Book and Product Reviews

Review Monday: “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

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This book is one of my absolute favorites. I remember reading this book years ago when my daughter, who is now a teenager, was a wee wild child on wheels. Despite extensive experience with children, my first was quite a challenge. I knew she was bright, but I had no idea how to deal with her sensitivity to clothing, her high level of activity, or her dramatic outbursts. Having been a calm, quiet child myself, I loved her dearly, but was often at a loss of how to pick up the pieces when the tornado blew through our previously quiet house.

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a talented writer, with years of experience helping parents learn to understand their spirited children. She helped me understand the concept of a spirited child –a child who is “more” than the average child in several ways-more sensitive, more dramatic, more moody. She taught me how to understand my daughter and gave me techniques that really work on how to handle her spiritedness.

In fact, I realized as I flipped through the book again how much her method is a mainstay of the system I use to counsel my clients. Having been blessed with several more spirited children, I came to realize how essential it is to understand the personality of your child before you jump into disciplining them.

Different children react differently to stress, to parenting methods, and to their environment. It is absolutely critical that a parent wishing to tighten up their disciplinary skills first consider the personality of their child before they use a generic discipline program with any child-spirited or not.

Kurcinka  not only helps you determine which of your child’s behaviors are due to their spiritedness, but even gives you very specific guidelines on how to prevent the behavior from occurring. She doesn’t make excuses for poor behavior, nor does she attribute all problem behavior to a child’s spiritedness. Still, her method is so thorough that the majority of things she suggests would work even with an average child and many  types of run-of-the mill behavior problems.

An extra plus of this book is the way it is written. As a workshop presenter for many years, she has a wealth of real-life experiences to draw from. Instead of raw theory, which can sometimes be confusing or just plain boring, she writes the book so that you feel you are sitting in on one of her workshops, right along with her group of parents, sharing, laughing, and learning how to appreciate your spirited child. In fact, when it was finally time for the group to meet for their last session, I was so sorry to see it end that I read the book a second time!

If you are parenting a child who is “more”- more sensitive, more energetic, more dramatic, more moody- you’ll find this book absolutely indispensable. Not only will you actually learn to appreciate your child’s antics (yes, it’s possible!), but you’ll come away with tools you can use for a lifetime that will help you help your child be the best they can be.

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