I have a wonderful 4.5 year old son. He is creative, imaginative, intense, and determined. He is also very energetic. And loud. And strong-willed. And what people now politely call “high-spirited.”
Even as a baby, my son did not sit quietly and play with his toys. He required constant entertainment and movement (unless I wanted him to cry, and as a new mother, I definitely did not want him to cry!). We used our front hall as a running track and ran with him back and forth until he was old enough to run on his own beside us. And now that he’s older he jumps around on the furniture and tears across the house pretending to be a superhero.
I often feel like I am raising Calvin from the comic “Calvin and Hobbes.”
(This comic was found here: http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1986/07/20)
And as his parent, I’ve never experienced so much disapproval and judgment from strangers and sometimes even people I know and love.
Things I wish people would stop expecting him to do:
- Sit quietly and play, like other kids. He has a lot of energy and he needs to expend it somehow. Go big or go home, I say!
- Talk quietly. This kid has no concept of an inside voice. And you know what? I don’t really care.
- Stop running around inside. This is Oregon. It’s rainy half of the year (at least). I don’t always have the option of taking him outside, so he gets to run inside. It’s not the end of the world. I don’t think he will run around inside houses as a teenager. I’m sure someday he won’t need to run all the time, but until then, back off.
- To play with a toy the way YOU think he should. I don’t care if the manufacturer intended the toy to be for another purpose. If my kid wants to use it for anything else, it doesn’t really matter. And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about things (so stop with your judgy “MY children learned how to take care of their toys” crap). It just means he has a different idea of how to play with it. And I think that’s great. If it means he wants to pretend he is the Hulk while destroying a Duplo tower, so be it.
So to all those people with their own quiet, docile children or people without kids who think they could do better, stop shooting me those cranky looks and judging my parenting decisions. Every child is different and I’m doing what I think is best for mine. I can’t turn him into something he’s not, and frankly, I don’t want to!
2 thoughts on “How I Feel Raising a High-Spirited Child”
I love his energy! Porter gets a good workout trying to keep up. 🙂 and as for using toys as their intended purpose I hate toys that can only be used one way. What a waste of space. If he can extend the life of a toy by taking a different approach I think that’s just plain creative and frugal. 🙂
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I wonder where all that sit quietly, play by yourself, go to bed at 7:00, sleep through the night, be toilet trained by a certain age, etc. etc., comes from? Plenty of children have those characteristics, and plenty don’t. We had one who never could go to sleep before 10pm, and another who would get up from dinner and say “take me to bed.” Was I supposed to sort of pummel one so he could stay awake and pummel the other around so he’d get tired and fall asleep? I didn’t—I just went with who they were (which fit who I was) and managed a pretty good life for all of us. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good. The main point in that case was for everyone to get enough sleep, and individuals differ on how much is enough. (I admit I was fairly closed-mouthed about the fact that one of my children had a 10pm bedtime 🙂
You’re doing a good job. Not perfect, but good! You’ve got one who is a go-getter, and the world needs him.