11/30/2010

4 Year Old Attention Seeking Behavior

There comes a point in every mother's life when she needs to take a step back and analyze a situation that is reoccurring more often than not. When I was studying to be a teacher, we were taught constantly to re-evaluate every aspect of what happens in our classroom every day. Whether it is a lesson plan taught- how can I do it better for the next class? A behavior management technique- could I have done it a different way? Or a time management issue- I need to spend less time talking and more focus on the activity! As a parent, I think we get caught up too much with our emotions and our every day struggles to take a step back and unveil what the true problem is behind our child's behavior.

Although I am not a behavioral specialist, I can tell you one thing for sure- your child's personality traits play a major role in how your child reacts and acts to any given situation. For instance, my eldest of 3 children, Anthony, is four years old and has a very complex personality. He is by far the most outgoing, caring, goofy boy that you can ever meet- he always asks me to smile and wants a hug constantly. He can go a little far off the deep end with his goofiness- but it's all in good nature. However, he is (what I believe) immature for his age, has issues with jealousy, and is very competitive.

Where does that leave me? Picture this: I am playing with one of his siblings because at that moment he is doing something independently. He then notices I am paying attention to someone else so he first attempts to do something goofy (or at least appears to be) and accidently hurts me. Once he notices I am displeased he then wants a hug and nudges his younger sibling off of my lap. Once I believe the situation is being handled, he then asks me to do something that is unreasonable to do at the time. So I reply with a "No- not right now." Then he begins to whine and cry.

He has also begun debating- EVERYTHING -and apparently with everyone. This constant form of arguing adds stress within the home and makes me feel that I have no control- which I hate!

So step back. What has been different? When it begin?

Looking way back my son's behavior grew worse after the birth of my second born. Once my daughter was able to play with Anthony- she was all right and his behavior also began to improve. What did I do to ease some tension during this time? We did some mommy and me things together and I also implemented behavioral sticker charts. My son's behavior improved and everything was at ease.

Looking back (within the past 6 months or so) what happened? Well, he started preschool everyday and I gave birth to his baby brother about 7 months ago. So a lot has been going on in this little guy’s life. What have I been doing differently? Well, I haven't spent much mommy and me time together- simply because it's harder now and his younger sister either wants to attend or he asks for her company. (Twisted turn of events here!) I also haven't done a behavior modification system as of yet.

What's a classifier with no time to do? Well, it's obvious he needs some attention. I think to start I need to make a conscience effort to give him a little more throughout the day- or set some time for just us two- even if it's reading him an extra story before bed time. If after a week, I see no improvement (or not enough) I will then put on my Super Nanny cape on and set some ground rules down (again). And because he is older, and needs to learn how to control his emotions and jealousy, perhaps instead of a sticker behavior chart, we can track how he feels in situations and then come up with resolutions and solutions. I may make a chart or something of it's sorts for you to share if I come down to it.

All in all, if you take a step back and analyze the whole picture, sometimes you realize that there are reasons as to why your child is acting up. Even if it means you start a parenting journal or blog to account for you and your child's actions!

What about you? Have you ever experienced a situation like mine? Please feel free to share how you over came your child's attention-getting behavior!


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Aimee ~Classified: Mom

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