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Any other "Spirited" children out there?!

(15 Posts)
beabea81 Wed 05-Mar-14 22:12:13

I feel like the only person with a "spirited" child at the mo! We have lots of friends we see each week made from baby groups, pre-school etc and I swear out of 15 different children that we socialise with, she is the only one like this apart from one other little boy her age - none of the other girls seem to be like her! I feel my dd (who is 3 next month) is not really doing anything that bad (apart from the odd occasion but not v often at all). From what I've read on mn & elsewhere it is all behaviour a lot of 2 to 4 year olds go through, there are soooo many books out there on raising a "spirited" child etc that it must be fairly normal???

Yet I feel totally alone in dealing with these issues & behaviour, my friends just don't seem to have these issues with their kids! Anyone else out there struggling with the challenging behaviour / aggression / demands / meltdowns / non stop hyper activity & extreme emotions?! : o

KatoPotato Wed 05-Mar-14 22:13:58

She's the only one 'like this'

Can you define 'spirited' so maybe we can advise?

CocktailQueen Wed 05-Mar-14 22:15:40

This is not going to go well... Previous threads mentioning spirited children have been interesting ...

AcrossthePond55 Wed 05-Mar-14 23:49:47

Trying not to sound 'judgy' but what you are describing doesn't sound like simply 'spirited' behaviour to me. Have you had her evaluated by her paediatrician? It could be anything from allergies to ADHD to a lack of proper discipline. If you are truly concerned, you should seek professional guidance.

Flame away!

chattychattyboomba Thu 06-Mar-14 00:24:59

Beabea- DD (also 3 next month) is 'spirited'. Currently reading the spirited child and the spirited child work book and finding them helpful in defining what exactly it is that makes her, her (and embracing it- well, trying to).

Spirited can mean many different things but when identifying a 'spirited child' you are looking at levels of;

Intensity- how strong are their emotional reactions?
Persistence- if they cry, is it soon forgotten or can it carry on for hours...a whole day? Does it "lock in" or can their mood be easily diverted?
Sensitivity- has to have things "just so" ("Nooo I don't want that top it's too scratchy!") selective about the majority of things
Perceptiveness- notices every detail. Can be easily distracted
Adaptability- becomes distressed by changes in routine/scenery/an activity ending
Regularity- regular patterns in routine or not?
Energy- quiet or very active?
Reactiveness- jumps right in or rejects first and holds back until participating?
Mood- positive or serious and analytical?

It's hard to know at this age as a lot of these traits are just typical of toddlers who are establishing the line between independence and still relying on us. It's natural for them to question everything and for things to just seem like a bigger ordeal (for them and us!) but that doesn't mean that some children are just naturally more spirited by nature from very early on.

It's a difficult stage for anyone. Right now I am dealing with the never ending talking and demanding "I want I want I want" asserting her wants and needs is huge but can be relentless! And despite trying to address them it feels like a bottomless bucket!
Reasoning with a toddler can be futile not to mention frustrating so I understand OP.

beabea81 Fri 07-Mar-14 21:39:16

Hiya, sorry I don't know if I'm being a bit naive as a first time parent, but to me "spirited" doesn't mean a child has ADHD & needs to see a specialist?!

Also, could someone explain to me why previous threads about spirited children have not gone well / this one is going to be interesting? I'm truly baffled!

I just thought I might find some other mums dealing with the same issues as me at the moment. Perhaps I have chosen the wrong word to describe my dd?

I don't think there is anything wrong with her, I'm just saying she is pretty intense compared to the other kids her age we know personally, I'm wondering if they are just all very laid back little angels, but from what I've read here on mn, elsewhere & in a couple of parenting books, her behaviour is typical of most toddlers, otherwise there wouldn't be so many books written about their behaviour! She is very bright, confident, loving & never stops asking me questions about everything which I think is great, her speech is excellent for her age & she has a memory that puts me to shame. By spirited I mean feisty, non stop energy, constant demands, tantrums etc and was just wondering if anyone else with children of a similar age is experiencing these things at the moment?

Chattychattyboomba - thanks, I could have written your last paragraph myself : ) x

jen2014 Fri 07-Mar-14 22:04:57

Hmmm maybe I should pay attention to this one as beabea you've just described my DS, who's 2.5. He seems quite bright, can construct up to 10 word sentences, remembers routes in the car even if we've only done them once before but... gives me the run around all day. I just assumed he was being a toddler and that's what they do?
Incessant demands for snacks, puzzle time, tv time, outings - incessant questions about where everyone is and what they're doing - sometimes the same question repeated 8 or 10 times which is soooo frustrating!! Why do they do that?!
His tantrums are usually easily deflected or treated in minutes but are very predictable when he's bored, tired or hungry.
Classic example of the Jekyll and Hyde this morning: Mommy, may I bring my blue bike in? (from the garden)
Mommy, the grass is wet, would you like to clean it up?
When I explain that no, I cannot dry the entire back garden - cue tantrum...

