Friday, April 6, 2012

We've Got Spirit

I've been reading this book called Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.  The subtitle caught my eye: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic.  Hello!  I think I first found the book when E was our only child and I thought, 'I need that book.'  Then J-Man entered our lives and he fit the bill, too!

This book is helping me tremendously.  She defines "spirited children" as those who are just "more."  While all children possess some or all of these qualities, spirited children are MORE intense, MORE sensitive, MORE.  Reading this is helping me understand and put words to the characteristics my boys embody that I've seen, but couldn't necessarily define before.

E is my sensitive child.  Kurcinka talks about sensitivity both emotionally and physically.  We literally used to have painters tape over every little tiny light on every single gadget in E's room to help him sleep.  If the humidifier was on, we put tape over the "on" indicator light.  Tape went over the "on" light for his noise machine.  Tape went over the lights on his CD player.  You get my drift.  Without the tape, that little baby would just stare at those little green lights like he could not tune them out.  But he's also sensitive emotionally.  He feels everything to the max.  When he is angry, this intense guttural yell comes out him.  This morning he started crying because I told him to come to me for help with his shoes.  He wanted me to come to him.  He wept for half an hour and it took quite a bit of rocking to finally get his emotions under control.

J-Man is my persistent child.  He is a fighter and he does not like to give in to anything.  I'm learning to teach him to find compromises we can both be happy with instead of just strictly enforcing everything I want him to do.  I can already tell that he feels so much more in control (which he needs because he has had no control for so much of his life) as we come to a solution together.

I'm learning how to help my kids turn these aspects of their personalities into strengths rather than constant reasons for getting in trouble or having meltdowns.  I think sensitive E might grow up to have a heart for justice because he feels things so intensely.  J-Man might become a lawyer where he can use that persistence to help people.  Who knows.  My job is to help them manage their spirit instead of allowing it to be a constant reason for chaos and instead of trying to squelch it.

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