11 Tips for Raising Your Spirited Child

WELL, let me tell you a story.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year has been by far the most challenging year of my mommyhood thus far.
My spirited, amazing Sassy has helped me to pray harder, read more parenting books+google searches+articles, and seek advice from family and friends that I’ve needed and confided in. Why? Well…..I guess so far in my years of being a mom I felt I could handle things myself. I actually can run on little to no sleep pretty well, busy toddlers I can handle, 2 kids wasn’t that huge of an adjustment for me….. UN-TIL B’s tantrums, zestfulness, and at times straight up defiance kicked into FULL gear. {don’t worry it’s JUST with me-thank heavens}
Sure enough, I CAN’T do it alone and am learning to rely on the Lord more and more.
My patience is tried DAILY for probably the past 365 days. literally. O-k…maybe 362…I could have been exaggerating. I will never forget certain tantrums or days I’ve had. Actually that’s a lie…there have been so many they really blur together, but there are those stand-out memories that’ll be here a while.
In fact, I’ll text Brade and I’ll say something like this various mornings
when he is at school::
M:: “We had a top 10 tantrum this morning.”
B:: Really? No… not a top 10? [as in, that is too amazing of a tantrum for him to really think she had a top 10 and HE knows what that means]
M:: Yup, definitely top 10- maybe even top 5!
O-K, so what’s the point of all this?
Let me tell you about what I’ve learned in hopes that some other tired, confused mom can draw strength from a few pointers that help me through my rough days.
Here are 11 things I recommend to the momma of a spirited child 🙂
[in no particular order, here we go]

1. GET OUTSIDE. 

I am dead serious.
When I go outside I feel like everyone is happier. {not all the time, but most of the time…especially right now–bea-u-ti-ful} I feel like Vitamin D makes me a better mom and I come back with more energy than I had before.

Poor J barely survived our snuggly selfies. Dont’ be deceived, he loves me. 😉 

2. Don’t compare your child with others.

This goes without saying, but it’s hard sometimes. But, DON’T do it, it is UNFAIR and UNHEALTHY. Not to mention we generally compare our kid’s weaknesses with another kid’s strength. Um, I don’t want to be compared that way, do you?

3. REMEMBER, you’re a good mom. 

Several times I’ve felt like I’m not a good mom because my daughter won’t listen to me and I can’t get her to. But, then I remember, ya know what? I AM a good mom!  Sure, sometimes Sass straight up defies me over and over again. Then, I follow through with my consequences and feel like the bad guy. Results from following through consequences:: she continues to do the opposite of what I say so it feels pointless…BUT, regardless of this phase or whatever we’re going through she KNOWS that I love her…
I think that’s what matters. [along with trying my darnedest…which I am!]
One of THE most comforting quotes I heard during conference was [and believe me, I had a parenting page I was eagerly awaiting to jot notes down on-story of my life right now]:::
Ah, yes! Doesn’t that make you feel better?
This made me feel SO much better and reminded me that I am doing something right.
 

4. Find the positive. 

I feel like finding the positive is what has kept B and I in the green. I think it’s really easy to not see the positive amidst challenging times…and believe me IT IS, but there is always something positive to be noticed.
For example in MY case, “You are such a good eater B!” 😉
or….”You’re such a good thinker, helper, finder {she helps find stuff that’s lost and finds them way quicker than me}, problem solver, artist…”
“You have such a fun style.” “I love the way you love your brother.” “I love spending time with you.” “I love your hugs.”

 WHATEVER!


TOLD you she was a good helper. Doing J’s hair and all. 🙂

You get it…there are positive tidbits you can always find. Sometimes, believe it or not, she doesn’t like praise which can be frustrating, but that’s mostly when she’s in the RED zone and she isn’t going to take anything well unless it’s like 30 minutes after recuperating. lol.
So, find the positive…you and your child will feel better about it. Seriously, just saying positive words and phrases brings ME energy because positive words bring positive energy..and vice versa.
Try it, you will feel better.

5. Take care of yourself.

 I’ll be honest, I have NEVER felt more selfish with my personal time. Man, I NEED it. I’m talking HOBBIES [doing things that I enjoy at night when kids are asleep-creating stuff, blogging, sewing, talking to friends, watching shows while I craft, working out, shopping Pinterest sewing tutorials that there is no way I can do now, but one day when I have more time ;), WHAT-EVER] I would say hang out with my husband…
but that is just plain not happening right now. 🙂
In a month that will be at the top of my list AFTER Step I.

