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Understanding Spirited Children
Tips for Working with Young Children
Parenting is hard work. It is even harder for parents with children who are always pushing the limits, who find it hard to comply with requests and are intense, persistent, slow to adapt and energetic.
Spirited children may display:
Intensity. Their response to a situation is usually immediate and strong. There is no middle of the road.
Persistence. These children are committed to their task; unwilling to give up. They love to debate.
Sensitivity. Spirited kids respond to the slightest noises, smells, lights, textures, or changes in mood. They are easily overwhelmed by the number of sensations they encounter.
Perceptiveness. Spirited children notice everything. They are easily distracted, and are often accused of not listening.
Adaptability. Spirited children are uncomfortable with change and do not shift easily from one activity to another.
Energetic. They have a real need to move that comes from inside. They tend to be busy—taking things apart, exploring, creating.
It's easy to develop a negative pattern of reacting to behaviors with criticism and punishment. Children need to know they have unconditional love and support. They need affection, positive comments, and encouragement.
Some behaviors can be managed by changing parenting strategies. Others require intervention by trained medical or mental health professionals. Don't be afraid to seek professional help if the child's behaviors have a negative effect on the family or the child's successful development.
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