Taming the Spirited Child

SKU: 8839


Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children without Breaking Their Spirits
by Michael H. Popkin, Ph.D.

Do you work with parents of children who present a special challenge? Maybe you have a child of your own who resists your every request? Who turns everything into a big, loud drama? Some kids seem to be born more curious, adventurous, powerful, persistent and sensitive—”CAPPS”—presenting a challenge for parent and professional alike. In his insightful book for parents, Active Parenting founder and president Michael Popkin shows how to understand and tame a child’s behavior while celebrating the gift of spirit. (266 pp.)

With humor, emotion and practical wisdom, Dr. Popkin teaches parents:

  • How to recognize the characteristics of a spirited child
  • The positive potential these remarkable children possess
  • How taming is as much about building a relationship as setting limits
  • The eight critical planks of a “taming corral”
  • The dynamics of power and how to handle anger
  • Practical, nonviolent discipline for spirited kids

Click for an interview with Dr. Popkin about life with a spirited child!



“Psychologist and parenting expert Popkin, a frequent Oprah guest, devotes his latest title to helping parents ‘tame’ kids who are difficult or spirited. Popkin has a fondness for acronyms, such as CAPPS to describe the spirited child as Curious, Adventurous, Powerful, Persistent and Sensitive. Parents may very well recognize their child’s traits in these pages and appreciate the author’s understanding of the frustration spirited kids often inspire. Popkin offers parents strategies to calm and defuse their child’s anger, and ways to build a nurturing relationship without fighting or giving in, such as using his FLAC process (‘meant to reduce the amount of flack in your relationship with your child,’ using Feelings, Limits, Alternatives and Consequences). Many books offer pick-and-choose options, but Popkin encourages readers to read his complete work before trying his tactics, as his methods are interwoven in a manner than helps build and balance the parent/child relationship. Included are plenty of hands-on activity suggestions parents can employ to avoid power struggles and give spirited kids the time, space and behavior structures they need. Tackling the book in its modest entirety will be easy for most readers as Popkin is an entertaining writer with keen insights; his own son was a spirited youngster, and the author draws from personal experience as well as his professional expertise.”
-Publishers Weekly, January 2007

“Popkin, founder of Active Parenting Publishers Inc. and a former child and family therapist, believes that the key to taming a spirited child is to establish a healthy relationship. This idea, coupled with the seemingly effective methods of discipline, communication, and encouragement outlined here, aims to help a child live more effectively within the family and in the world. Popkin takes a compassionate and realistic perspective about what characterizes a child as ‘spirited’ and how to tame (not break) the child in ways that build a loving relationship and set the foundation for her or him to thrive in society. He emphasizes that it’s about changing the child’s ways, not the child’s being. There is extensive discussion of the author’s ‘8 sided taming corral’ approach. Each ‘plank,’ or idea/skill, is examined in detail in the preceding chapters. The book ends with an action plan followed by resources. Whereas Mary Sheedy Kurcinka in Raising Your Spirited Child emphasized understanding what makes a child act the way she or he does, Popkin concentrates on relationship building. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
-Kari Ramstrom, Hennepin Country Lib., MN
Library Journal, February 15, 2007

“Finally, a fresh approach to the whole ‘difficult child’ category. In this insightful and moving work, Michael Popkin shows parents the positive potential of these spirited children without making excuses for their behavior. His ‘taming’ methods are as humane as they are effective.”
– Thom Hartman, author of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception

“I adore the real strategies and know parents will be so grateful for the positive spin on ‘spirit.’ This is one of the best parenting books for raising challenging children.”
-Michele Borba , Ed.D., author of No More Misbehavin’

“This text should be required reading for anyone responsible for children. As a pediatrician, I know that captivating the difficult-to-manage child’s spirit and redirecting that energy into positive thoughts and actions can go a long way towards improving social outcomes.”
-Dr. Melinda McVicar, professor of Clinical Pediatrics, New York Medical College

“A wonderful, heartwarming book for any parent who has ever wanted to throw up her hands in despair over her child’s repeated misbehavior. This book not only gives them hope; it gives them answers!”
– Bettie B. Youngs, author of the best-selling Taste Berries for Teens series

“This is a book that needed to be written! Dr. Michael Popkin has done a wonderful job in providing a resource that will help those millions of parents of spirited children live happier, more satisfying family lives while giving their children the gift of love and limits.”
– Robyn Freedman Spizman, author of Women for Hire’s Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success, The Giftionary: An A-Z Reference Guide for Solving Your Gift-Giving Dilemmas . . . Forever!, and When Words Matter Most: Thoughtful Words and Deeds to Express Just the Right Thing at Just the Right Time and the co-author of many leading parenting books.

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