Friday, May 18, 2012

Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog.  We’ve created it in response to your “gentle nudges.”  We want it to be interactive so we hope you’ll use the comment box to let us know what you are thinking and to ask your questions. 

You can expect from us information based on the latest research and practical strategies we’ve learned from decades of working with parents and children.  Our philosophy is that each child is a unique bundle of temperament, development and possibilities.   You can count on us to help you discover more about who has come to be with you.  And just as you’ve “nudged” us to start blogging, we’ll nudge you to gain insights into your child, their cues and behavior as well as your own. 

Our research-based strategies will help you to build strong, healthy relationships that will keep you emotionally connected with your children for a lifetime.  We take a family approach knowing that any strategies have to work not only for your child but your entire family as well.  You’ll find them positive, supportive and respectful.  Truly they will help you to get out of the power struggles and win together for a lifetime. 

So help “nudge” us forward by sending your questions and we’ll gently encourage and assist you in becoming the competent and confident emotion coach your child needs to fully develop the gifts he/she has been given.    


  1. I am so excited abou this blog! Your books have helped me with my spirited kids, and my spirited self. There have been times that I have wished there was a way to ask you a specific qeustion, and now there is! Cannot wait to learn more from you in this format! Thank you for all you do!!!

  2. My spirited son just turned 8 3 days ago, we had his party yesterday. Very small gathering of friends, he does better that way. He had a great day. Today his behavior is horrid. He is very easily frustrated, yelling, and rude. I just talked with him and he told me he is upset that his birthday is over. Any suggestions of how to help him, and what we could do next year to avoid this again.

  3. Hi, Mary and Lynn!
    I'm not sure where to send this question, so I thought I'd just put it here. My son just turned two on Sunday. He's been spirited since he stopped having reflux pain when he was about 10 weeks old. He fits all nine traits of the spirited child that you write about in your book, Mary. He's ALWAYS been prone to tantrums, but we've worked on trying to navigate them by giving him lots of warning about changes coming (i.e. "in a few minutes we're going to change your diaper, or get in the car, or get in the highchair"). Recently, though, he's gone from bad to worse with the tantrums and these are usually caused when he doesn't get what he wants. Here's an example from yesterday: He wants a specific type of cracker in the car which I simply don't have, so I offer him another... this makes him go OFF THE WALL with screaming, so much so that he starts shaking and can't breathe. I have spoken with my therapist, who's very helpful with raising a spirited child and she tells me that I should say, "This must be very frustrating for you" and then just let him continue to "express himself". But when that crazy type of screaming goes on for another 10 minutes, it's really difficult for me to a) not snap and b) not try to just placate him by literally turning the car around to go to a grocery store and buy him the crackers that he wants.

    What would your suggestions for us when the crazy tantrums happen with a 2-year old who's seemingly too young to reason and communicate with easily?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. First, thanks for your wonderful first book and the help and insight it has provided my husband and I. We have two highly spirited children, each fitting a different set of traits on the spectrum, and the continue to amaze and challenge us. Our son just turned five. I stopped to think and realized that it has been a full TWO YEARS of pointed dinnertime battles with him. He has always been a picky eater. We offer healthy choices, and at dinner time usually have a protein/veggie main dish plus sides that may include fruit, cheese, bread, etc. If dinner is not from his list of acceptable foods (macaroni or pizza, which we only have on occasion) he will cry and refuse to eat. For a while I simply said, "that's fine, you're choosing not to eat dinner." But as a nutritionally minded parent I could only let that slide so long, realizing that weeks (or, gulp, months???) could potentially go by without a vegetable passing his lips. His tenaciousness astounds me. We instituted a 3-bite rule and have sometimes sat over an hour at the table with him, calmly, to get through it. Two years in, I am, needless to say, weary of this and baffled as well. He won't even TRY foods, simply crying when he sees something outside of the norm presented. At 3 yrs this seemed more manageable; now at 5 yrs old it infringes upon social dinners with friends, etc. and I am tempted to give in to the whining sometimes just to make myself feel sane. thoughts?

    1. Just wanted to throw the name of a great book out there the dietician I worked with at Early Childhood Intervention always is "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter. Hope it helps=)

  5. Wonderful that you have opened this resource up! I have a very spirited daughter who is 3-years-old and in time out as I type this=) With a baby on the way, I look forward to the advice you will publish and just feeling together with other parents of spirited children as I become a momma of two. God has blessed me with the books you put out and I am sure this resource will be the same! Rachel

  6. Thank you for another wonderful resource and the opportunity to post. All of my 3.5 year old's tantrums have been centered around my 10 month old. He dislikes when the baby tries to be near him, touch him and yells or babbles to get his attention. He doesn't understand the baby just wants to show his love and I can't make the baby understand his big brother is sensory sensitive. The baby has separation anxiety and it's difficult to give equal attention to both boys. My son acts out in anger and frustration if I'm not immediately available, and while I understand why, when he tries to push the baby or snatch away toys or say mean things, we ask him to stop and he has a meltdown. I want to help my son with his anxiety and encourage sibling harmony, but stuck between two crying children I often feel lost. These intense episodes happen daily, and I feel disheartened, sad and worn out. But I don't want to give up either.

  7. I have a VERY spirited child. In fact, when I read the book about Raising a Spirited Child, I alternated between crying and laughing and wondering who was recording our lives. (Another one of our four is spirited also but in a different manner; she is also slowly maturing which helps a lot) By the way, both of our spirited kids are adopted. Our two biological kids are not spirited so all of this has been a new experience for us. Anyway, one of the strongest traits of my 5 year old spirited child is persistence. He does not give up. Ever. And when he has in his mind the way things should happen and it doesn't happen that way, he gets agitated and is not much fun to deal with. He thinks he is the only person in the house who has something to say and will talk over everyone (whether he really has something to say or not). I have tried ignoring that but it is hard when he is in my house screaming in this panicked mode about something that is not scream-worthy. Please know I love him dearly. He is witty, fun, energetic, creative, and humorous. But I go to bed many days feeling like I have been in battle all day long. I give warnings as much as I can when we are about to transition or if I know things may not go the way he wants but there are times I cannot predict what will happen. Or sometimes my warnings about changes go unheeded because he seems to think if he can't hear me, it can't be true. I welcome any advice for dealing with the persistence issue.

  8. My almost 7 year old is a very spirited child (I recognized him as high needs as a baby) and we've put a lot of your suggestions in your book to use. He gets lots of warning of changes in routine, he gets lots of sleep etc etc. My biggest problem with him now is that he won't talk. When he gets upset about something he just makes sort of grunting noises. I can't help him to deal with how he's feeling if I don't know what it is he's feeling. I need to know the "right" questions to ask.

    Do you have any suggestions for how to get him to talk to me?