Parenting spirited children is a marathon in its own right | #parenting

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She also authored a book which helped millions of parents of spirited children understand the child’s temperament better. The book Raising Your Spirited Child remains at the top of any Google search on this topic.

As expected, some children with this temperament are often misdiagnosed as having ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity) and, sadly, over-treated by some clinicians. Because they are also rigid in their needs and desires, spirited children may early on make a parent wonder about the possibility of autism. It is thus not a diagnosis that can be made in an instant like a middle ear infection or a heart murmur. It takes much dissecting through layers upon layers of history-taking and excluding other psychiatric disorders.

Some psychologists have positively reframed these “mother-killers” by reminding an exhausted mom that one day her son will grow up and lead the free world, be a millionaire businessman, scale Mount Everest or bounce back from defeat. This may be true, but it is a bit like telling an exhausted marathon runner to just keep hanging in there because the end is going to be blissful.

Meanwhile here are some suggestions on how to deal with a spirited child:

Keep them physically active often and for long periods.

Be cautious at playgrounds where these risk-takers know no bounds.

Do not take them grocery shopping all by yourself; have an extra helper.

Establish a routine or ritual and create consistency that matches their needs.


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