How to raise a stubborn child ?

This is a book summary of Raising Your Spirited Child. The work from Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a book that explores the world of spirited children. These are kids who are often seen as ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’, but Kurcinka argues that they are actually ‘more’ i.e. more intense, more sensitive, more persistent, and more energetic. She shows that the key to parenting them well is to understand these traits.


Kurcinka explains the concept of temperament, which she thinks is the basis of a child’s personality. She says that spirited children have a distinct temperament, and their behaviour comes from their natural traits. She urges parents to recognize their child’s temperament and how it affects their behaviour.

Kurcinka gives various strategies to help parents handle their spirited child’s behaviour once they understand their child’s temperament. She stresses the need to create a stable and predictable environment for their children. It is because, it has been observed that such children often have trouble with changes and transitions. She also recommends using positive feedback and rewards to motivate good behaviour.

Kurcinka also talks about the need to establish clear limits and use consistent discipline. She advises parents to be strong but fair. She advises steer clear of power struggles with their spirited child. She also suggests that parents teach their child how to approach problems, so they can cope with their intense emotions and behaviours.

Kurcinka examines how a spirited child’s behaviour can change in different situations. She discusses how these children act at school, with their friends, and in social events. She also gives tips for handling their behaviour in these different settings.

Following are the important tips she highlighted in the book.

Practical Tips

Some Practical tips for parents to manage spirited behaviour in children by Kurcinka are:

  1. Establish a Routine: Create and maintain a consistent daily schedule to provide structure and predictability for the child
  2. Parent proactively: Set clear expectations and give warnings to help the child prepare for transitions or changes
  3. Use Discipline that makes sense: Employ discipline that is logical and preserves the parent-child relationship, such as natural consequences and empathetic communication
  4. Find solutions, Not just control: Focus on problem-solving and teaching the child alternative behaviors rather than simply trying to control their spirited nature
  5. Acknowledge and label emotions: Help the child identify and label their emotions, and provide them with tools to manage their feelings
  6. Scaffold self-regulation and compliance: Support the child in developing self-regulation skills and compliance by providing guidance and assistance when needed
  7. Take breaks and practice self-Care: Recognize the importance of self-care for parents and allow for breaks to recharge and maintain patience
  8. Reframe everything: View the child's spirited nature as a strength and focus on their unique characteristics and strengths

These tips aim to help parents understand and support their spirited children in a positive and effective manner, promoting a harmonious and nurturing environment for both the child and the family

To some up this is a complete guide for parents of spirited children. Kurcinka encourages parents to accept their child’s temperament and view it as a positive quality, not a negative one. She highlights that spirited children are often inventive, passionate, and energetic, and that these qualities can be used for positive behaviours.

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