The Fussy Baby Site

Temperament and Fussiness: When Do I Know if My Child is Spirited?

Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of the book, Raising Your Spirited Child, first coined the term ‘spirited child’ over 20 years ago.

Being careful not to slap labels on kids (especially babies), she instead focuses on redefining our understanding of how our child reacts to their environment. Sometimes referred to as the ‘difficult child’, Dr. Kurcinka prefers to refer to these children as simply, more: More active, more intense, and more sensitive.

When Can You Start to Suspect your Baby May be ‘Spirited’?

Did your baby nearly break your ribs from the force of his kicks while in utero? Were you aware of your baby’s reaction to certain foods you consumed while she was still in the womb? You may have begun to suspect you had a very sensitive child, even at that point.

When you spent those first few days in the hospital postpartum, did the nurses comment on your baby’s ‘healthy lungs’? Did they ask you to keep your baby in your room because she was waking up the other babies?

Or maybe you started to notice his intense reactions once you settled in at home. How did he react to his first bath? Did he melt into the water and relax, or did he turn red and scream at the top of his lungs?

Maybe your baby didn’t even cry a lot, but you noticed her extreme awareness of her environment, and her sensitivity to loud noises. Perhaps she requires you to go into a dark, completely quiet room to feed, or her aversion to being put down (ever).

All of these reactions can tip you off to the fact that your baby may be spirited.

This is the way she came. She does have that more reactive system, she is more sensitive and perceptive, and as a result, we need to be a little more protective of her. Even though there will be times when she cries, or when she is upset, when she is overwhelmed…it’s not because we’re bad parents, or ineffective in setting limits. Right now she’s overwhelmed. -Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

If this sounds like your baby, read more about the characteristics of the spirited child.

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