Attention Seeking Behavior

Last Updated: 10 Jan 2022
Essay type: Process
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Many parents and teachers after experienced that inward sigh when the children or the students seem to seek more attention beyond of the normal level. Attention seeking behavior may appear as a child being goofy to make others laugh or constantly requesting someone to play with them. It can also be in the form of self injury or aggressive behavior in children. Even though the attention may be considered negative (ie. colding from caregiver), it can still be very reinforcing for a child wanting to get attention no matter what that requires. The child (Hans) catches the attention of his parents or peers to gain attention. He will do something annoying that will catches the attention of those people surrounds him like licking his nose, banging his head on the wall, aggravating others around him by pulling their hats off at home time, poking them or leaning on them during quiet times. He enjoys showing adults and peers his “sore knees” or “spots” or “bleeding nose” to gain sympathy from them.

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This child constantly does things to get your attention and it can become quite annoying. They will blurt out and tell you what they did etc. Their desire for attention is almost insatiable. Much of what they do is done to get attention. It doesn't seem to matter that you provide lots of attention as they continually seek more. Aggravating others (children, friends, classmates, schoolmates even family members) Blurts out answers before questions have been completed Difficulty awaiting turn Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games) Schedule special time together: One way to ensure your child is getting the attention he or she desires is to make sure to schedule a specific time that you spend one on one with your child for at least 15-30 minutes a day, but preferably longer.

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Some days may be longer and others only 15 minutes, but what’s important is that your he/she knows this is your special time together. Let your child (him/her) know this is his or her special time and allow your child to choose what activity you will do or what you will talk about. Avoid any negative conversation or “You should do this or that” types of conversation. Remind him of your special time together when he engages in his typical seeking types of behavior.

Then, state that you need to finish what you are doing, but you promise to be able to do what they are asking during your special designated time. Always follow through on this or your child will learn that you are not good on your word. Approach your child every 10-15 minutes: If he is really demanding, try your best to approach your child every 10-15 minutes along with scheduling a special time during the day. Give frequent words of encouragement and physical affection (Ex. "Wow, that is an wesome picture you are drawing! " with a pat on the back). If you have something you need to get done, help him/her to start an activity by also engaging in the activity for at least 5-10 minutes. Once he/she begins to play well, state you will be back in a few minutes. Come back in 5 minutes and give the words of encouragement with some physical affection. Then leave again for 5-10 minutes depending on what he/she will tolerate before attempting to engage in attention seeking behavior.

Continue doing this back and forth gradually increasing the time between visits while doing as much as you can to get things done. It may help to have him/her near you, such as at the kitchen table doing an activity while you are trying to make dinner. Involve your child in what you are doing: In addition to the above techniques, if your child just seems to be seeking you all the time and requires your attention so much that you are unable to get things done within the 10 minutes, involve him/her in the job you are working on.

If this involves dinner, allow them to help in any way possible. For laundry, let them load the washer, switch the loads, pour in soap, etc. Usually, he/she will either be excited to be involved or start seeking other activities that can be done alone without needing your attention as an alternative to helping with the chore. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule depending on your specific situation and if he or she engages in attention seeking behavior and has a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD NOS)

What is most important is that you provide so much attention on a regular basis that he or she will not need to engage in attention seeking behavior as a method to get your attention. A factor analysis of some attention- seeking behaviors of young children Though knowledge of the process underlying young children’s behavior their general social interaction with both adults and peers, very little is known either about the dimensionality of their attention-seeking or about its antecedents. In the study herein reported an attempt is made to gain some everage on the dimensionality of the behavior classes employed for attention by young children through a factor analysis of the correlations among nine items of behavior judged to be consonant with the characteristics generally attributed to attention-seeking and age. Behavior for the reinforcer provided by the attention of people (attention-seeking) has usually been defined as falling under the more broadly defined concept “emotional dependence” along with such behaviors as those employed for approval, praise, physical contact and caresses, reassurance and nearness.

While the clinical literature is replete with case histories, mostly based on informal observation in children and adults with adjustment problems, which are described and interpreted in terms of such behavior concepts, the research literature reveals that few systematic attempts have been to study the dimensionality of either emotional dependence or attention-seeking or to determine their antecedents.

Typically, relationships involving emotional dependence and attention-seeking in children have been found as by-products of general studies which addressed themselves to the consequences in children’s behavior of broadly defined family attitudes or conditions of socialization, such as overprotection, deprivation, or rejection. In order to further a systematic experimental investigation of the behaviors employed for attention and the antecedents of those behaviors, an experiment was conducted on young children, which employed situation easel paint as long as he wished in the presence of an adult.

This does not mean one has to put one’s entire life on hold or “run rings around the creature” – it is literally a simple little flash of attention at the right time and when first asked for it; the classic “a stitch in time saves nine” principle. Rather than “rewarding” attention seeking behavior, it never gets to escalate, the creature’s energy system remains balanced and the disturbed behavior never need take place at all.

As the babies who are fed when they are hungry cry markedly less or not at all, creatures who receive attention energy (or love or recognition energy) when they ask for it, their attention seeking behaviors become markedly less frequent, markedly less dramatic and may cease altogether once the system has been in operation for a while and the creature has understood that not only can it get what it needs just the for the asking, but also its energy system has become more robust, more healthy, more resilient and won’t collapse when there is a time when attention is in short supply.

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Attention Seeking Behavior. (2017, Jan 19). Retrieved from

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