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10 Signs You Might Be Raising a Spirited Child

I was talking with some friends the other day about our kids. One of them asked, "How do I know if my son is spirited?" I stifled a chuckle. If you have to ask if your child is spirited, he probably isn't. But just in case you're still wondering, here are some signs that your child just might be spirited:

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1. It's not just a phase

You're still waiting for the Terrible Threes to pass, and your daughter is 10. She was a "High Needs Baby," and the only part she outgrew was "baby."

2. You have a support team

You're on a first-name basis with the social worker at your son's school, and his teacher has you on speed dial. You've been considering a therapist for him since he was 4. And, you may have once Googled "gypsies" in hope of finding a nice band to purchase your wild child.

3. People drop 'helpful hints'

Well-meaning people at the playground sidle up to you and ask, "Have you read that book, you know, 'The Highly Sensitive Weird Kid Who Only Wears Grey and Won't Eat Food That's Not Beige?'" And then they say, "I'm not saying that describes your kid or anything," in attempt to backtrack as your prickly daughter runs up to you, clad head-to-toe in grey, and asks if you brought Cheerios.

Your child has no 'medium' setting. Whatever he's feeling, he feels it with his whole body and soul.

4. Sleep: She doesn't need it

She's not sleeping through the night yet, though she's in elementary school. She's up at dawn and makes sure everybody else in the household is, too.

5. Tears

Sometimes you feel completely inept at parenting your particular child, and it moves you to tears.

6. Tears, part II

Other times you know in a deep, still place that you are exactly the right parent for your particular child, and that moves you to tears.

7. The things people say

Diplomatic people describe your son as determined, intense or spirited. Undiplomatic people ask, "Have you considered corporal punishment?"

8. The boundless energy

Your daughter is like a wind-up toy that is always wound up. You sometimes stay up late wondering if you could invent a way of transferring some of her energy to you, leaving her limp and lazy while you perkily tackle your to-do list. While you wait for the technology to transfer human-to-human energy to become available, you settle for All the Coffee so you can keep up with your girl.

9. Intensity—for your kid

Your child has no 'medium' setting. Whatever he's feeling, he feels it with his whole body and soul. If he's happy, he's Disneyland on crack happy. And if he's pissed? The whole neighborhood knows. And maybe even the next town over.

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10. Intensity—for you

This kid stirs the deepest wells of worry within you and the warmest waves of pride. Some nights, after a hard day with your son, you worry that you should be saving money for bail instead of college. Other nights, he squeezes you tight at bedtime. As you say goodnight, you catch the love gleaming in his eyes even in the darkness of his room, and you sink down onto your own pillow and whisper thank you.

Image via Twenty20/marty1468

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