- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 1 edition (July 3 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060923288
- ISBN-13: 978-0060923280
- Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 77 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent and Energetic Paperback – Jul 3 1992
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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.
"A well-written, comprehensive, and above all loving and positive approach to understanding that oh-so challenging child." -- -- Evonne Weinhaus and Karen Friedman, authors of Stop Struggling with Your Child and Stop Struggling with Your Teen
"The book will prove to be a real lifesaver." -- -- Louise Bates Ames, author and association director, Gessell Institute of Human
"This book is a major work on temperament and parenting that should be in every family library." -- -- Nancy Melvin, associate dean for graduate programs and research, Arizona State University College of Nursing
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This is not to say the book advocates letting your child rule the roost. In fact, careful reading will reveal that the objective for parents of a spirited kid is to help him learn to cope with the world he lives in with socially acceptable behavior (obeying house rules, for example) without having to change the personality he was born with. It really helps the parent learn about their child's weaknesses and strengths and gives the parent many techniques that have proven to be effective.
The author is herself the mother of two, one of whom is "spirited" and is now in his twenties. I found her sympathetic writing style to be extremely readable and the use of a hypothetical class (based on real-life classes the author has taught for many years) of parents to make the assimilation of information much easier than it might have been otherwise.
Especially helpful were the sections on sleeping, coping with difficult school situations, and social strategies. Readers who might be turned off by "Parenting the Fussy Baby and High Need Child" author William Sears' recurrent advocation of Attachment Parenting will find most principles here have nothing to do with that parenting style (although the author does say not to be afraid to take the baby in bed with you if you all sleep better that way). Those who do Attachment Parent will find nothing here to contradict their childrearing beliefs. It is a happy medium between "Parenting the Fussy Baby and High Need Child" and Dobson's "The Strong-Willed Child."
The author's new book, "Kids, Parents, & Power Struggles" reviews a few highlights of this book and is loaded with ideas for improving communication and relationships based on a child's temperament and how to help the child communicate his thoughts, feelings and needs in a socially-acceptable way. One thing missing from her first book, which she covers in her 2nd one is a section on ADD/ADHD and other medical issues which could be contributing to the "spiritedness" of the child. Still missing, though, is the mention that food intolerances may negatively contribute to the behavior of the extremely spirited child (which was the case with our child). I strongly recommend both books to save your sanity and to improve the relationship with your child.
Still, I couldn't bring myself to read childrearing books with titles that made my son sound horrible (I wasn't raising a difficult child, I was having difficulty raising my child).
Then, a real gift -- Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's RAISING YOUR SPIRITED CHILD. Ms Kurcinka is a professional and a parent, and she understands that parents need a)help, and b)humor. Her positive attitude about children, and her down to earth discussions of the needs of parents, children and families were a welcome relief.
If you think that your child is more energetic and/or sensitive and/or persistant than other kids, you are right; and if you think others don't understand your frustrations, you are also right. Ms. Kurcinka explains that "spirited" children _are_ different than most others, and need different approaches. She guides the reader to understand what makes these special children tick, and why parents react the way they do to their children.
She also urges a positive, rather than a negative, view of these childrens' differences. From the feelings we have to our kids to the words we use to describe them, we shape who they are and how we treat them. Ms. Kurcinka shows how to enjoy and celebrate the energy and talents of children whose temperaments are outside the norm.
We were fortunate to read this book when our spirited son was two -- and doubly grateful when his spirited sister arrived a year later!! If you are frustrated with the books available about children, or if you want a positive, practical book about extraordinary kids, this is the one.
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