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473 of 480 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sanity Saver!
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...
Published on April 26, 2007 by Coco Rogers

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420 of 445 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading, but Ultimately Disappointing
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...
Published on April 16, 2009 by miscellany78


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473 of 480 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sanity Saver!, April 26, 2007
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
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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420 of 445 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading, but Ultimately Disappointing, April 16, 2009
This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (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?"

And speaking of age, I think parents would be greatly served by either dividing the contents of this book up by age level, or having an entirely separate books for toddlers and teenagers. Kurcinka's many anecdotes literally run the gamut from infancy to young adulthood and they are blended together without hesitation. I think the book really suffers from the curse of trying to please everyone at once.

Like I said, "Raising Your Spirited Child" is a joy in many ways, especially if it feels like your child is somehow out of sync with everyone else's kids and you haven't found much sympathy out there in the world. Kurcinka knows how you feel and she is a wonderful voice of empathy and understanding. But, don't expect a step-by-step guide to handling your daily parenting woes.
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85 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Are NOT Alone!, April 21, 2010
By 
Molly Kiely (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
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. Instead, the suggestions are interspersed throughout the book and tend to be more touchy-feely and qualitative; listen, understand, anticipate, have patience. "Tried and true" discipline is ineffective and often makes matters worse -- be creative and flexible. Reward charts are pointless -- the kid needs to decide for herself and no external motivation will help. I would recommend the Spirited Child workbook; there's also a similar PDF available at southaustinapi dot org under Topic Handouts.

For nursing moms who wonder "When will it ever end??" -- the author doesn't go into weaning methods. Other sources I've turned to (LLL, Attachment Parenting, KellyMom) all confirm that breastfed spirited kids, if not forcibly weaned (mom goes on vacation, inlaws move in to help dad) will continue to nurse well beyond three years. It's simply the easiest way to soothe your kid, and try your best to ignore the criticism from society, family, and friends. It's exhausting, and nursing a 3yo in a bathroom stall sucks, but you aren't alone. Knowing that has been enough for me.

Also, I recommend always having some of the following in your bag: mini size playdoh, mini size blow bubbles, a small slinky, or crayons and a notepad; and to not be embarrassed about ditching your grocery cart or doing a silly dance (seriously, just do a silly dance or pull Groucho glasses out of your purse) and getting your about-to-meltdown kid out of the store asap. Being prepared and not worrying about what other people think has helped me diffuse many meltdowns. Oh, and reread the book again and again. And again.
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79 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource-- I'm purchasing a 2nd copy 10 yrs later!, July 31, 2007
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to search any further....., November 30, 2012
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
In my restless search for a better parenting approach for my spirited child i came upon this book and from then on i needed to search no further. This approach is based on the positive reinforcement, understanding of character and establishing respect with our children. When your child respects you and sees that you have their best interest in mind they will listen better and make better choices.
Spirited children don't do things because they are told to do so, they do them because they understand why it is ok/not ok to do them. Prior to that i was using the popular "you must obey because i am the parent approach" and it was failing miserably. I needed something else.
Instinctually i was using these approaches for some time, but i guess i was looking for some validation from the "experts" so to speak. Once i became consistent with this approach i had a complete turn around with my child. Now we have a wonderful relationship based on mutual love and respect which makes following the rules for her so much easier and without any tantrums or anxieties. Thank you so much for writing this book and dispersing all the negative labels around spirited, talented, dramatic, inquisitive, intelligent, creative, sensitive and beautiful children who if nurtured properly will be adults to change and better the world around them. Thank you for giving us the key to understanding and confidence to try a new method that brings peace and love to family .
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book starts you down right road, but many actually have S.I.D., February 12, 2012
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
I learned about this book/approach in a class offered by a psychologist at our hospital's outreach program 16 years ago. It was so helpful! When my son became school aged, he did very well, but he came home on overload many afternoons. I began to look for other solutions. We learned about sensory integration work with an occupational therapist and this resulted in the biggest changes. He was like a different kid! He had been on sensory overload all those years and we were able to decrease his sensitivity to visual, auditory, touch ect. imput through the help of occupational therapy exercises.

