Spirited Children: A Blessing or a Curse?

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Our kids don’t have to look or act like every other kid. Uniqueness is a true blessing from God.

Upon taking her first breath, my little Nora was ALL energy.  Even at the age of 3 months, I can remember laying Nora under her play mat where she would spend the next 5-10 minutes moving every single part of her body 100 miles an hour, as if she was training to run an Olympic marathon (or a 100 meter sprint rather).

{Help for the visual learner – feel free to check out this video that a friend of mine took when Nora was 4 months old.}

Of course Nora (oh sweet Nora) hasn’t slowed down one bit over the past three years.  Not. One. Bit. Not only is her physical strength and endurance like none I’ve ever seen before, but her emotional energy is the same.  ”Nora is the Super Ball in a room full of rubber balls.  Other kids bounce three feet off the ground.  Every bounce for Nora hits the ceiling.”  Italics mine. (Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Raising Your Spirited Child)

Oftentimes I find myself wondering if I drank too much coffee when Nora was in utero.  Or could her energy/spunk/emotional rollercoster-ness be something that I’VE created… or worse yet, a curse?! I’m constantly questioning what I’m doing wrong in my mothering of my little spark plug.

Can anyone else relate?!

Although I’m tempted to allow my thoughts the opportunity to spiral downhill into a sea of discouragement when it comes to parenting Nora, God so often reminds me of Dr. Kimmel’s words in Grace Based Parenting…

“To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s work of grace in their hearts.  Grace not only means that God loves them even through they are sinners, but that He loves them uniquely and specially.” (p. 141)

God loves Nora (and your spirited child) JUST. THE. WAY. THEY. ARE.

Our kids don’t have to all look like or even act like every other kid.

Ahhhh.  Isn’t that freeing?!

When my focus is on Nora’s outer appearance and actions, I’m in for a world of disappointment.  But when I chose to focus on her inner self (what God cares about the most), I am more easily able to embrace who God created her to be.

Now I’m not claiming to be an expert in raising Spirited Children, but I will say that I’ve learned a lot over the past three years. Below you’ll find a few things that have helped (and continue to help) me to embrace Nora’s uniqueness as a true blessing from God:

1. CELEBRATE.

Celebrate the person that GOD has created in your little one!  He knew exactly what He was doing when He created Nora and when He created your little one. And to Him – it all works together perfectly – for His glory.

Praise God!

2. DON’T COMPARE

Comparison is a killjoy. It will steal every ounce of contentment in your heart and leave you feeling empty.  Every time.  You can count on it.

Surround yourself with friends who will speak truth into your life when you start to play the comparison game and who will treasure your child for who they are.  These friends for me have helped me tremendously when I start to fall into the mental trap of focusing on my “have-nots.”

3. YOU’RE NOT ALONE

When you’re in the thick of it, it’s tempting to feel like you’re the only one raising a spirited child.  Well – you’re not!  According to research, 10 to 15 percent of all children living in this country fit the description of a spirited child.  That means there are lots of parents who understand what you’re going through.  Your child is not an oddity.  You are not the world’s worst parent.  You are not alone.

Let’s all take a sigh of relief together after that one.  “Ahh……”

4. NORMAL BUT DIFFERENT

Each child is unique to God. But let’s be honest with ourselves, some are more “normal” than others.  And in Nora’s case it’s been important for me to embrace the idea that she’s normal but different.  And different is good.

Giving her the freedom to be different, as Dr. Kimmel discusses in Grace Based Parenting, is one of the key objectives we have in our home.  Nora doesn’t have to be like any other kid that we know, because she isn’t anyone else.  She’s Nora, normal but different.  And EXACTLY who God created her to be.

Written by Stephanie Flies 

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