Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Spirited" vs "Strong-willed" Child

Ok, so it's taken me a super long time to write, but I'm finally helping out here. :) Recently, (and by recently I mean a couple years ago) God has brought a few different discipline resources our way. For so long, we've felt stuck with how to best help our oldest son in different areas regarding discipline. Most Christian resources/people have basically said to spank or use other punitive forms of punishment. This was just not working for our son (or us for that matter). (Side note: for the first 3 years, I refused to call our son "strong-willed." This was mainly because just about everyone who has a 2-year old says their child is "strong-willed." So, I waited it out and sure enough after 2, battles were still tough and "more," as is typical for "spirited children.")

A book called "Raising Your Spirited Child" really put to words what Luke and I have been thinking for the last couple of years. We couldn't understand why the typical forms of discipline were not working for our child. This book describes so well the typical characteristics of a "spirited" (a better way for saying "strong-willed") child. It described how spirited children do not do well with things like time outs alone in their bedroom (because they'll tear the room apart). Another area to note with spirited children is that when left to cry-it-out as babies, they will often vomit or just escalate for hours/days.

When our son was a baby (and before I knew he was spirited), despite the norm, I really felt like we should not let him cry-it-out. Also, in the area of discipline and spanking, I've sensed that we shouldn't spank him either. Now after reading this book, I'm seeing that the God-given intuition was right. Spirited kids do not respond the way we want them to when using punitive forms of punishment.

So, as of right now, Luke and I don't have all the answers as to how each situation is played out, but I'm so grateful for this book and a few other resources that we've stumbled upon (more on those later...). May God give us the wisdom to raise kids that love God and others.

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