Surviving My “Spirited” Child

Surviving My Hard Child
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The “spirited child” can be tough when it comes to parenting.

Sometimes I don’t think anyone could make me as angry when there’s a conflict or a power struggle. I originally titled this “Surviving My ‘Hard’ Child”, but she’s not “hard” all of the time, she’s more like the sour patch candy slogan, “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet.” Hence the change from “hard” to “spirited.”

Whenever I am having a rough day of parenting my “spirited” girl, I stop and think of the future. I think, “this will be funny later when we look back on this incident when she’s older.” It will be a story we tell her college friends or her future spouse about how she behaved growing up and always gave me a run for my money. I like to fast forward and picture everyone 5 or 10 years from now, and how the issues I care about now won’t even be problems when they are teenagers or young adults. (I will have a whole set of new ones).

When she tests my patience, I picture her in her early 20s and the fun that the two of us and her sister will have on our girls’ only trips to the beach every year or traveling the world together.

When we butt heads, I picture what a strong leader she will be on some sports team, some school club, or at some company where she works.

When she is stubborn and refuses to eat or try new food, I picture her and I exploring the city, and trying new restaurants with different types of cuisine because we enjoy diving into the culture of food.

When she throws a tantrum, I picture her in her 30s and we are just two grown women having heart to heart conversations about life and neither of us judge the other because I know her faults and she knows mine.

Taking a moment to stop, pause, and to imagine the future version of her has helped me power through the hard days and the challenging times that, in the moment, seem like I won’t survive. It is a tool that has worked in helping me relax a little bit more and tell myself it will be ok, but has also made me even more excited for the future and when I get to meet the future adult version of her that I don’t know yet.

And yes, I could be wrong.

This could go in the opposite direction and my child could use her spirited powers for evil (I’m focusing on the positives here) but either way, I’m hanging on for the ride.

Do you have a “spirited” child? Tell us about them in the comments below!