Saturday, October 10, 2015

Attention seeking behavior

In most families, there is at least one child that demands more than the others. And it can be pretty hard when one is homeschooling different grades. 

I get it. It’s easy to get so caught up with work, chores, activities, and responsibilities that we don’t spend enough time specifically interacting with our children. The important thing is to see it and not blame our children for "misbehaving" when in fact, all they need is our time and attention. And when I say attention, I mean, full-on, completely focused on them attention. Not just distractedly listening to their explanation about their Lego construction or complex drawing while thinking about a meeting or eyeing our phone. Kids are smart. They know we are not fully present. And they feel like we do not care.

Still, some children get LOTS of parent's attention and still behave as if they needed more. What I notice most times with these children is that they have somehow misunderstood what they need to do to engage others. And it's our job as parents to teach them these skills (why will some of our children "get it" without us specifically guiding them through this, I have no idea, but that's often the case that 2 out of 3 children will do great with a regular dose of attention and one will require A LOT more).

When I asked for support on an online group about Mathilde a few years ago, here's what someone wrote to me, as if she was talking from the child's point of view:

Because I wanted your attention. Because I want you to see me. Because I want to know I’m important to you. Because I want to feel like I belong to you. Because you are my mom and my dad and that makes you the two most important people in my world, and I want to feel like I matter as much to you as you matter to me. And I will do anything—anything—to find a way into the center of your world.

I can't tell you how many time I reread that (and still do at times). It really speaks to me. I hope it does resonate with some of you.


mamamajuly said...

I needed to read that today! I tend to get caught in my never ending to-do list, desperately trying to get a few things done in my day, while my daughters play together. But at some point, tension always rise in the home and I know they need me to be there more - really there. I used to be able to do that when I had only my first daughter, but now, days seem to have misteriously shrunk to the blink of an eye...

Catherine said...

I know, July... That's how it happens... It requires a lot of focus to remain present with our children. We have to make that choice over and over and over!

Penny said...

Hi Catherine, I don't know if you remember me, I used to be here a lot "back in the day". One of my daughters is very much like this - still - even at age 14. This quote is right on, thank you so much for sharing your friend's words.

It's delightful to see you here :) Your family is vibrant and lovely.


Catherine said...

Hi Penny!! I am very happy to hear from you! I hope things are going well for you.

Marie said...

Wonderful post Catherine. Thanks a lot for sharing.