Children need our attention PERIOD.
I overheard two adults talking recently concerning a young family member and the conversation basically went along the lines that the little boy in question needs to have someone be a bit hard on him and it would stop the youngsters attitude.
The boy in question is in grade school and he seems to be very sensitive. He reacts quickly, seemingly short tempered at times, and he gets really emotional rather quickly.
This boys parents love him dearly, that would never be in dispute. The problem I see is that he and his siblings are lacking in individual attention. Considering the lack of individual attention, I can not see how being “hard” on him would help the situation at all. I understand how some ideas might sound good at first but decisions like this need to be thoroughly thought through. The idea of “tough love” can be very useful but incorrectly utilized or used in a situation that does not merit it can make a situation quite a bit worse…not to mention possible resentment that could develop from the misuse of the “tough love” theory.
Many parents find themselves stretched so thin nowadays that they do not stop long enough to breathe, let alone spend individual time with their children. If this is the case, it does not mean that parents do not love their children or that the kids are not important. It just means that we need to make time. If we have no time to spare, it very well may be time for us to evaluate what we have going on and lighten the load. Children understand many things but understanding something does not mean that it is easy to live with.
I child can understand that their parents have to work so they can take care of things but they may not be able to relate that understanding to the emotion that goes along with not spending enough time with Mom and Dad. It is a balancing act that many parents do not handle very well.
I try very hard not to tell someone what they should or should not do with their children but some things can be very obvious. If you have several children, you need a good amount of time to spend with each youngster. It is not a great idea to acquire multiple pets when you have a difficult time finding individual time with each of the children at home. Each pet you bring home inevitably takes time away from the children.
Children act out when they are young partly due to a child’s perspective that negative attention is better than no attention at all. When a child goes for a long period of time trying to get negative attention rather than no attention, they end up making the behavior habitual and, therefore, much more difficult to rectify. The sooner a parent takes note of it and attempts to alter the behavior, the better the chances are that habitual bad behavior can be avoided.
It does not matter how much we think our children understand about why we do not have more time to spend with them…understanding is of the mind and thought process but the acting out is due to feelings. Most adults I know have a difficult time trying to line up their powers of reasoning with their actual feelings. If it is difficult for an adult to align reasoning and feelings, it would be almost impossible for a young child to wrap their head around it.
Children learn what we teach them. Many things they learn from other sources end up causing confusion or trouble. Our time would be ill delegated if we allow our children to be left to their own devices to learn what we should be teaching them.
Individual attention is absolutely necessary for every single child on the planet. The more children you have, the more time to need to set aside for them. Giving up your blackberry (or other distraction) for a few hours really will not do you any harm…seriously. We owe our children enough respect to make time to spend with them, even if it is only to sit together, read a book, do homework or a myriad of other things.
Making time to spend with our children is something that benefit’s the whole family and reduces the possibility of the habitual bad behavior (seeking negative attention). We can love our children dearly and still deny them something they want most from us.