Power of Positive Attention in Dealing with Behavioral Problems

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Sneha Sarkar
3 years ago
Power of Positive Attention in Dealing with Behavioral Problems

 Let's see if it's familiar to you

Your child is solving puzzles with her friend. As a parent, you notice them and feel proud to see them being able to solve puzzles, but at the same time, you resist acknowledging their efforts expressively. Instead, you think of watching your favorite show without having your kid hanging on your foot despite the fact that your child has noticed you observing the play.


 Puzzle solving


Here you just lose out on a fantastic moment of catching your kids being good. Your child might think that they are not doing good enough and may end up suppressing their interest in solving puzzles or what they were doing as you didn’t acknowledge and appreciate. This can make them feel that you don't care about them. Taking cognizance of and expressing your happiness for your children’s efforts will make them feel validated. This can go on to play a major role in building up a child’s personality. Praising your child for good behavior yields more results than just calling them out for things they shouldn't have done. Experts suggest that giving kids positive attention can help them change their behavior for good. Let’s find out more about this.


Also read: Authoritarian vs Authoritative Parenting Styles 


What do we mean by positive attention?

Having a super healthy relationship with your kid is very vital for their growth as kids strive to do their best in these conditions. One of the best ways to do this is by providing positive attention to your child. It includes affirmative ways of responding to them like praising, smiling genuinely, warmth, showing affection, etc.


Praising child


It is very common to respond negatively when children are doing things they are not supposed to do and not respond at all when they are doing the things you expect them to do. For children, parental attention is always very influential and powerful. Positive attention requires parents to emphasize good behavior and calmly deal with the not-so-good ones. It's very apparent that the behavior which gets more acknowledged is the behavior your child will repeat.


Different ways of giving your child attention positively :

●       Making eye contact, positive bodily gestures, and facial expressions when you catch them looking at you.

●       Praising verbally, don’t hold yourself back from complementing your tiny one’s efforts 

●       Expressing physical affection like hugs, back pats, high fives.


Hugging child


●       Recognizing their achievement and awarding them

●       Showing interest in what your child likes to do like solve puzzles with them or play video games together.


Attention to child


●       Responding with a smile

●       Offer positive feedback for their behavior like when your child is fighting with their cousin, instead of asking them "why are you being this annoying?" ask them " What made them fight?" and make them solve it calmly.


Why is positive attention important in reducing behavioral problems?


Behavioral Problems 


Check out: Why You Should Discipline Your Child


 We all are aware of how dangerous attention-seeking habits are. Children tend to lack a feeling of personal power, belonging, and significance and try to hurt themselves to seek attention. When your child receives good doses of positive attention, it reduces their attention-seeking habits. They won't be disturbing their siblings or throwing tantrums when they get your required attention. With children deprived of positive attention, selective ignoring never works as they feel ignored anyways.

Positive attention has a substantial impact on emotional, cognitive and social development. This fosters confidence, empathy, resilience, etc which leads to an increase in the social competence of your child.


You might also like to ride: Understanding and managing children's misbehaviour


The miracles of pandemic:


In times of pandemic where kids are out of school, maintaining social and refrained outdoor pastimes provide parents with a whole lot of chances to engage with children and do various activities together. Implementation of positive attention during these hardships could bring out great results in the future. It needs considerable effort and planning from the parent's side. Positive attention makes your child emotionally stronger and better to emerge from the crisis towards a fruitful future. Spontaneous positive attention improves self-image. Also, a sense of safety and security are accentuated. Following are the things you considering trying in this pandemic :



Spending time with children


  1. Try to spend quality time with considerable attention or set aside time to participate in things that interest your child.
  2. Don't try to resist their imagination, rather resist your urge to always correct them.
  3. Avoid using your mobile or television while you are with your kid to give them undivided attention.
  4. Try to be calm when dealing with their tantrums.


How to deal with bad behavior then?


Yelling at children


  • Intervening with your child at times of unsafe behavior towards others or for themselves can be helpful but if the focus is to simply lessen a kind of behavior then it may not be as helpful. 
  • Kids usually correlate undesirable behavior with maximum attention so tackling this with yelling wouldn't work.
  •  Rather as experts called it active ignoring could be a great medium to withdraw that attention till your child stops it. 
  • Redirecting your child's attention to something else could also work. Active ignoring doesn't mean that you won't address the matter later, it's actually the opposite.

Consider the following scenario:




 You are with your kid standing in a supermarket's checkout line and your kids start yelling and crying, throwing tantrums because they want a toy or chocolate. 

 Let's break down this scenario:

 Now ignoring this behavior or letting your kid have what they want won't assure you that this will never repeat. Instant negotiating could help the scene to calm down( eg: they can have their favorite show on your phone instead or they can have ice cream after dinner).

 Addressing the issue after you come back with lots of validation like asking them " what should we do if this behavior comes up again?"  This reveals to your kid that you understand their wants at that very time. 

Also, this increases the problem-solving attitude and the sense of accountability over their behavior. It is crucial to remember that these things don't work immediately or sooner. They could go worse before they get better. So keep your calm and work it out.


 There will be times where you are frustrated with your child’s behavior, but remember it's very important to keep building a healthy bond. Use positive attention as an investment. Implementing and practicing positive attention now will save you and your child from putting more effort to sort things out later.

This article has been reviewed by our panel. The points, views and suggestions put forth in this article have been expressed keeping the best interests of fellow parents in mind. We hope you found the article beneficial.