Attention! (pun intended) This post is a part of a short series. Please read the introduction “This is why your kids are not listening to you!” to better understand what the series is about. Thank you!
Your kids want your attention
In the last post titled “Power Struggle – Why Kids Do Not Listen?” I covered that your children act exactly like adults – they want to have control over themselves. What else adults and kids have in common? They want attention focused on them.
And yes, you probably give them attention, but they want more. Why? That is a hard question. But if you take into consideration that you as a parent are the most important person for your child, it simply has sense.
Think about how do you feel when your hubby watches SuperBowl and you need to bring him food so that he knows you’re there. Yup.
Children fight for what they want (yes, for your attention too)
If your children don’t get the attention they want, they will look for it. What’s better than misbehavior to make mommy running where they want her to be? And if she additionally yells? Well, that’s 2:0 for them.
Mommy’s raised voice means SHE lost control over the situation. “Naughty” children have power then. You see it, don’t you? When they are not on their perfect behavior you are focusing strictly on them PLUS they make you mad, so they have control (they can make you go crazy or they can turn into little angels).
And you know what? If this worked once, what do you think they will do next? Another great observation from Amy McCready: Kids continue the behavior as long as it is working.
I am not saying that you should ignore it when they are misbehaving. Absolutely not! I’m saying: It’s not that kids are not listening to you. They don’t do what you want them to do because that makes you go bananas. Sorry! So don’t let them see that you’re losing your mind. Don’t give away your power points. And don’t give them the satisfaction of your overreaction.
How not to go nuts?
From my own experience, the best you can do is to build two-way communication. This way you can be on one team, not in two opposite ones. You build a relationship with your child from day one, and this process of building is an ongoing one for your whole life.
Focus on your kid’s needs whenever you can to teach them how to build respectful relationships. Those are life lessons! Kids have a free will, they can ignore you whenever. It’s in your business to become an authority so that they WANT to listen to you and they CARE about your opinion.
What do I do?
If you want them to listen to you, you guys need to cooperate. My 9-year-old starts talking to me about Minecraft always the moment I grab my phone to check emails after I just left my littlest’s room where I spend what felt like hours to get her to nap. I don’t snap anymore (I used to. My go-to line was “can’t I have a minute to myself, don’t you see I just left the battlefield?” I’m not proud of that.).
Well, the truth is he knows I had a rough time with the little one. And that now I have a first free moment. He thinks now it’s HIS TURN to get to mommy. And that’s very considerate of him actually, that he waited and didn’t come to look for me in the middle of my lullaby singing.
I’m taking Amy’s advice, I stay calm and make a deal. Baby, give me one minute (and then it really must be one minute) and I’ll be right with you. We do it all the time so he is not whining or anything. Thanks to me being consistent, he knows that it will really take me a minute and then we sit and I listen to his Minecraft stories.
Do I care about this game? Nope! But I actively listen, I ask questions, I learn because that’s important for him. I do care about him! Do I lose the opportunity to do something during the nap time? Yes!! But I win points. I gave all of the attention to my son. I am building a relationship with my son and I hope it will last.
In the evening, I’m asking him if he did all of his homework because I don’t want him to lose the opportunity to add the new cape to this villager (don’t even try to get it) on Saturday just because of not doing what he has to.
Get it? I am not nagging about homework, I am the fun mom, who just reminds her son that to be able to play these stupid pixels he needs to have his responsibilities done. He gets the attention he wants plus he is in control – it’s his choice to either 1. do the homework and play during the weekend, or 2. don’t do the homework and be banned from Xbox.
What tricks do you use with your kiddos?? Share in the comments.
Other posts in this series:
This is why your kids are not listening to you!
Power Struggle – Why Kids Do Not Listen?
To be always informed if the next part of this series is published follow justredefine.com on Facebook and subscribe to the newsletter below.
8 thoughts on “Your child wants your attention right now.”
Thank you for this post. I feel your pain, feeling not having a minute to yourself. I do agree though that my kids are more cooperative when I give them the attention they need. We as moms get so busy with “everything else to keep the home afloat”.
Attention is important and we all need it. (Moms need it too!) Having some time for so-called “me time” is my way of self-care. Thank you for your comment, Cristy!
This series really opened my eyes to new solutions for my 3 and 1 yr old. I needed this so much! Thank you!
Alla, that makes me so happy! I’m glad the post helped!
Hi, what about if you have an medically diagnosed attention disorder yourself as a parent. I’m ok with my youngest still but my two older ones can see my attention runs out when I listen to them. I have short term memory loss. And it’s not easy to parent when always forget the punchline to the lesson your trying to explain.
Hey GiGe, thank you for reading and leaving the comment. We would need to talk more about your disorder, but what I can tell you on the spot is that in your case probably no lesson might be easy to give spontaneously. However, what if you could prepare yourself before you and your two older kids have the talk? Can you do a list of the points you want to make and go one by one? Email me anytime if you want to talk!
I definitely need to hear this today! Thanks for sharing 🙂
It is my pleasure, Mai!