Thursday, January 31, 2008

Our Spirited Little Oak

Many of you think you have a strong willed child, but I know I do. Dr. Dobson says so. Actually in his book, The Strong-Willed Child, he describes both my boys - almost as though he knows them!

"Some youngsters are naturally warm and loving and trusting, while others sincerely believe the world is out to get them. Some enjoy giving and sharing, whereas their siblings are consistently selfish and demanding. Some smile throughout the day while others complain and bellyache about everything from toothpaste to turnip greens."

Joseph and I often reflect on how opposite our boys are from one another. It is especially amazing to me. I am very different than my siblings, but always attributed that to being adopted. I guess I thought kids coming from the same mom and dad would not only look similar, but have similar personalities. My boys are proving my theory wrong. They look like brothers, but that's where the similarities end.

We have always had a harder time with our eldest child, but had high hopes that as he got older things would get easier. And lately it seems like they are not. Everything is a battle of the wills. Any request, no matter how small it is, is met with opposition. If I only had 1 child this would be tiring, but with 4 children it is exhausting.

I want desperately to shape his will, while preserving his spirit and am not sure how exactly to accomplish this feat. Caleb has both mine and Joseph's strongest characteristics. He's super intellegent, sensitive, strong-willed, argumentative, intense, and perceptive. Those are a lot of strong qualities for such a little boy.

My prayer is that God will show Joseph and I how to set firm bounaries for this "spirited child" and that our little oak will grow with strong roots in the self-control and gentleness department.

ps. I'm not sure that I loved the The Strong-Willed Child. While it reaffirmed our suspicions that we indeed have one it didn't really give any practical/useful advice on how to deal with him.


Sincerely Anna said...

The leaders of tomorrow...blah blah blah. I hear that all the time from my mom about Max! But it's so hard now keeping up with the mental gymnastics to keep order in the house, isn't it? Then, add to that the physical energy that it takes to keep up with their activity!

I read a great book called Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Kurcinka, last year. It was chock full of practical advice. I found it at the library and noticed that there were at least 4 or 5 very worn copies so I figured it must be pretty good! It's from a secular point of view, but still full of great wisdom for parenting the child who is MORE intense, perceptive, energetic, sensitive, etc. It was an easy read, too.

Sincerely Anna said...

Plus, I agreed with your opinion about Dobson's book. I usually like his fact, I loved the book Dare to Discipline, but The Strong Willed Child wasn't my favorite. Since most people already know the definition by now, it's kind of outdated, IMHO.

The Mad House said...

It's so funny you mention that book...I just ordered it yesterday! Yeah! I didn't know anything about it before ordering, but thought it sounded like what I needed!