I completely believe that I have learned more in these first three years of being a Mama then I ever learned in the thirty something years before our children's arrival. And this is not just learning about parenting, this is learning about who I am and who God is shaping me to be as His daughter as well as the mother of these precious children and a wife to my dear husband. Having children has changed me. Having a spirited child has definitely changed me. And that is a good thing. Why you ask? Because in changing as a person, I am also changing for the better as a parent and as a wife to my husband. This doesn't mean it's easy. It's hard. Really hard. But amidst hard work of it all there is so much to be thankful for.
So I am thankful for the things parenting a spirited child is teaching me:
Patience ~ Someone once said to me 'Never pray for patience, because the only way you can receive patience is through trials'. I think there is some truth in that. But I am…
With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue can break bones.
“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
These are words I have posted in our kitchen. I am learning to be patient and watch the tone of my voice more than ever before in my 36 years of life. Having children forces this on us. I have always been complimented on my level of patience, but I always argue that compliment. I may look patient on the outside, but my inner patience is far from perfect. It is tainted with a lot of dark anger within me. Anger and patience don't mix. This is a virtue I have to work on every.single.day. Having a spirited child has magnified this weakness in me. I am learning so much.
A friend once told me "NEVER pray for patience because God will place you in situations to test it." This is a bit of a tongue and cheek saying, but there is some truth to it. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, …
Any strained relationship can cause problems in a family. It is there-in that I feel Jason and I are left with a choice. We can choose to let the strain a spirited child can leave on a family, put a wedge between us as a couple or a wedge between us as parents and our children. That is what Satan would LOVE for us to do. OR we can choose relationship.
Right now we are working on making sure that there is a fair balance in the attention that we give both of our children. Olivia DEMANDS our attention. Mikail doesn't, but he needs it just as much. If we don't give him the attention he needs, then he displays some behaviours that we don't like to see. Mostly this is disobedience and general unhappiness. We don't want this for him, so we really have to consciously make sure he gets the one on one attention he needs. (Not sure how to best give your child the attention he or she craves? The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapmanis an excellent place to start) Olivia ea…
No matter how purposeful we are in trying to become better parents, there are days where we just feel like we failed. It doesn't matter what type of child you have ~textbook child or a spirited child and every child in between~ we are human and we have days where in the heat of the moment, or after the day in and day out of the same old same old, we need some extra encouragement. Who doesn't? Where better to go to than to the Word of our precious Papa.
Here are a few Bible verses I have written out and put up around our house as I try to memorize them so that in the heat of the moment when my child's temperament has just hit the last straw with me, and my strength is about gone, I can read or recite these words of comfort and encouragement and try to remember that this IS a precious child of God~my child~who carries so many blessings even though they feel like burdens at the moment:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mi…
Sometimes it is difficult to see the gifts in spirited children. Before mobility and verbal communication sets in, it all seems loud and annoying intense. Later, once they are mobile and can communicate, it all comes across as such a strong character. I am learning something, however. All of these strong characteristics have very strong gifts within them. Here are some gifts we are already seeing in Olivia:
She has an opinion ~ a voice. A very loud one at that, but this is a positive thing. She knows what she wants and when she wants it. She isn't afraid of voicing her opinion, even at such a young age.
She is very perceptive. If you watch her, she is taking in everything that is around her. Especially what people are doing and saying.
She is very compassionate and sensitive. If someone is hurt, she furrows her brow and makes a sad little whimper. She doesn't quite know what to do with this yet, but we love to see this. She is gentle with her dolls and animals she comes in co…
I remember a very dark two weeks for Jason and myself. Olivia was draining us in every way possible. She was being her busy needy self and was teething four molars and had an ear infection that we didn't know about yet. We just felt like we had nothing left. The night before my big awakening in this Parenting Your Spirited Child journey, I finally threw my hands up into the air and asked Jason in a not so very kind voiceWHAT AM I DOING WRONG? His response was a quiet I don't know. Not exactly what I was looking for. I wanted the comforting words of Nothing, honey. You are the most amazing woman, wife and mother on the face of the earth. Let me hold you and it will all be better. But he was dealing with his own struggles in this battle we seemed to be fighting. I went to bed and in exhaustion and frustration cried myself to sleep.
Why was Olivia constantly screaming? Constantly needing something. Everything. Why couldn't I figure this out? I have 10 years of hands on tea…
"The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is
the word MORE.
They are normal children who....possess [certain
with a depth and range not available to other children"
~Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Raising Your Spirited Child.
Olivia entered this world with an ear piercing, paint peeling scream. From the moment she entered this world it seems that she knows what she likes and doesn't like and so far her way of communicating this is a scream. Hopefully she will outgrow this once verbal language develops. She is extremely aware of her surroundings, especially the people in her surroundings. She doesn't need as much sleep as other babies need and still does not sleep through the night at 15 months of age. She is an active, high energy little girl who skips that lazy first stage of waking up and is ready to go from the moment she wakes up. To get her to sleep, all distractions must be blocked out or she gets this wild, wide-eyed l…
Every child is precious in his or her own way. Some children are 'easy' babies, children and teenagers. Others are a bit more of a challenge.
Mikail was a classic 'easy' baby or 'textbook' baby when it came to temperament. This has carried on into toddler-hood too. He is easy going and likeable. A pleasure to hang around. This doesn't mean he doesn't challenge us as parents. He has his moments too. Who doesn't?
Olivia is a classic 'spirited' or 'strong-willed' child. She has challenged us to levels we didn't know we could be challenged in her short 15 months. I imagine that this will continue on in the years to come. It's been difficult. Really difficult. BUT we have made a breakthrough in our understanding of her and I really wish that there had been a Mama or Daddy out there who had shared their experiences with their spirited baby and toddler so I didn't feel like we ha…