Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994 Page: 18
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AT 5 YEARS OF AGE, TIMMY IS A
thin, perpetual-motion machine. Seem-
ing to need much less sleep than other
children his age, he stays awake until late in
the evening and rises with the sun. During
the day he is seldom still. Two preschools
have already strongly recommended that he
might be better served at other schools.
"We're the only family I know of to have a
child kicked out of preschool," says his exas-
Timothy is a strong-willed child. He is
highly energetic, intense, and demands a
great deal of attention. At times his daring
behavior frightens his parents, and most of
the time he simply frustrates them.
Like Timmy, some children exhibit strong
personalities at early ages, severely testing
the best of parents. And even though strong-
willed children have the same—or more—
potential than others, they can be a major
Fortunately, there are effective ways of
parenting such strong-willed children, shap-
ing their behavior, and guiding their person-
ality to healthy expressions. Here are some:
• Adopt a positive perspective of your child.
How would you describe a child who could
scream for 45 minutes because his toast has
been cut in triangles when he was expecting
rectangles? That child, Joshua, is the son of
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, director of Min-
nesota's largest Early Childhood Family
Education program. In her book Raising
Energetic, intense, and
spirited children test
even the best of
effective ways exist
to help shape their
personality to healthy
By Victor Parachin
Your Spirited Child, she tells of her
frustrating search for help to parent
Joshua properly: "The only informa-
tion I could find that described a kid
like him used words such as difficult,
strong-willed, stubborn, mother-killer, or
Dennis the Menace."
Repulsed by such negative views of a
child, she deliberately adopted the word
"spirited" because it was a positive term.
"Spirited—it feels good, sounds good, com-
municates the exciting potential of these
kids, yet honestly captures the challenge
faced by their parents," says Sheedy Kur-
cinka. "When we choose to see our children
as spirited, we give them and us hope. It
pulls our focus to their strengths rather than
their weaknesses, not as another label but as
a tool for understanding."
• Stay grounded with ground rides. Every
family should establish reasonable rules that
will be honored by all family members.
Children function better and feel more se-
cure when the family rules are clear and con-
sistently respected. Even though all children
will challenge family routines and rules, it is
important not to cave in to the charm, de-
mands, and persistent pleas of children.
One of the surest ways to upset any prog-
ress made in parenting is to be inconsistent.
"I have met parents who at one time will
punish their children for staying out past
curfew and at other times ignore the curfew
completely...," (continued on page 51)
Scouting March-April 1994
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994, periodical, March 1994; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353616/m1/18/: accessed January 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.