Why do children want attention?

“It’s pure whim”, “Let him cry, he’ll get over it”… Surely we have heard or used these phrases on numerous occasions to explain situations where children want to get attention. Perhaps in our upbringing or in those around us.

However, we focus on different disciplines transform the way we understand the little ones. Try to move away from adult-focused biases towards respectful education or positive discipline to stop thinking about childhood in our terms, give it a voice, and understand it.

That way crying isn’t always a whim and it won’t happen just because. It is one of the main ways that children have to communicate, especially in the first years. Therefore, you must try to understand what they need.

Why do children want attention?

In general, children don’t seek attention “just because”. With their performances they try to tell us something. To understand them, it is not only necessary to approach and talk, but also think about the possible situations they are experiencing; a move, a change of school, the loss of a loved one, among others.

On the other hand, new approaches to parenting try to stop talking about tantrums as a derogatory way or with a negative connotation, to think in terms of an emotional outburst or a feeling that needs to be expressed. These are some coordinates that can help us help you.

It is important to keep in mind that a child who throws a tantrum, he’s trying to tell us something. Sometimes it’s the only way he can find, since his brain is still developing.

Faced with such a situation, the child is emotionally dysregulated and adults must accompany him to calm him down. In a second step it will be necessary to work on teaching skills so that they can express themselves and communicate in another way.

You also need to understand that it’s not just about calming him down, but about help you understand what it is underlying emotion which triggered his discomfort. Emotion management is something very necessary and working on it from childhood has great benefits.

When is it necessary to intervene differently?

It is important to clarify that a respectful education does not mean the absence of limits, nor to give them to all tastes. Quite the opposite. Understanding that there is ‘something else’ behind a tantrum or inconsolable crying does not mean that aggression, beatings, disrespect or politeness should be tolerated.

At this point it is advisable to establish clear, consistent (that the parents do not contradict each other), constant (it always applies in the same situation; what is rewarded tomorrow is not punished today) and calm (without any type of violence) limits.

Many people dedicated to parenting support suggest thinking like this: crying (or throwing a tantrum) is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just what you see, but there’s more underneath.

Tips for acting in front of a misbehaving child to get attention

To help a child regain his composure or find other ways to ask for what he wants without having to throw himself on the floor and scream, it must be considered that he still lacks the means to regulate himself. As adults we play that role. Therefore, it is recommended that you implement the following suggestions.

Respond with respect and empathy

Children want attention because they don't know how to get it any other way.
Parent-child communication is important to progressively reduce tantrums.

When faced with unwanted behavior, we must respond by example, however difficult it may be for us. If we respond to yelling with more yelling, what we are doing is correcting that behavior, rather than discouraging it.

Ask, don’t assume

In children with some language management we have the ability to lead with questions. This is an advantage since is a useful strategy to help them regain calm, as he interprets what he hears.

Allow them to express their emotions

It’s important to validate how they feel even if it seems unimportant to us adults. They must be continually encouraged to express themselves.

help them think

Sending them to their room and returning when they’ve calmed down is counterproductive, as it only sends the message that they’re loved when they’re well behaved. On the contrary, Siegel and Payne recommend “bundling,” which is just the opposite.

It involves getting close, sometimes through physical contact, to reflect on what is happening. Here you not only stop, but also lay the foundation for the development of executive functions, which reduce impulsivity.

Educating patience

Children want attention but need to be supervised
Taking the time to pass on the best teachings to your children is essential for their growth.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where the child wants to get attention immediately. You must understand that for them time is experienced very differently from ours, but you also need to work on tolerance for frustration.

Education should be encouraged in patience and that they can’t always get what they want when they want it. At this point it is a matter of thinking about alternatives and negotiating, but above all helping them to understand. For example:

  • “You can’t have this, but you can have this.”
  • “Now I can’t play with you because I’m working, but later I can.”

There is no universal recipe

We will not always be able to apply the same measure. You have to tune in and empathize with the moment. However, what is repeated are the principles and values ​​that we apply to our actions, like love and respect.

So while in some cases a hug will be better, other times the best answer will be a “no” and, in exceptional circumstances, it is better to give in.

Recognize where we educate from

When confronted with any situation in childhood, we must ask ourselves where we act from and what our assumptions about behaviors are. Sometimes we believe that bad behavior is a whim or “a desire to go against it” instead of interpreting that there is an implied message of discomfort or a difficulty present.

On the other hand, you have to keep in mind that child’s life cycle; there are behaviors expected for a certain age, influenced or determined by ongoing development. In this way, research and advice from specialists can also help us know which are the best tools to implement.

Ultimately, to provide sensitive and empathetic responses, quality time is critical. Only by sharing and getting to know the child will we be able to understand what he needs to adjust our response.

The post Why do children want attention? first appeared on research-school



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