We’ve all seen it; that moment your son does something naughty, and then looks back at you to see if you notice.
The first thing we do is we react, and even though the response may be negative, he still processes it as ATTENTION of some sort, and the fact is, he notes subconsciously that a certain action results in attention from you, and he repeats it in future.
Any attention, even negative, is better than none!
So how do we undo this loop of negative attention?
Firstly, let’s look at some common ways your son looks for this negative attention:
Pouring dog water on the kitchen floor (with a grin).
Ignoring your request to do a chore.
Jumping on a newly made bed he knows he shouldn’t be jumping on.
The list is huge; each family has their own list!
YOUR REACTION TO NEGATIVE ATTENTION IS KEY!
Your normal reaction to negative attention is to lecture, complain and/ or repeat yourself. This all boils down to one thing for your child: attention! Nice! So here are some ways to change this cycle & get your son after the right kind of attention
LOAD UP ON POSITIVE INTERACTIONS WITH HIM:
Don’t wait for times he is so wanting attention that he creates situations where negative attention has a chance to happen. Proactively make some situations happen BEFORE then – situations where you can connect with your child, point out positive qualities you like in him, or in what he is doing, and focus on some good things about him, as well as steer his attitude in the right direction. Situations such as:
– one on one time together doing something you both enjoy
– talking and connecting more daily
– focusing on good effort and behavior
It’s so easy to spend time doing other things not directly related to your son. Take time out to focus just on him. Even if you spend a lot of time around or near him, it’s still easy to find yourself busy with other things, saying, ‘just a minute’ or ‘I can’t now, I’m busy.’
Take some time to proactively be with your son, encouraging him and giving him opportunity to do things that he can be appreciated for. Positive attention snowballs – the more you begin with, the more he enjoys it and continues to do it! And the less he needs any negative kind of behaviour to get just ANY attention from you!