When it comes to dealing with spirited children, little more raises my fury than the proliferation of the idea that “spirited” is a euphemism for “bratty”. It’s hard enough being the parent to a spirited child without having judgmental mama-nazis on the Internet insinuating that you’re just making excuses for your child. (Yeah, I called you out. WHAT?!)
The idea that a spirited child is more is not an excuse: it’s the truth. On their best days, spirited children are like tornadoes. And that’s when they’re happy. On their worst days, spirited children can be more like dealing with a Category 5 hurricane. Sometimes, all you can do is hold until the storm passes.
A spirited child is not inherently a brat. Any parent of a spirited child will probably be the first to tell you that spirited children can be just as bratty as a non-spirited child. And let’s face it: when they are bratty, it’s often all the worse for everyone because can be worse because a spirited child does not half-ass anything.
But a child does not get a pass to act however they want simply because they are spirited. Spirit is not an excuse to act badly. Blowing raspberries in ears when told not to for the billionth time? Kicking at the passenger in front of them? Buh-RAT.
And the knife cuts both ways. Spirit is not an excuse to not discipline your child. A hapless parent laughing of their child’s behavior with the excuse, “Oh, they’re just spirited!” is not only sad but gives more ammo to the judgmental Internet parenting trolls. (Because they didn’t have enough, right?)
Disciplining a spirited child is just as important — maybe even more so — than non-spirited one. Disciplining a child is often thankless and difficult, and that goes up exponentially when you’re trying to discipline a spirited child. (And god help you if you want to use more gentle, AP-style discipline on a spirited child. According to the wisdom of the Internet, you’re not doing anything at all.)