The topic today is about children who seek negative attention, at all costs.
I’ve recently chatted with a good old friend who complained about her three year old. „I feel exhausted. She cries, tantrums, throws things, bites, hits and I am constantly on alert for these behaviors. She has no friends, as she is not safe enough or nice enough to the other children”.
I remember those times; I went through something similar, as a parent.
My friend’s therapist recommended this: don’t „reward” negative behaviour with attention. Negative attention from parents (whether it is scolding, punishing, isolating, humiliating etc) only enforces bad behaviour. So, as hard as it is in those „hot” moments, don’t punish or preach! Approach the child in the most loving way and find the root cause: it can be hunger, exhaustion (these are the easy ones ) an unmet emotional need, or a need for attention.
So, shower your child with a lot of positive attention. Every time your child plays nicely or shows cooperation, praise your child, tell her/him how that makes you feel. Don’t take good behaviour for granted and don’t let it pass by, unnoticed. In other words, catch your child being good and in the same time, foster good behaviour with people. Model being polite, sociable, nice and fun to be around, help others unconditionally.
Education works on a very simple principle: what you focus on, grows.
So as parents, what do we want to deliberately focus on? To play an active role in your child’s life, takes the same amount of energy as scolding and punishing. The choice is ours and this perspective, definitely makes our parenting journey, easier