Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


“Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a comprehensive guide that offers insights, strategies, and practical advice for parents raising children who are more intense, sensitive, persistent, and energetic – often referred to as “spirited” children. The book acknowledges that these children have unique qualities that, when understood and nurtured, can lead to positive outcomes.

Kurcinka provides an in-depth understanding of spirited children’s behavior and offers tools to effectively manage their challenges. She covers topics such as temperament, emotional intensity, sensory sensitivities, and discipline techniques tailored to these children’s needs.

The book emphasizes the importance of recognizing and celebrating the strengths of spirited children while providing strategies to address common parenting challenges. It guides parents in creating a supportive environment that helps spirited children thrive and build on their natural strengths.

10 Key Takeaways from Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka:

  • Understanding Temperament: Spirited children have a temperament that is more intense, sensitive, and energetic. Recognizing and understanding their unique qualities can help parents respond more effectively to their needs.
  • Celebrating Strengths: Instead of viewing spirited behaviors as solely challenging, the book encourages parents to see them as strengths. These children are often creative, passionate, and determined, qualities that can lead to success.
  • Recognizing Sensory Sensitivities: Spirited children might be more sensitive to sensory stimuli. Understanding their sensory triggers and providing a supportive environment can help them feel more comfortable.
  • Emotional Intensity: Spirited children experience emotions deeply. The book offers insights into how parents can help them manage their emotions and develop emotional intelligence.
  • Positive Discipline: Discipline strategies need to be tailored to a spirited child’s temperament. The book guides parents in using positive discipline methods that address behavior without squashing their natural enthusiasm.
  • Communication: Effective communication is key. Spirited children often have strong opinions and intense reactions. The book provides strategies for fostering open dialogue and problem-solving.
  • Routine and Predictability: Establishing routines and providing predictability can help spirited children feel secure. Consistency provides a sense of stability that can prevent meltdowns.
  • Fostering Independence: Spirited children thrive when given opportunities to make choices and take ownership. Encouraging them to participate in decision-making builds their confidence and cooperation.
  • Parental Self-Care: The book emphasizes the importance of self-care for parents of spirited children. Taking care of yourself ensures that you have the energy and patience needed to support your child effectively.
  • Customized Approach: Each spirited child is unique. The book encourages parents to customize their approach to match their child’s specific temperament and needs.


“Raising Your Spirited Child” guides parents to navigate the challenges and joys of raising intense, sensitive, and energetic children. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka empowers parents to embrace their child’s unique temperament and strengths while offering practical strategies for fostering cooperation, managing emotions, and promoting positive behavior. By understanding and accommodating their needs, parents can create an environment where spirited children flourish, develop resilience, and build on their innate qualities, ultimately nurturing their potential and enhancing family dynamics with empathy and understanding.



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