Meglet Fri 07-Mar-14 22:12:51

yes, but 'spirited' is a bad word apparently hmm.

Mine need to be channelled in the right direction and then they're fine(ish). It's just a billion times harder than it should be.

5yo DD does have a paed assessment in May though, she can be pretty extreme so I need to find out what's going on.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 07-Mar-14 22:17:12

On Mumsnet 'spirited' means badly behaved but allowed to get away with it by deluded parents. I know this is not what you meant.

Lots of toddlers are intense and difficult to manage, my first was really really hard work. I was surrounded by people with placid toddlers and it felt like my parenting was at fault. He constantly wanted what he couldn't have and then he tantrumed. I then had dd who was a relaxed toddler. I did nothing differently. Ds is now an extremely well behaved child.

MeMySonAndI Fri 07-Mar-14 22:30:34

I have a spirited child, he is polite and well behaved. The way we have dealt with him is very simple:
- No means no.
- we have never given up to tantrums (yes, never)
- we are quick to stop him and make him aware of his actions if he is doing anything that may be annoying to other children/people.

Yes, he has the allergies, the intensity, an amazing facility to be distracted and is very strong willed, but he seems to feel safer and more relaxed when he knows what the rules are and that they will be enforced. He needs structure, he feels lost without it. (And turns into a gremlin if he doesn't have it).

morethanpotatoprints Fri 07-Mar-14 22:39:20


My sympathy. Please walk away from your thread now. You are not allowed to have a spirited child for some reason. They either have allergies, are naughty/lack discipline, so bad parenting, or they have ADHD.
FWIW, we were strict with dd exactly the same as ds who weren't spirited at all. We did all the same things and have never allowed tantrums etc.
Now she is 10, much better but extremely gifted.
Will pm you.
Good luck, please walk away. thanks

MiaowTheCat Sat 08-Mar-14 12:21:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jen2014 Sat 08-Mar-14 20:18:36

Ooh yes I am far too stubborn to give into tantrums! I have carried DS out a play centre (after only 20mins there and forfeited the entry fee and my still full coffee) without shoes or coat on because he was misbehaving. I told him if he didn't stop throwing other kids shoes around then we would leave, so we did. He screamed all the way home but hopefully he at least knows I'll carry out my threats now.
But DSD was a mouse in comparison at this age, no tantrums, obedient... I had hoped the difference was in gender but maybe not based on what other people say?!

MiaowTheCat Sun 09-Mar-14 13:36:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

beabea81 Sun 09-Mar-14 21:45:13

Ok I had no idea that "spirited" had so many negative connotations & had flared up previous threads! To me that was the right word to describe my full on little girl who lives life at 100mph!

Morethan - thank you hon I will reply properly to your pm tomorrow when I have some time to myself, just quickly logging on right now before hubby gets home at 9.30, your dd sounds amazing and you are so right it is the strong willed / determined / big personalities that often go far in life, like you I am v proud of my dd & her gusto & determination, but also exhausted ; )

Jen - my dd is exactly the same as your ds, she remembers exact car routes after only one previous trip, her memory seems to be photographic & amazes me often - we went to a little boy's bday party back in November, dd met a little girl there, let's call her Molly. 3 months later we were out at the park, it was v busy & kids everywhere, my dd pointed & said "look mummy there's Molly from X's bday party!", I looked & sure enough it was her! We went over & the little girl & her mum didn't remember either of us lol, I had to explain dd recognised her daughter & she couldn't believe it!

Lol yes myself & dh are also very stubborn, so nobody wants to give in here! She tries to bargain with me now she's older though (it can be hilarious what she can conjure up) & her reasoning is now often leaving me stumped, I've started saying to her "just because" or "because I'm your mummy & I say so" to the endless questions & dramas when I don't give her what she wants, I get so exhausted I just run out of steam mentally as well as physically!

Feeling v reassured that my lo is not the only one who's a handful so thank you ladies. As I say all the other kids we know seem to be so easy & just do what they're told no questions, no drama. A few of the little girls arrive at pre-school in beautiful starched white tops & tights, bows in their hair, tutu skirts & shiny shoes - and they are still like that at pick up time which amazes me. My dd always comes home covered in dust, sand, glue, paint, mud & puddle splashes from outside, snot, you name it, with hair grips lost, holes in clothes haha : )

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