Knowledge — 10 months ago
Signs Your Children are Looking for Attention
Here are a few signs to look out for to know if your child is looking for attention:
- Fighting with other kids: If you notice your child constantly picking fights with his or her sibling or other kids in the playground or school, this could be a sign of attention seeking.
- Whining: When your child is always communicating in a loud whining tone, they definitely want you to notice them.
- Faking illness: Do you have to deal with the sick child routine once a week or more when it’s time for school? Most children will fake a tummy ache at some point to get out of going to school but when this happens repeatedly, it has less to do with missing school and more to do with attention.
- Boastful behavior: When a child is always telling people about all the great stuff they’ve done and even exaggerating a bit, that is attention seeking behavior.
- Bullying: Bullies are often punished but this doesn’t stop the bullying. Bullying is, in most cases, a cry for attention and punishment is a form of attention.
- Lying: When lying becomes a habit even when the child knows they can be caught, it is a sign of seeking attention.
- Meltdowns and tantrums in public: While it can be very embarrassing for a parent when a child behaves badly in public, it is just the child’s way of getting noticed. Screaming, crying, and refusing to go someplace are all classic signs of attention seeking behavior.
Why do children seek attention?
Well, the simple answer is that they are not getting enough. Children thrive on positive attention and when they don’t get it, any attention will do. Positive attention is the praise children get for good behavior or the affection they receive spontaneously for no reason at all.
When we take time off from our day to give our children adequate attention, they have no need for the behavior that puts them in focus. Consequently, when children don’t get the attention they require, they will experiment with ways to gain it.
Because we live in a society that gives attention to negative behavior, children quickly learn that being naughty will get mom and dad to notice them. It is never intentional but in our efforts to provide our children with the best of everything, we forget to give them our time.
What needs to be done?
Your child needs a good deal of attention every day, there is no denying that. Even negative attention is better than no attention at all. If we want to weed out the attention seeking behavior and reinforce good behavior, we need to ignore the former and reward the latter.
Ignoring bad behavior is easier said than done but is required in order to prevent recurrence. A calm but firm warning when the child is misbehaving might be essential but it is important that you keep your cool. While an action is necessary when a child is harming him/herself or another child, don’t overreact; treat the situation with mild interest while putting a stop to it.
The best way to treat attention seeking behavior, of course, is to give your child a healthy dose of positive attention every day.
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