The Attention Demander
Action: Why is my child behaving this way, what unmet needs does he or she have, and what specific things can I do to help him or her behave better?
Primary Causes of Misbehavior
This child is doing everything possible to let the parents, teachers, and peers know he or she exists.
Primary Needs Being Revealed
This child may be attempting to "prove" himself or herself to others by getting attention.
Escape from Pain
Inability in social relationships and academic performance may cause this child to demonstrate such behavior.
Secondary Needs Being Revealed
Actions to Take
This child needs to belong to some group.
The various attempts to gain attention point to a need to gain success in something.
The attention demander is shouting, verbally and nonverbally, "I am somebody."
- Help your child find visibility or leadership roles.
- Give him or her additional responsibilities.
- Take time to talk to this child to discover the real problems and insecurities that he or she may feel.
- Bolster your child's confidence at every opportunity—in a quiet way. You must find a constructive way for the attention demander to meet his or her need for attention. Above all, attention cannot be denied, or he or she will go to extremes to get it.
- Seek help from psychologists and counselors as well as teachers to reinforce changes in this behavior, not only at home but at school.
- Be kind, calm, and firm at all times.
- Model the behavior you want. Speak softly and quietly.
- Reinforce appropriate questions when the your child asks them. This will help the attention demander and your other children to realize which questions are constructive and relevant.
- Watch for improvement. Then relate how pleased you are with the improvement in behavior.
- Be constantly aware of the times you give attention to the attention demander. Be aware of this child's strong need for attention and provide it for positive actions—not just for disruptions.
- Never exclude this child.
- Never make your child anxious, or the behavior will become worse.