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on 27 August 2008
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka does an excellent job of providing good common sense answers to why children are spirited and practical ways of dealing with the behavior. Observation, analysis and then appropriate action are keys to dealing with this behavior.

For example, in one Section called CHECK SIMULATION Levels Kurcinka writes:

"I always tell parents in my classes that if they ever feel like they are the only parent in the world with a sensitive spirited child, they should drop everything and head for the largest, noisiest, most congested store in their area. There they will find spirited kids dropping like little bombs. Two down one isle. Three in aisle four--the candy shelf--and six in aisle seven--the toy department. At first glance it will appear that the explosions are triggered by a denial to buy a candy bar, a desire to push the cart, or some other insignificant issue. The real trigger, however, is hidden in the fluorescent lights, piped-in-music, flashing signs, colorful packages, and crush of people that create more stimulation than a sensitive child can endure, especially if his or her energy bank is low."

She goes on to write:
"As a parent of a spirited child, you have to become aware of stimulation cues and recognize the breaking point for your child. The level of stimulation that pushes her beyond her ability to cope."

Kurcinka also explores subjects such as introverted and extroverted children, how they recharge their batteries and how to handle them. Other subjects include: How to deal with tantrums, Getting along with other kids, Motivating kids to listen and much more.

Overall an exceptional book on looking at cause, effect and practical solutions for addressing spirited children. Highly recommended.

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking
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on 30 March 2009
Reading this book was like someone switching the light on! This explains so many things about why my wonderful and energetic child challenges me on every level. From the simple advice of re-labling (from stubborn to persistant, from impatient to excited....) to the amazing and effective advice on why I have been held prisoner between 7pm - 9pm every night for months while my son tries to cling to me incase I leave his bedside. Finally I am reassured that my little boy is normal and spirited - a wonderful word - and he DOES respond. He is not naughty, and I am NOT a bad parent! YAY! If you are wondering how other mothers cope while you are a bag of nervous exhaustion, PLEASE read this book!
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on 26 August 2012
My younger daughter has such a very different temperament to her older sister - the latter I realise is relatively easygoing and obliging, whilst the younger one is contrary, willful, stubborn, difficult, challenging and and... SPIRITED!

I was getting fed up with people (including the father) suggesting that I was pandering to her needs, treating her differently, letting her get away with things - it's true, perhaps I was, but i just knew that she couldn't be dealt with in the same way as my elder daughter, as she reacted so very differently to what seemed like such simple things, often ending in uncontrollable tears, or escalating screaming. I was at my wit's end with how to cope, but on a convoluted cyber path, i came across this book and i haven't looked further.

As soon as I received it, I read the book from cover to cover - it was like I had found a soulmate on this matter. The more I read, the more I found myself recognising behaviour and situations we had found ourselves in - it resonated more than anything I'd come across until then, and since then. It offered explanations, case studies and, importantly, possible solutions - not definitive answers, but things that could help. And how they have helped, from mealtimes to social behaviour, bedtimes to props, this book has helped us to crack so much of what was before such a mystery.

I found the section on Introvert vs Extrovert particularly enlightening, as it taught us not only that our spirited daughter is an introvert in terms of how she recharges her energy levels (ie. requiring space and time alone to potter and play - which hitherto hadn't much happened what with school, park playtimes and a sister always around), whilst the older sister came out as a clear extrovert (requiring company of others to recharge her batteries - which explained why she often seemed to be winding up her sister as she'd bug her to play together or always wanted to do stuff with us - not a personal space invader, just someone who loves and needs company). I'd just never thought of it in these terms, but now we accommodate their introvert/extrovert needs into our day to day, as well as occasions, and more importantly, we tolerate their relative behaviours much better.

I now keep the book by my bed as my ultimate reference book on my subject of how to deal with my younger daughter. I have cited so many success stories from using the book to both husband and grandparents, that they too have come around to the fact that it is OK to take on board the very different personalities, temperaments, behaviours etc that our 2 daughters have, and to treat them or at least communicate with them in different ways where necessary, We don't favour one over the other, but we have learned to pre-empt the reactions of our more spirited child and she is much calmer as a result, which is so much better for her, but of course for all of us too.