Now he is a freshman at college, living in a dorm. He started thinking he was A.D.D. because his auditory system is still picking up too much background noise and he couldn't block it out. This puts him on edge and ramps him up so he is on the move trying to cope. We found answers for this also, but in doing so, we learned that when children struggle with many of the behaviors outlined in the book, "Raising Your Spirited Child", it is really Sensory Integration Disorder or Dysfunction. Occupational therapists can help with this. We used the H.A.N.D.L.E. Institute for the sensory integration work years ago. Their website is handle.org. (Click on resources, then on publications). They offer a free downloadable pamphlet called "The Real Reasons Some Kids Can't Learn." This is the next step after you have digested "Raising Your Spirited Child." It has check lists for behaviors linked to a child's vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive, visual, and his/her other systems which might be causing the difficult behaviors. Look and see if any of the behaviors are familiar. If so, go this direction for permanent results. It has been a long journey for us, but our son is amazing and thriving in college and in life.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lifeline -- This book changed our home., October 14, 2008
This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
This book has been a lifeline. Rick and I thought we were great parents. We had a gorgeous little girl who was obedient and sweet. Everyone loved her and praised us for doing such a great job. Then we had our son. Everything that "worked" with Ellie caused the opposite effect in Zach. On the verge of defeat and insanity, I found this book. I cannot tell you how much help it has been; how much it has changed our household, improved our relationships and our confidence.

Raising Your Spirited Child is based on past studies of temperaments, but it's much more than that. The author includes tests to help parents identify their children's temperaments (and their own) and then offers practical, effective strategies for dealing with these strong, innate traits.

Much of the text is direct dialog or interaction from the support groups the author leads for parents of spirited children. Real situations are discussed. The book teaches parents to find the root, the triggers, rather than just addressing the behavior. If your child throws a tantrum for no apparent reason, don't just punish them; stop to find out what caused the tantrum so you can prevent it in the future. Then show your child a better way of handling the problem.

My only complaint: I wish the author had offered more suggestions for sleep issues with spirited children. This section of the book contained only two pages of common knowledge. It was not very helpful for my very spirited 3-year-old who still struggles to sleep through the night.

Final Thoughts: This is a must-read for all parents. It has been an enormous help to us in understanding our kids -- both of them! I understand better what they need, what environments help them thrive, even what drives them crazy. I understand myself better, too. All around: the information and suggestions in this book have improved our home. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, April 3, 2014
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After reading the book we then took my grandson to the pediatrician and found out that he has double ear infections and needed tubes after the infection was gone. I would have to say his behavior was ALL ears. He's now an enjoyable little 3 year old. May I say also that he was kicked out of his daycare for behavior and I'm so glad we moved him after finding out they had very little tolerance for 3 year old behavior or finding out about his real problem.
What we learned was always have your child evaluated by a pediatrician before thinking it's behavior.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oh, how i needed this, February 23, 2013
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
This book has been so very helpful and I have not even finished it quite yet! I knew my girls were spirited and one of them was more ... much more. There is a section where she lists like 9 categories and has questions within where you rate your child 1 being the least and 5 the most: eg intensity, persistence, perceptiveness, adaptability, energy, first reaction, and mood. After answering all of these and reading what she had said about them, I had a much better understanding of my girls, and she gives really good ways of curbing these things to make them into the adults that create change. I know that my daughters are on good company. I hold onto the thought that one day, if I continue to guide them in the right direction, they are going to be these totally awesome people who get things done and people are going to look up to them. And when we are in the store experiencing a melt down, that I am trying to gain control of... all the while I feel people looking at me, and I fear they think that I am just a horrible mom with a horrible child... when really she is one of the most loving, but between the energy, persistence and her sensitive heart, it is a lot of work some days.
I know that I am not the only one out there. And I usually reassured everytime I am out. I give my apologies. To those around me and tell them that I am trying to figure out what works, and often I get their understanding, as well as more grace towards my daughters, our situation and myself.
Every chance I have to read it, I always walk away feeling better equipped to parent my spirited children.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best parenting book I've read., February 19, 2011
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This review is from: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic (Paperback)
This book saved my relationship with my son. When he was two, I honestly felt like he was out to get me (and also, that I was a terrible parent for having a child who was constantly melting down). As a totally overwhelmed mother of 3 young children at the time, it was the only book I read in the 18-month period, during which my husband deployed for 6 months and we adopted two more children. I am so, so grateful that I did.

This book changed my perspective on parenting entirely - I could suddenly see that my son's outbursts weren't really about ME (i.e. not defiance)- they were about how HE experienced the world. Once I understood that, I could approach things from a better angle, and our conflicts were really reduced. Also, a change in language ("persistent", instead of "stubborn," for example) helped me to see the value in his challenging personality traits - the things that drive me bonkers will serve him well as an adult.

Three years later, and I have loaned this book to a half-dozen mothers, and every single one has read it cover to cover and then bought their own copy. If you're worried that you're crazy (or your kid is), read this book. Just knowing you're not on your own makes a huge difference.
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