Creative Child

Two Ways to Thwart Attention-Seeking Behavior

“Love and belonging are irreducible needs of all people. We are hard-wired for connection - it’s what gives us purpose and meaning in our lives. The absence of love, belonging, and connection always leads to suffering.” - Brene Brown
by Rebecca Eanes


Notice the Details

I don’t know how many times my kids have come up to show me a drawing, a Lego creation, or something they’ve made and I’ve looked briefly at it and said “Wow, that’s awesome” with little to no enthusiasm. You, too? We’re often focused on other things - work, dinner, laundry, Facebook! But what would it mean to our children if we’d pause to really pay attention to the details? The times I have done this, they visibly lit up. 


This simple but powerful tip isn’t just for when they want to show you a picture, but it can be used in all kinds of ways. Listen more intently to the stories they tell and repeat some of it back to them while asking questions to clarify. Pay attention to the outfit they chose or the new way they style their hair for school and make a pleasant remark. Go further than “how was your day” and ask detailed questions like “tell me something interesting that happened today” or “how can I support you in distance learning this week?” 

Think about how good it makes you feel when a partner notices your new hair or a co-worker remarks on something you did well at work. It feels good to be seen and appreciated. It really gives us a sense of belonging when the people that matter to us show that we matter to them by paying attention. Focus on joyful interactions and on noticing the details over the next few days, and notice the results. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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