I have recommended this book to so many people, and I know that they too have been amazed by how poignant, useful and reassuring it has been for their own spirited kids.

PS: I must admit, I didn't really like the term 'spirited' (albeit preferable to some of the negative and derogatory adjectives used to describe 'challenging' behaviour), but I could never think of anything better that encapsulates what these amazing creatures are, and so, I have grown to like it!
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on 26 November 2008
I bought this book for a friend 4 years ago when she was having trouble with her son who was 7. As soon as she read it she recognized that she had a spirited child and the book really helped her to deal with him. I felt so sorry for my friend at the time and yet low and behold my daughter who was only 6 months at that time turned out to be one and the same...a spirited child. She was the only child crying in the baby ward each night and she cried every night for 4 years...even now she is 4 1/2 and she still needs us to put her to bed and hold her hand till she sleeps then she will wake up at numerous times. Many people have told us that we were doing it all wrong but we honestly tried everything, it was a relief to read therefore that it is okay to hold their hand going to bed each night and to comfort them without punishing ourselves for giving in. The tantrums were dreadful and many a time at a shopping mall we would get our spectators as my daughter threw a wobbly, her eyes would glaze over and she would be out of control, getting her back to normal was very difficult. She can still throw a wobbly but she can sense it coming and we have taught her skills to deal with it. If we leave it too late then we know we are in for big trouble. She is a perfectly polite little girl but I always knew she was different and finally when I read this book I recognized my daughter and finally had the tools to help her and to finally enjoy her company. Raising a spirited child is hard work and rewards can be few especially if you do not know what you are dealing with. This book teaches you how to look for the signs that trigger tantrums and to help both the parent and child come to a greater understanding. More parents need to read this book especially if they feel that they have a naughty child.
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on 12 May 2014
I knew there was something different about my little boy from the day he was born, and I have been feeling guilty ever since (18 months). I thought I was doing something wrong as everyone else's babies and then toddlers of the same age were so relaxed and content compared to mine. I found myself apologising for his 'grumpiness' and impatience, but it never felt right. When I read the first couple of chapters of this book I was almost in tears and I am NOT a tearful person! It all made sense and put things in perspective for me. I knew there was a positive side to the way my son challenges me, and in this book Dr Kurcinka describes it so well and concisely. I have only read the first few chapters but already have a better outlook purely because I feel more positively about our relationship and my son's characteristics. I have especially been influenced by changing the words I use to describe his behaviour. I agree with another reviewer that it is quite americanised, but I feel the goodness of this book far outweighs some of the overzealous language.
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on 10 February 2013
This is a fantastic book. We have been struggling to cope with our sons behaviour since he was little and have tried so many different techniques over the years. This book makes you really think what your child might be feeling inside and then helps you plan strategies which will help them succeed. It includes a 'checklist' of temprements which highlights the types of things they may find difficult such as sensitivity to their environment, not being able to change activities, having too much energy. It then details how you can help them cope with these times hopefully without losing your own patience.
I have read many parenting books, some of which have been really good and worked well for my other children, but this is the first book which really seems to know how my child feels and the strategies are beginning to work already. I read the book in a day and began making changes immediately. It has certainly worked so far when other things haven't.
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on 26 January 2016
brilliant book -thank you for pinpointing what my really sensitive, more perceptive, more intense, more emotional child needs and what he's all about! Really grateful for the clear and detailed easy to read information and guidance! Our house is a much calmer place now and I don't get frazzled or terrified out my wits when my boy's emotions become really intense! :)
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on 12 February 2016
Very well written book that supports parents struggling to care for spirited children, especially in the face of helpful advice from everyone else about how that's just what babies do and you should just leave them to cry. This book takes a rather more enlightened view, and gives excellent support. Highly recommended
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on 12 July 2011
Fabulous manual for any parent bringing up any child. I am a Granny from a lifetime career in Education and this is the best book I have read in terms of understanding child and adult behaviour and embracing diversity. It gives clear strategies for responding to children and dealing with issues whilst helping you to understand why they are as they are.
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on 9 May 2015
A must read for spirited children! It has completely changed how we handle our second child and it has really helped! The standard ways of dealing with tantrums etc just didn't work with our second child, this book gives lots of examples and good advice..
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