Who is the Spirited Child?
Kurcinka defines the spirited child as, "A normal child who is more. They are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic." There is no medical diagnosis for spirit—the term is merely a way for parents to relate to their children and specific "spirited" behaviors.
It's likely that you've encountered many spirited kids throughout your life, as experts believe that approximately 20 percent of children in the United States are spirited. Many of these may receive misdiagnosis for other disorders such as ADHD. "This is because sometimes the underlying issues of temperament are not addressed first," Kurcinka says.
Helen Neville, BS, RN, and co-author of Temperament Tools: Working with Your Child's Inborn Traits, taught parenting classes in California for ten years when she noticed the differences between temperament issues and other diagnoses. "I'd worked with enough parents who were concerned, dedicated, and well-educated and who were trying hard," Neville says. "But the amount that these challenging kids pushed was different. It was more. Learning about temperament is the missing piece to parenting."