Kids today are facing an attention dilemma. They crave attention from their parents and leaders, and they will often get it one way or another through various means. This could mean seeking attention in the right ways or demanding it in the wrong ways.
Jesus knew how to deal with children and their need for attention. He set a great example for us to follow: “And he took them up into his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:16)
Here are some ways your kids will get your attention.
Positive Attention or Negative Attention
Kids are created not only with a need but with a craving for attention. Because it’s not just the attention, but love, they are seeking. And in the mind of a child, love is spelled time.
As they age, if they’re not given the right kinds of attention, they are more likely to seek out the wrong kinds of attention, or in the wrong kinds of ways.
Instead of showing love to get attention, they often demonstrate misbehavior. Instead of following rules, they may intentionally disobey them because it gets them the attention they are craving, even if it’s negative attention.
The most precious gift you can give someone is the gift of your time and attention. (Nicky Gumbel)
Family Attention or Friend Attention
The majority of a child’s primary attention needs often can and should be met through the home. While attention from peers can be both natural and healthy, it can also become dangerous if a child is seeking approval and attention from outside of the home to make up for not having received it inside the home.
We see this at times when children are accepted by wrong friend groups or even willing to do clearly wrong things in order to fill an attention need that has gone unmet at home.
You should never take responsibility for more children than you can give attention to. (James Redfield)
Attention Now or Attention Later
Parents who give their kids quality, positive attention when they are young prevent their children from tendencies to act out or misbehave in order to seek needed attention when they’re older.
Children who grow up with a healthy diet of praise and positive attention from their parents are much less likely to deal with issues of low self-esteem or anxiety as they enter adulthood.
It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. (Frederick Douglass)
A daughter will be less likely to seek out wrong male attention as a teen if she is receiving positive male attention from her father throughout her childhood. A son who has been made to feel confident in himself will be much less likely to seek or need to prove his manliness through unhealthy or toxic means.
Behind every child who believes in himself is a parent who believed in them first.
In what right or wrong ways are your children seeking attention? How could you give them the best of your time and attention this week?
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.