Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?
Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?

Esther O'Moore Donohoe

Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back
Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back

Holly O'Neill

Image / Self

Why your wild child is destined for success


by Amanda Cassidy
07th Aug 2020
Why your wild child is destined for success

Go big or go home. That’s life with a high-spirited and defiant child. Amanda Cassidy can relate.


I have a little bundle of curiosity, excitement, and smiles.  He is just six years old. He is kind but cheeky, gentle but plucky, brave and heart-stoppingly daring.  My little wild child destroys the house but captures our hearts a million times every day.

It is an exhausting whirlwind of bravado and emotion, defiance and tenacity and he was like this since the moment he was born. I admire his perseverance, his focus and his refusal to conform. I love his joie de vivre, his loyalty and sense of mischief – but in this life of ours, there isn’t always room for such freedom of spirit.

Related: The pressure to be a good parent 

Dr Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, the author of several parenting books on the topic, says there can often be misconceptions that highly spirited children are simply just ‘brats’. “Spirited children are intense, perceptive and sensitive. They are “typical children” who happen to be more susceptible to the input from their environments. Often spirited children will be more successful because of these differences from other children. They are turbo-charged, and parents need tools to notch down the intensity a little bit.”

And this is where we have to earn our parenting crust. As well as my mini tornado, I also have two very placid and obliging children – proof that having a difficult child is more nature than nurture. I’m now relying on my parenting skills to help my son channel some of his exuberance and stubborn behaviour.

A study carried out by the University of Texas has found that children who frequently broke the rules and defied their parents were the ones who went on to be high achievers and earn the most in their careers.

The study was published in the Development Psychology journal and followed 700 children aged 12 to 52 years. It looked at how behaviour in late childhood could predict participants’ success later in life and whether or not stubbornness was a factor in achieving throughout adult careers. At the start, the children’s behaviour was examined (rule-breaking, impatience, defiance, stubbornness) They were also evaluated on their non-cognitive personality traits (entitlement and education). 40 years later, the same people were looked at again.

So in a nutshell, if your bolshy child is the type who insists on a bigger slice of cake, they will probably also be the one looking for a bigger bonus in work when they are older.

Of course, nothing is as simplistic as all of this, but let us bone-tired mums have a light at the end of the tunnel when we are in protracted negotiations over bedtime.

Not sure if your stubborn child fits the mould? Here is a very scientific checklist for your convenience.

1. You’ve never had to baby proof the house until this one came along. Now it is best to bolt all of the things to all of the walls.  Lock your fridge and invest in bounce proof flooring.

2. Your wild child will climb anything. These exceptionally cute monkeys can mostly be found swinging on dangerous things or scaling heights with disturbing ease. Is an everyday helmet too much?

3. They don’t give up, ever. As frustrating as it is to try to manage the unmanageable, remember that determination is a positive quality. So is putting every ounce of energy into reaching a goal. Remind yourself that you could be raising a future leader. (This is also a handy one for the parent-teacher meeting).

4. Your defiant child goes big or goes home. On the downside, they can blow their tiny little tops over the smallest of things. On the upside…they commit extra tightly to those bedtime snuggles.

5. You learn to ignore the judgement you feel oozing out of other parents. No, I don’t feed him sugar for breakfast. Yes, I’ve tried Kung Fu. No, he won’t fall out of that tree. Yes, he has convinced me to get him a puppy.

6. Your life is one giant sticker reward chart. You find yourself negotiating on negotiations despite promising yourself you wouldn’t negotiate. Man, they are good!

7. You convince yourself that you should have been a better parent, a more patient listener, less shouty, more understanding…. the list goes on. Ultimately, you are doing the best you can, and love goes a long way with your little warrior.

8. Your child doesn’t enter a room, they explode into it. If only you could bottle that confidence and sell it back to them when they are teens.

9. They can argue for hours with a passion, energy and enthusiasm that eventually wears you out. These persistent limit-pushers are much less likely to succumb to peer pressure because they march to their own beat. They’ll do what they want, even if that means doing it alone. This leads to a high level of independence and eventually responsibility. Your little hot-head won’t need others to solve their problems for them.

It is tough to parent a stubborn child in the turbulent world of primary school and playgroups with rules and expectations, but rest assured your child will eventually turn into a confident adult, certain of their own abilities. And best of all, they are more likely to stand up for what they believe in. Now, more than ever, the world needs people like that.

Hang in there, your child will do great things in life. Here’s to the defiant child and all those raising them.

Image via Unsplash.com

Read more: Parenting in the age of fear

Read more: The truth about French parenting

Read more: The only parenting book you’ll ever need

Also Read

Why your wild child is destined for success
PARENTHOOD
According to 3,000 Irish parents, this what you need to buy before your baby arrives

From the best wipes to gentle baby skincare, the products that parents swear by.

By Megan Burns

Why your wild child is destined for success
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Top tips from a leading nutritionist and a master life coach on better routines and a healthier diet

Lydia Kimmerling is a master life coach who’s helped thousands of people discover their true self, feel happier and create...

By Amanda Cassidy

Why your wild child is destined for success
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The Rotunda Hospital is hosting a virtual maternity week for prospective parents

The Rotunda’s virtual maternity week will take place from September 26th to October 2nd. Recently announcing their fourth annual maternity...

By Sarah Finnan

Why your wild child is destined for success
HEALTH & WELLNESS
‘That was the thing; she hid it’: Caroline Flack hid Bipolar diagnosis

Caroline Flack was told she may be bipolar in the weeks before her death, her mother has said.Caroline Flack was diagnosed...

By Jennifer McShane

Why your wild child is destined for success
HEALTH & WELLNESS
5 tips to help you get back into your routine as we emerge from lockdown

Going off track from time to time is perfectly normal, however, emerging from a global pandemic is, however, a significant...

By Jennifer McShane

Why your wild child is destined for success
ADVICE
The importance and benefits of alone time

“This life is mine alone. So, I have stopped asking people for directions to places they have never been”– Glennon...

By Niamh Ennis

Why your wild child is destined for success
PARENTHOOD
Is your child struggling with separation anxiety? This clever idea might help

It is very common for children to feel anxious when they physically separate from their parents, especially after such an...

By Amanda Cassidy