When I ask my 5-year-old why he is behaving like he is, calling people names, throwing things, just being a nightmare, he always tells me he needs more individual attention. I can see how that might be a reason to act the way he does, however, it’s not the entire reason. He does have a point though, we could do better at giving each child individual attention in a positive way.
This is easier to do with my daughter because her need to individual attention is lower than my son’s. She will come get the attention she needs in a positive way most of the time. She’s also easier to provide individual attention too as she often likes to be praised over artwork she has created, how she is doing in school, or wants you to watch a movie with her. Her attention span is longer now that she is older. She also got to spend all summer at home with me, helping me, and we did some really fun things.
My son on the other hand, it’s harder. He wants individual attention constantly from the moment he wakes up until the moment he falls asleep. That is MUCH harder to do because I do have responsibilities like to cook dinner, iron, do laundry, clean, etc. There are also days when physically I can’t give him all that he needs such as going outside, going somewhere fun, etc. He also bores easily. I can cuddle with him on the couch while we watch a show, but that won’t usually last more than a few minutes until he’s up, acting out, and telling me he’s bored. I have watched him play Wii, tried to get him involved in the things that I need to get done – without good results.
The thing with him will be to determine how we can find a good balance of providing him the attention he needs to fill his tank without it requiring every second of my time from the moment he wakes up until the moment he falls asleep. What I’ve decided to do for him is to almost schedule his individual attention. I plan to provide him with extra time watching him play, snuggling with him, engaging with him so that I can fill that tank and eliminate his need to act out negatively to get the attention he needs. This won’t be easy because I often find myself behind on things that need to get done. However, I’m going to do my best to meet his needs in hope of bringing him peace and ultimately peace in to the household.