worms and all the meds that come with it, I vowed to find out what was going on with her. That's when I found "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and it is revolutionizing my approach to parenting my girls.

It's a book for "parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic." I mean, do I need to say any more? I spend 2/3 the time reading it and highlighting, underlining and making exclamation points. Though this may sound a bit narcissistic I think it is entirely possible that the author actually wrote the entire book with my family in mind. It might be a stretch, but I'm just sayin'.

One of the most eye-opening statements in the book so far came from an expert the author quotes,

"Julius Segal once wrote in a Parents Magazine article, 'To reject kids' distinctive natures is to deny one of the central facts of human development: the extraordinary range of individual differences that characterize children from the moment of their birth'"(64).

Basically, it made me realize I've spent the majority of Kai's childhood trying to turn her into a different child with a different temperament and different emotional needs. I am guilty of trying to fit her into a mold that she will never fit into. Nor does she need to. She is, without a doubt, a Spirited Child and if I can learn how to meet her at her rhythm then I think our life will change. As the author puts it, "Temperament is real...Your child doesn't get to choose his temperament and neither do you, but an understanding of temperament allows you to predict your child's first and most natural reactions and to plan for success"(62). So, I'm done trying to change her. She is a bright, zestful, boisterous, energetic and sparkling girl. She is the most challenging child I have ever known. And I am vowing here and now to meet her where she is and help her succeed with the traits God has given her.

The cool thing about this book is that it talks about the psychology of the parents as much as the children and how different parent-child personality combinations can cause more chaos if you don't learn how to diffuse the situations. It talks about methods of diffusing tension between an introvert parent (Thomas) and an extrovert child (uhhh...duh, Kai). That's when it started to really hit home with Thomas and now he's fully on board with the book as well.

I highly, highly, highly recommend this book for parents of kids with "Spirited" natures because it is completely changing our family dynamic in an awesome way. I can't wait to see the changes that occur as we continue to implement the ideas in this book!

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