6 am… and my 4 year old son wakes and cries out “no school! I don’t want to go to school…”
Which wakes up my 6 year old who begins crying
“I want to go to school! Let me go to school!”
Too bad she had a fever last night.
No school? Why?
We are working on doing away with R’s morning fights… which is hard for me because I know he is fighting for a reason. Ignoring is one thing while preventing is another. The reason for the fights isnt school really though. It is because he wants attention.
Types of attention we seek
I know a child who isnt getting attention will seek negative attention. Ignore the negative and encourage the positive? What about intrinsic motivation?
I know he is smiling throughout the fight to get dressed and I know a lot of it is because he prefers to stay home and snuggle and get attention while V is at school… so that means I also need to make sure I am giving him positive attention.
On mornings when I go to school early with him we get a full half hour walking around. He gets to pick the vegetables from the bhajiwala. I let him pick a sugary juice or milk based drink and he often chooses a chocolate for after school for his sister and himself. He doesn’t fight then.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, though, my husband doesn’t have his favorite yoga teacher so I stay home and he does drop off. Those days are more tough but easier for me. But are they?
Is it worth the fight?
Perhaps I can go early every day. Monsoon rains aren’t as bad now so the rickshaw drive back isn’t so bad. We can afford the extra rickshaw ride and the exhaust won’t kill me. Green, no. Personal, positive attention for R… yes.
What are attention seeking behaviors?
Attention seeking behaviors are just that. Something a person does to get attention. Whether it is my 6 year old doing extra work to get a star from her teacher or the extra art up on the wall or 4 year old fighting in the morning so that I help him get dressed. It is the same. While one doesn’t cause stress to others, both can be stressful.
We do it as adults too. Don’t we all do something to get attention?
But, we can’t just ignore it all. We, as humans, have a need to connect and feel accepted. It is better that my husband and I work with out son on his needs so that he doesn’t later need to dull them or get negative attention elsewhere. Of course, there are no guarantees. Stress is there. We can give coping skills, talk through where we can and we can give what we can of ourselves.
My daughter likes date nights for the two of us. It has been a while… I need to make time and energy for that before she has to ask.
My son likes to play outside. I need to be okay with getting wet in monsoon or in the dreary weather so that he gets that time to show off his bike riding skills and speed through puddles. It means giving the attention he wants at times outside of school hours and snuggles when he gets home instead of me working on something or napping. I can’t snap out of the feelings I have, especially when the weather now is not helping but I can give myself reminders to give each kiddo a bit of what they need.
We often need love and acceptance most when we are showing behaviors that tell otherwise.
Ideas for reconnecting when there are attention seeking behaviors
1. Be spontaneous
2. Play games like “Guess what I am thinking about”
3. Do date night
4. Talk about the feelings with out accusations, using I statements.
5. Give a massage or pedicure. Boys can have pedicures too!
6. Put away the distractions, including the phone.
How do you distract from someone’s behaviors, especially when you know you have to admit you may be at fault for some of them?