I recently did a video about reframing ‘attention seeking behaviour’ as ‘connection seeking behaviour’ and was asked ‘what sort of things do children do when they want to connect with you?’
There are a few ways that the need to connect can manifest in children’s behaviour.
The way that we are probably most familiar with is what would typically be known as ‘attention seeking’. Children can up-regulate their behaviours to get our attention in an attempt to get us to notice them, pay them attention and connect with them.
This is usually because they feel unsafe in some way. They believe that they won’t get help when they ask for it, so they keep testing to see if they CAN get adult attention when they need it. A prime example of this is when you’re on the phone, and they nag and nag you for the attention and when you turn to give it to them, they don’t have anything to say.
Sometimes this behaviour looks like them being disruptive, unhelpful, rude and engaging in behaviours that they know we don’t like, and then when we ask them what’s the matter and we give them the attention they reject us and push us away.
This leaves us feeling baffled, like ‘what was that all about?!’
The advice is normally to ignore such behaviour in the hopes that it will stop, but it often doesn’t and then we feel at a loss about what to do.
Another way that connection seeking behaviour can show up is in excessive talking, making up tall tales, telling long winded stories… These are all ways that children try and get our attention in a way to say ‘please spend some time with me’. They are using strategies to get and keep your attention in the only way they know how.
Or they can be overly emotional and anxious in a bid to connect with us because they know that the emotion they give gets a reaction from us. It’s a strategy that they’ve learned that works.
Generally children will stop displaying these types of behaviour that can be confusing or even irritating for us by making sure that we are giving them dedicated, consistent and predictable time to connect in a way that they enjoy. Treasure Time teaches you exactly how to do this each week so that those difficult connection seeking behaviours start to subside.
Check out the website today to find out more about Treasure Time and how it can strengthen your relationship with your child through connection and play.