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Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic [Paperback]

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 3 1992

The spirited child--often called "difficult" or "strong-willed"--
can easily overwhelm parents, leaving them feeling frustrated and inadequate.Spirited kids are, in fact, simply "more"--by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child.Through vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka offers parents emotional support and proven strategies for handling their spirited child. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you:

  • Understand your child's--and your own--temperamental traits
  • Plan for success with a simple four-step program
  • Discover the power of positive--rather than negative--labels
  • Cope with tantrums and blowups when they do occur
  • Develop strategies for handling mealtimes, bedtimes, holidays, school and many other situations

Filled with personal insight and authorative advice, Raising Your Spirited Child can help make parenting the joy it should be, rather than the trial it can be.


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From Amazon

Recently, temperament traits have come to the forefront of child development theory. In Raising Your Spirited Child, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's first contribution is to redefine the "difficult child" as the "spirited" child, a child that is, as she says, MORE. Many people are leery about books that are too quick to "type" kids, but Kurcinka, a parent of a spirited child herself and a parent educator for 20 years, doesn't fall into that trap. Instead, she provides tools to understanding your own temperament as well as your child's. When you understand your temperamental matches--and your mismatches--you can better understand, work, live, socialize, and enjoy spirit in your child. By reframing challenging temperamental qualities in a positive way, and by giving readers specific tools to work with these qualities, Kurcinka has provided a book that will help all parents, especially the parents of spirited children, understand and better parent their children.

