What Is A Spirited Child?

Has someone ever said to you that your child is ‘spirited?’ They may have described your child in a way that you don’t understand, so it’s important to know what this means.

What Is A Spirited Child

Having a spirited child is not a bad thing, or a negative thing at all. It just means that you may need to deal with them in a different way than you first thought. So, what is a spirited child, and how do you differentiate a ‘spirited’ child from others? 

What Is A Spirited Child?

A spirited child is nothing to be afraid of. It is a normal child, but slightly ‘more’ in many different ways. For instance, a spirited child may be more intense, more perceptive, more persistent, more sensitive and generally more than the average child. 

Having a spirited child may be slightly more strong willed than others. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, and may be more persevering than other children.

Some may even be slightly more of a handful to deal with as they could be less yielding than other children, and less likely to handle change as well as other children. 

Some say that their child is ‘stubborn’, whereas others prefer the term ‘spirited’. Your child may feel difficult at times, or that they are unwilling to deal with emotions, changes and may struggle to focus.

However, you are not alone in this, and many parents have ‘spirited’ children. So, what signs can you look out for in spirited children? 

How To Tell If You Have A Spirited Child

One of the many signs of a spirited child is if they are seemingly very dramatic. They may not have a strong grasp on their emotions, and may have a meltdown over minor incidents and changes in their lives or routines. 

Others may seem very intense, and may be very sensitive to certain things. This could simply be a disruption in their day, or the fact that different food is being served than normal. Small discrepancies can be a big deal to a spirited child.

In addition to this, a spirited child may be extremely perceptive in many ways. They may notice various things happening around them, and will pick up on things very easily in ways that other children may not.

For instance, they will notice your emotions, and feed off of them. They may also be able to manipulate you easily, as they will pick up on when you’re feeling down or sad.

Spirited children can be difficult to live with, as they may also be very persistent, and will not give up on things until they go their way or until they get what they want. This can also make them perfectionists or slightly obsessive over certain things. 

Being spirited can also mean that your child acts on their emotions, particularly when they are so on the brink of their emotions a lot of the time.

This also makes them unwilling to change, as they may become upset if something does not go as planned or as normal. 

One of the biggest telltale signs of a spirited child is them being full of energy. They may seem like they never stop. They may also struggle to focus on tasks at a time, or may get distracted very easily as their minds are going 100 miles an hour. 

How Do You Deal With A Spirited Child?

How Do You Deal With A Spirited Child

Having a spirited child means having a strong-willed child. What this also means is that it’ll take a lot of patience to live with and rear a spirited child. A spirited, strong willed child is one that will test you, and your limits to see where the boundaries are. 

You simply need to let them learn for themselves sometimes, even if they are getting on your last nerve. Sometimes, all a spirited child wants is to feel independent and strong.

They may not like being told what to do. Instead, let them remember things for themselves. For instance, instead of saying something like ‘put your shoes on’, it can be more beneficial to ask ‘what should we do before leaving the house?’ and let them think for themselves what needs to be done. 

In a similar way, some spirited children respond better to having a choice in matters, such as giving them options in certain situations to avoid them fussing or reacting strongly to a change in routine. 

What is also really important is being respectful and empathetic towards your child. They may test your patience, but they also deserve empathy and care.

You set the limits, but you can also be understanding towards them. You should also listen to their concerns, and let them know that you are there to support them in any way that you can. 

Finally, it is vital that you give them a choice rather than a punishment. Your spirited child is most likely only trying to be an independent person.

Do not punish them or yell and scream at them, as this will only teach them that shouting can get you what you want in life, and that’s not a lesson you want your child to learn.

Instead, choices can teach a child to be rational and understanding, whilst also helping them feel like they have a say in what happens and in making decisions. 

With a spirited child, the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is that patience is key. Yes, it can be difficult and a bit of a power struggle, but it does not need to be.

Treat your child with patience, care, understanding and empathy, and you can reach a sort of middle ground. 


To summarize, you may have heard the term ‘spirited child’, or someone may have referred to your child in that way. It is not an insult, it simply means that your child is more spirited, strong willed, independent and confident than others. 

In this article, we have looked at what is a spirited child, and the challenges and benefits faced by children more spirited than average. 

We have seen that they may be more intense, more emotional, more persevering and more persistent than other children, which can be challenging. However, with patience, positivity and a lot of deep breaths, you can get along, support and raise an independent child.

Joyce Bailey
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