Parenting is busy work. I have yet to meet a parent who isn't busy. Whether you are busy taking care of your kids, or you work out of the home, or even in the home for that matter, or you just can't say no to people and find yourself busy with a variety of things all day long, it doesn't matter, parents are busy! I find myself often get so caught up in everything that I have to get done, like cleaning and cooking and serving in my church that I forget to pay attention to what my kids are doing until they force me to pay attention to them, and not in a good way usually!
One of the more common and frustrating misbehavior of a child is attention getting misbehavior. This is also the least understood misbehavior, I call it the garbage pail misbehavior, meaning most parents will say that their child is misbehaving because they want attention - when it actually is something else. In fact I bet most of you think that a tantrum is a child trying to get your attention, when it isn't that at all, that is a power struggle!
Here is an explanation of attention getting behavior in a nutshell.
Child’s Basic Belief: I have significance only when others are paying attention to me.
Child misbehaves by: showing off, nuisance, cry, overly sensitive, being slow to do something, forgetful, overly helpful, overly charming, brown – noser.
Adult Feels: frustrated/annoyed – relatively mild
Wrong response: as soon as adult reminds, gives sympathy – behavior is reinforced.
Child’s response: child stops because they got what they wanted.
Appropriate Response: Ignore – unless it involves safety. Be consistent and have your total body language relaxed and ignore the behavior. It will take at least 15 consecutive times of ignoring a behavior before behavior will stop so hang in there! The minute you pay attention to the behavior the child’s mistaken belief has been reinforced and the behavior will continue.
I am interested to get some feedback from you on what specific things you think a child does that is attention getting based on those few notes and tomorrow I will post some specific examples on what it looks like.