Your Child is Misbehaving, Are You Listening?
By: Heather T. Forbes, LCSW
When reviewing records of many of the children with whom I work, I am forever perplexed at one particular notation I continually see written by therapists and counselors. Under the list of negative traits of the child, it is often written, "Child exhibits attention-seeking behaviors."
|I strongly believe that
children seek attention because they NEED attention. Nature has designed
children to be completely dependent on their parents at the moment they
are born. A baby crying is the signaling to the parent the baby has a
need, a need that the baby cannot satisfy on his own. The baby is indeed
exhibiting attention-seeking behaviors.
The natural flow of the developmental journey of a child is to gradually release this need for attention, moving from a state of dependence to a state of balanced independence. The time period for this is about 18 years. We are the only animals in the animal kingdom that have our children under our care for this length of time. Expecting our children to not need our attention or to view it as a negative behavioral issue during these 18 years goes against our biology.
When children do not know how to verbally express their needs (which is predominately the case during early childhood), they "speak" through their behaviors. In other words, behavior is a form of communication. When a parent can stop, pause, and "listen" to the behavior of a child, it can become quite obvious what the child is saying. Looking at the behavior from an objective perspective also unveils the logic behind the child's behavior. Here is a list of ten behaviors along with an interpretation of each behavior to demonstrate this:
The parent/child relationship is a dyad - a two-part system. Remember that your behavioral response also signals a communication to your child. Thus, it is imperative for you to stay mindful and attuned. Give enough attention to yourself as to stay in a place of love so you are always speaking the language of truth, love, and acceptance to your child in return.
|Heather T. Forbes, LCSW|
Parent and Author of Beyond Consequences, Logic & Control: Volume 1 & Volume 2,
Dare to Love, and Help for Billy.