6. Read scriptures EVERY DAY. 

Yup, this goes with taking care of yourself and part of that is reading scriptures every day. B knows that I turn on “quiet time” [aka:: Sophia the first] for her and then I read scriptures. Every day. There have been times when I’ve been at my breaking point and I’ve locked myself in my room and read scriptures while she was tantruming outside my door. Believe me, it is SO worth it and my soul needs it EVERY day…and if circumstances go against it…I LOCK the door 😉 lol.

Gotta do what ya gotta do.

7. Choose your battles. 

In my particular instance, we are both very persistent–Sassy and I. And sometimes, they’ll be something small we’re arguing about….i.e. She wants another glass of juice. We try to have one juice a day at our house because my kids never stop with anything edible and want more and more til they’ve eaten enough for 3 human beings. [and I feel juice is all sugar anyway] So, sometimes I pull out my persistence and we’re arguing about a glass of juice {and it’s the end of the day and I’m tired from our previous battles so I kind-of want there to be SOMETHING she obeys me about and I keep being persistent….and finally I realize…is this worth it right now?? What am I doing?}. That actually happened tonight…lol…but I kept being persistent and she didn’t get juice. :0 She actually let off eventually and was fine. BUT, you get my point. For this reason, B often [as in more often than not] is wearing mismatched and clashing clothing because it is just not worth it to me…and who cares? She looks adorable no matter what she’s in. You get my point. Choose your battles. Don’t make yourself miserable for no reason.

And, let’s be honest…this outfit does make me smile. 🙂 It is worth it. 😉

8. Leave early.

There are those times you just need to leave! Tantrums are the obvious time to leave-they just aren’t worth it publically…draining, etc..not to mention reinforcing to stay and let them get what the want over and over by staying {though sometimes for my own well being I stay selfishly to talk with friends :?}…second reason, when you see that they are on edge “about to snap” or too overwhelmed with lots of people or whatever else–if signs are pointing to future explosion or crying/upset moments, head out early. This is your sign and moment of prevention. Say you have an appointment if you want, whatever….worth it to leave and leaving is a powerful consequence. Though it hasn’t cured Sassy completely, she DOES remember and when put in the situation again, she does much better.

9. Drive your own car.

This goes along with #8, but in order to follow through you pretty much have to have your own car. I’ve had it happen several times where I couldn’t follow through and we just dealt with a big tantrum at the zoo or wherever else and I couldn’t do much as a natural consequence because I was carpooling. SOooo think beforehand and plan. IF we were going to Disneyland where we are staying the whole day no matter what that is one thing, but I will say B does remember when we leave places early and it almost always causes her to be better the next time…quick learning curve with this one. 😉

10. Let her win.

I remember one day B and I were struggling…rules repeatedly broken, tantrums galore, and not a happy mama. I was spent energy-wise, so I locked myself in my room to read scriptures {like I sometimes do as previously mentioned}. I went in my room and just cried. Then the words came to mind, “let her win.”
I haven’t forgot about those words in my head, the Spirit was definitely trying to teach me.
What I learned from this….sometimes I don’t need to execute natural consequences perfectly, sometimes I just need to hug her and let her cry until she calms down, let her get another piece of candy……why? Why not every now and then…? She IS a kid after all! The funny thing is we both feel equally defeated in many instances because we BOTH aren’t getting our way…so sometimes, it’s okay to throw the parent book out the window and let her win, which sometimes lets me win too. Snuggle her til she relaxes and let her know you love her even though it’s been a rough day.

This is us outside on her birthday party/recital day…she screamed and screamed over who knows what after and I finally tickled her back and snuggled her til she could calm herself down.

11. Be as consistent as you can.

SURE, I love self help books and getting advice and trying it, BUT with all that said it isn’t good to swap up your parenting style drastically {obviously}…so try things while keeping your basic parenting style/discipline/reward-system relatively the same.

Soooo there’s some of my hard learned lessons so far. I wouldn’t trade a day of all this, even if we have had several rough ones. I really feel privileged and blessed to be a mom. And it TRULY is
a GROWING experience. Healthy and stretching for my soul….parenthood brings me needed spiritual traction daily. 🙂 I hope this gives someone encouragement that they aren’t the ONLY parent struggling or whose kid doesn’t always listen to them. 😉 YOU AREN’T alone. 🙂 And, these times are ones we’ll look back on and smile, rigghhht?

OH, one more thing….throw your pride out the window! If you have an extra spirited child, you probably already have from a few public scenes 😉 Remember, how you teach your child and not what other people think is most important…AND, take random peoples words of advice lightly. SURE, sometimes you want advice and seek it from people, other times a random person at the store gives it to you as a loving act as trying to help ;)…in this case, smile and remember YOU know your child. Don’t worry about it.
THE END.
I love my Sassy Sue! She is teaching me every day how to love more and be a better mom. Leave it to the children to help us become better.
Happy parenting! 😉

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