From Publishers Weekly

Kurcinka's now-classic guide to raising children who are "more"—more intense, more sensitive, more persistent, etc.—gets a greatest-hits treatment in this brief audio version read by the author, a teacher and parent educator. The abridgement can be abrupt at times; in the effort to condense a 300-page book to a three hours, many memorable and useful examples, illustrations and anecdotes have been excised in favor of general principles and descriptions of the basic traits common to spirited children. Helpfully, though, each CD is imprinted with track titles and time signatures, a great boon to parents who want to retrieve specific information quickly. Kurcinka's voice can sometimes be a problem; it tends to trail off to such a low end-of-sentence volume that listeners may have to strain to catch what she is saying. Kurcinka never really achieves a deep or comfortable vocal resonance even at the best of times, though she does exhibit a quiet dramatic intensity despite the brittle, high tones. In all, it's difficult to justify the additional $10 this audio costs over the far meatier trade paperback version, which offers considerably more bang for the buck. HarperCollins paperback. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Welcome to Raising Your Spirited Child. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I heard about this book on one of my preschool message boards and WHAT A RELIEF! Our first child was calm, easygoing, etc., so when our second little bundle hit the planet -- what a shock! "Difficult." "Hypersensitive." "High-Needs." "High Maintenance." "Spoiled." "Sensory Integration Disorder." What else? People recommended massage, chiropractic adjustments, strict discipline, etc. etc. etc. We absolutely adore our daughter and realized early that she was just MORE. As soon as I started reading this book, I felt such wonderful relief to realize that we weren't the only parents struggling to understand and deal with our spirited child. And not much of a surprise to learn that I'm also a spirited parent. After the first few chapters, I noticed that my interactions with our daughter became much more relaxed and pleasant. One of the first big changes was our use of "time-out." You know, there are numerous articles about this subject, but this one really made sense. We've started teaching Belle that timeout is a place she can go just to cool off. Instead of the horrible demand, "Go to timeout," now I simply ask, "Do you think maybe you need to take a little timeout until you're feeling more calm?" This one little thing alone has made our days soooo much more pleasant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Positive Guide for Raising Your Spirited Child July 11 2003
Format:Paperback
From the point of birth, or as early as conception, did you recognize your child was "more"? Is his/her temperament more intense, more persistent, more sensitive, more perceptive, and are they more uncomfortable with change? Perhaps they are hard to get onto any kind of schedule. They may exhibit an incredibly high energy level. Their first reaction to anything new may be a rapid withdrawal or a resounding no, only to see them fully participate when warmed up. Are they analytical and always have a suggestion for change? Not all of the aforementioned characteristics need be present. However, if these sound familiar, you may be the blessed parent of a spirited child. I am not referring to a religious form of spirit. Rather, I am referencing a personality type.
Detail and Insight
Within the pages of Raising Your Spirited Child, author Mary Kurcinka assists the reader toward understanding what 'Spirited' looks like, and gives us tools to work with children whom fall within this spectrum. She brings to this publication professional and personal experience, explaining that the premise was birthed due to her own parental experience. In addition to writing this publication, Mary has helped numerous parents and educators via seminars, classes and additional publications.
The term "Spirited Children" can be credited to Mary Kurcinka finding an appropriate word to explain, and in my case take the place of, the all too typical labels of: difficult, strong willed, stubborn, and so forth. Prior to reading this publication I used the word strong-willed, but grasped adoration for the word spirited, allowing it to become a positive replacement. This book is one that I initially devoured and continue to return for more indulgence.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a realistic book Feb. 8 2004
By Mary
Format:Paperback
Some of the advice in this book was good- particularly the parts that remind parents children aren't displaying inappropriate behaviour intentionally. However, I found that I followed this book to a tee for about two years. What I ended up with was a child with no ability to tolerate anything unpleasant- waiting in line, being quiet at the library, basically she did whatever she felt like and the book advised that this is the way to parent spirited children. I then read the book The Omnipotent child, implemented the advice in that book, and my life changed. Now a year later what I can see clearly is that in Raising Your Spirited Child it gives parents licence to not hold their children responsible for anything they do. The problem with this logic is other people don't really care if your child is "Spirited"- teachers and friends aren't going to say it's okay that your child didn't join circle, or wouldn't cooperate at play time because they are spirited. Parents need to discipline their spirited children lovingly but persistently. Parents need to help their spirited children deal with their sensitivities in such a way that they are still able to function in the real world. My advice- Read Dr. Thomas Millar's "the Omnipotent Child". You will be thrilled that you did!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you have a spirited child (and if you have one, you know it!), you have to read this book. I was in tears of joy and relief that I wasn't a "bad parent", or that I didn't have a "bad child" because mine don't "behave" like other children. This book helps parents look at and respond to a child's behavior in a more positive light and offers creative ideas that work for those of us with "spirited" (instead of the negative term, "strong-willed") children. It also helped me understand my husband (we are both "spirited", but manifest it differently.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful gem, perfectly timed Jan. 29 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am so grateful to the person who recommended I read this book. I have given a copy to my son's teacher and talk about this book to all mom and dads out there that may benefit from it. I recognize my son in this book and many of the suggestions we put into practice and ALL have made a big difference in our life. Thank you Mrs Kurcinka. Thank you!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Positive, warm approach to parenting spirited children
Absolutely loved this book. She described my child perfectly in such a warm, loving way. This book offers a strengths-based approach to parenting a child who often can be labeled... Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2010 by Linda Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars the book especially for "spirited" parent of "spirited" children
I wish my parents had read this book when they were raising me - poor me as a child and teenager has sufferred so much ... Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2007 by X. Wu
5.0 out of 5 stars Rasing your spirited child
This book was a life saver for our family. My child was diagnosed with Sensory Defensiveness. My child from a baby, used to fight with sun, wind, clothes, hair washing. Read more
Published on May 11 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars The best child care book I've read
I'm the mother of 3 girls, and this is the most useful book I've read. While some reviewers take issue with the methods Kurcinka advocates in dealing with the spirited child, I... Read more
Published on June 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best
The is hands-down the best book on raising your spirited child.
Published on May 7 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a panacea; formal diagnosis may be in order!
I purchased this book when my son was two years old and began showing many of the traits and characteristics Ms. Kurcinka describes. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by L. A. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars What I've been Looking For!
This book is exactly what I needed. I have twins boys that are both much more intense, energetic, and perceptive than any of my friend's children their age. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by kabuka
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved this Single Mom
I read so many books and listened to so much advice, I thought my son and I would never make it. I was doing everything wrong according to everyone else - letting my child get away... Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Additional Suggestion for Sensory issues
I found this book to be right on in many respects, but think the author should mention to parents of "Spirited" children, the possibility of SENSORY INTERGRATION... Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by YC
5.0 out of 5 stars Raising Your Spirited Child
My son has been diagnosed as A.D.H.D. & O.D.D. The advice/techniques in this book are awesome. His meds allow him to stay on task and complete projects and this book has helped us... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2003
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