'Spirited Child?'.....Let's Take It In The Right Spirit!

This is a sponsored post for Kellogg's Chocos which has first been published on MyCity4Kids.com 

Its been a month since school began. The honeymoon period is clearly over; and with it, has waned the novelty of the new school year. Initially, our kids were looking forward to schools reopening and a new routine taking over. New books were to be read, new uniforms to be tried on and most importantly, new friendships were to be forged…And now, with the month gone by swiftly, they are settling into this newness with a familiarity that is growing by the minute.
We parents too, were looking forward to the beginning of a new school year. We were excited about getting to know new teachers, fellow parents; and of course, our little ones were a year older! Yayy! But now that we are close to our first PTMs, we are equally looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.
‘What does the teacher think of my son's behaviour?’
‘What does the teacher think of my daughter academically?’
‘What do other kids think of my son?’
‘Has my daughter made any new friends?’

These are just a few questions that are swirling through our minds right now, as we worry about what this initiation in the new academic year has been like for our children.
While it is normal for all parents to worry, for some parents, this worry is more real than others, because they know their children have ‘a mind of their own’…or are ‘spirited’ as they like to put it… In fact, ‘spirited’, ‘energetic’, ‘animated’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘fiery’, ‘strong willed’, ‘headstrong;’ – are some of the often used adjectives for children by some parents.
Now, this is alright, according to experts and the advocates of new-age parenting. In fact, modern parenting believe, that children should be given their freedom, that we should not force our ways on them, and that children should be encouraged to come up with their own individual ideas instead. New-age parents are ‘buddies’ of their children who believe that it is ‘okay’ if a child is not obedient, so long as he/she is coming up with ideas that are innovative and relevant. Modern parenting is all about raising children who challenge the norms and not accept them merely because someone in a position of authority says so. 
The only thing is, this doesn’t always go down well with the parents :) There are occasions when parents feel that children are 'testing their patience'. There are times when they think it would be much better if children just listened to what parents have to say rather than come up with an alternative of their own! It is frustrating for parents sometimes, when they want to get something done in a particular way; and their children have different ideas. It gets challenging to get these 'strong willed' children to ‘obey’ their parents.
And sometimes, this gets to a point where a power-struggle ensues. Many children respond to being forced to obey, by rebelling. They become stubborn, answer back, and become inflexible, difficult or even defiant. This only leads to parents resorting to ‘time-outs’ and punishments to ‘improve’ or ‘handle’ their ‘unruly’ children. We need to ask ourselves here, if we want our children to obey us just because we are saying something, or because they believe it is right?
What we as parents forget, is that if a child is ‘spirited’ or strong willed, it is actually good news! If we can just look beyond the fact that we need to deal with a ‘difficult’ child, we will see that having a strong-will is actually a sign of having a strong character. Being strong willed and ready to stand up to someone means that the child isn’t afraid of standing up for something he believes in. It means that he is courageous enough to even stand up to a parent to prove his point.
Now, this may look like it undermines the parents’ authority, but let’s take a step back and think – is it important for parents to really win every argument they have with the child?
Being spirited essentially means that a child is more energetic, more perceptive, more observant, more sensitive than most of her peers. It just means that her brain, her thoughts and her little body is working at a speed that is faster than most of her friends’. Being strong willed is a sign of having integrity. It is a sign of having courage. Punishing such behaviour or giving time-outs to a child who is arguing to make her point will break her spirit, it will break her will; and the only lesson the child will take from this, is that it is not okay to stand up for what she thinks is right. Is this really what we want our children to grow up thinking?
We need to ask ourselves, why, every time children decide to argue with us or prove their point, does it have to mean a power struggle for us?
I am not, for even a minute, saying we should give in to all their demands, no. All I am saying is, why not give children the responsibility and the freedom of making their own choices – choices that we parents can live with? This way children get the confidence that it is entirely his/her decision; while we are happy that children chose one of the two choices that we gave them in the first place.
Honestly, as much as we want a loving, lasting relationship with our children; we also want our children to grow into responsible, independent beings, who are masters of their own destiny and are not afraid to speak their mind. But this is not going to happen by itself, miraculously. We parents need to work for it. We have to make efforts; maybe even bend over backwards at times, so our children become at least a semblance of what we wish them to be.
And this will not happen if we insist our children always ‘obey’ us.
It will happen if we understand them, acknowledge them and know what makes them tick. We need to accept them for what they are, not embarrass them, not disapprove of them; but show them that they are special and it’s a great thing, just so long as they follow certain rules of morality.
So, if children seem to be spirited, hyper, energetic, over enthusiastic or strong willed, rejoice!
These children already possess some of the best qualities a person can have. Now all that we parents need to do is ensure that their energy is harnessed in the right way to build the sons and daughters we have always wished them to be!  

Image courtesy: Pixabay.com