To the Mother of the Spirited Child- Part 1: You Are Not Alone

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If you are rearing a spirited child, you know, you don’t need me to tell you.

What you might not realize within this all-consuming place of parenting is that you are not alone.

Strong-willed might be the more familiar term to you. Perhaps you have a few other choice words you promise yourself, maybe even daily, that you won’t utter. While we, the parents, come in all shapes and sizes, the same as our spirited children themselves, we are stronger together, so do let us get acquainted with the circle we are in.

You likely knew even as your child was an infant that you are the mother of a spirited child, though you couldn’t yet identify it then.

Your precious babe could have been the one whose schedule you broke only at the highest of costs, if it could even be broken, from feeding to diapering, and of course, sleeping. Or maybe, the most predictable thing about your sweet babe is that there was no predictability to be found. He ate when he determined, however much he so chose, regular bowel movements- forget about it, and sleep was without a doubt on his terms. 

You might have wondered at how intensely he stared into your eyes, or that you couldn’t make eye contact with him if you tried. He was born fully in a moment, whether he was off to the next in a fury or had a focus you weren’t sure you’d seen in so many of the adults in your life. Determination marked the days with your child, from the earliest moments you can remember.

As your child has grown, you’ve become more familiar with what it is you were seeing.

Maybe you didn’t notice then, but you do now; there’s no denying it. Your child does not let go. You will not impose your timeline or your opinion on your child. You will not sway her from the moment she is in until she has experienced it fully, and she has been heard. And you, dear mother (and you are dear), are tired.

You might be wracking your brains for what in your parental style possibly could have caused this. While there is not nothing to the compatibility of a parental style with the spirited child, your choices are not responsible for the spirited nature of the child you see before you today. To welcome a child into your home is to welcome a developing person into your family, fully human with his own identity. 

Your child, dear mother, feels all the things intensely, with great passion. That’s a character that introduces itself boldly from the earliest of years.

You might be spirited yourself.

Perhaps you didn’t realize it until you were face to face with your own spirited child. Perhaps you’re all too familiar with every negative connotation that comes with being the spirited individual from your own childhood and beyond. Your fear of passing the self-talk that hurts so much on to your spirited child is all too real to you. Spirited, as you are, you’re more inclined to dive all-the-way into the moment right along with your child, which can make for the most fantastic of play, as well as the most dreadful of escalations.

Spirited or not, mother of the spirited child, some days, most days, you might feel is more honest even, you struggle. You wonder if it’s all in your head. You wonder what to do next. And you wonder, there with the child you so hope to do right by, if anyone sees you, too.

I’d like to walk with you, mother of the spirited child. I see you. And together, we can share what we’ve learned of ourselves and what works best for our overwhelmingly gifted, spirited children.

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