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Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic Paperback – November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Revised edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060739665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060739669
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, M.A., is an award-winning educator in Minnesota's Early Childhood Family Education Program, and founder of the Spirited Child and Power Struggles workshops. She is the bestselling author of Sleepless in America and Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, and she lives with her family in St. Paul, Minnesota.


More About the Author

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, M.A.,has more than twenty years' experience as a pioneer and award-winning educator in Minnesota's Early Childhood Family Education Program, and she is the founder of the Spirited Child workshops. A license teacher and parent educator, she lives with her husband and two children in Eagan, Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

I have been practicing some of the techniques in the book when dealing with my child and already found it helpful.
kristen bourque
There is a lot of helpful information in this book about dealing with parenting issues as well as understanding why a child behaves and acts a certain way.
L. Kump
One made us look like parents of the year and the other made us feel like parents hanging on until I read this book and relaxed into simply what was.
Carol Ummel Lindquist,Ph.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

442 of 448 people found the following review helpful By Coco Rogers on April 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read maybe 15 pages of this book before bursting into tears of relief. At 16 months old, my son has never been easygoing or mellow, but as he entered toddlerhood, I felt like I was failing as a mom because I couldn't control him. I didn't understand why other kids napped for hours, slept through the night at 6 months old, and adjusted quickly to new experiences, while my son still wakes up several times a night, rarely naps for more than an hour a day, and shrieked in rage when he had to start wearing shoes or when he didn't like how his socks felt. Other books recommended a stern, inflexible parenting approach that just resulted in MORE meltdowns, MORE stress, and MORE frustration. Did I mention that "cry it out" was an unmitigated disaster in our house?

Finally, this book validated him, and my husband and me. He's not "bad", we're not failing as parents. He's just more intense, more perceptive, and more sensitive. It takes different strategies for us to be successful and calm than for parents of more relaxed children, but the book really focuses on how to do that, how to help our child be successful with daily life. There are many different levels to any given "spirited child", so this book's scope is not limited to a high-energy kid. Introverts vs. extroverts, energy levels, sensitivity, and so much more are covered in depth. This is not a book about excusing poor behavior, though. The parent is absolutely still the one in charge and still has to work with the child to ensure that they can be spirited and still be productive, safe, and enjoyable members of their family.

If you feel like you're constantly battling it out with your child, that you've lost control, and/or that your child is running you ragged, I highly recommend this book. Oh, you'll probably learn a few things about yourself, as well.
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403 of 428 people found the following review helpful By miscellany78 on April 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Like many of the parent-reviewers here, finding this book filled me with joy. Finally, a parenting book that addresses the unique nature of my intense child! Since the day my son was born, I've been battling criticisms, from my family and even from myself, that I "made" him "high-maintenance" by simply not being firm enough. But reality is a lot more complicated than that; the discipline techniques that other parents use just seem to go right over my son's head, and we both end up tearful and overwhelmed.

So in some ways, this book has been a revelation. There are children out there like mine, and there are effective ways to parent them! Huzzah! That feeling alone makes the book more than worth the purchase price.

However, I think "Understanding Your Spirited Child" would be a far better title for this volume than "Raising Your Spirited Child." Because Kurcinka does write a great deal about how your child feels and why he acts as he does - she gives you a great understanding of his perspective and his emotional needs - but she doesn't give you many specific steps to take. And much of the advice she does give is cloaked in anecdote. Which is fun to read, but hard to use in order to take action. When you can't apply the anecdote exactly to your child (which is often the case, especially if the child in the anecdote is much older or younger than your child is) then you're kind of left empty-handed. I can't tell you how many times I thought, while reading this book, "Okay, I know now that my child is intense and that he is responding this way because he is overloaded. But what do I actually DO about it?
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76 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 31, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a total eye opener when I originally purchased this book 10 years ago! (My son was 2 and my daughter was a newborn!)I've since recommended it and loaned it out so many times that my copy didn't come back the last time! (And I can't remember who has it now!) I both laughed & cried while reading it and I finished it in 1 night (newborn-remember?)It really helped both my husband and me see what WE were doing differently--not necessarily "wrong", just not RIGHT for our son--and WE made changes. (Note to the person who wrote "this book had no tips we could use": read it again & remember you're the parent who needs to guide the child.) We realized simple things--we shouldn't have taken him on numerous errands at the end of his day or WE paid for it (our son doesn't handle ANY change well and he still doesn't--he's 12 now!) We've had to teach HIM how to handle difficult situations. I'm now going to read it again to help with the preteen years for both of my children!
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74 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Molly Kiely on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For years I've tried to make the glares, comments, and criticism from strangers, friends, and family about my child's behaviour roll off my back. Separation anxiety, sleeplessness, fear of pooping, public meltdowns, violent tantrums (ever been clocked by a three-year-old girl? Ouch.), needing to be held and carried constantly, seemingly excessive nursing, preferring to be naked, forgetting to eat, refusing to sit still. I've stood my ground about not crying it out, about not pushing to toilet train her (FYI: one day she just decided to wear panties and that was it), not forcing her to eat at the dinner table, and insisting on the family bed.

Sound familiar to you? It's been a lonely haul, it's tried my relationships -- but, finally, after reading this book I've realized that I'm not alone, my daughter is not all that unusual (falls well within the range of normal, is the term used in the book), and trusting my instincts about what my kiddo needed is the best thing for her. Raising Your Spirited Child celebrates our challenging kids and offers parents affirmation and hope.

The book teaches you to view seemingly negative traits in a positive way: stubborn is determined. Annoying is persistent. Kids who dawdle are perceptive. Introverted or extroverted are not good or bad, they just "are", and it's hardwired. And if you didn't have an inkling yourself: spirited kids are often ahead of the curve. More articulate. More imaginative. More fun (along with being more of a pain in the tush ;) )

For those reviewers who found few concrete steps to take with your spirited child, I would agree: there is no specific to-do list included in the book.
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