Attention and Recognition

When your children want attention, what do they do? Throw a tantrum? Misbehave? Act inappropriately? Perhaps you can show them a better way.

There are many things children want, things they won’t usually ask for directly. In that way, they are no different from adults. There are two things in particular that all of us seem to need – recognition and attention; or, if you will, appreciation and a little tender loving care (TLC).

Kids who get plenty of each from the start are usually happy, well-adjusted, confident, and behave themselves appropriately. Kids who don’t get much of either will get very creative. They may try throwing tantrums. If the tantrums get them attention, they may grow up believing that when you don’t get what you want, get angry, because it works. It becomes an ever-escalating spiral, affecting anyone within earshot. These adults can be quite the drain on those around them.

Some children misbehave to get attention, because even negative attention is better than nothing at all. If neither tantrums nor acting up get them the attention they need, they may eventually quit trying at all. They will become withdrawn and apathetic. Their world turns in on itself.

The thing to do then, if you want to deal successfully with these problems, or avoid them in the first place, is to give your kids plenty of attention and affection when they are behaving well. Let them know that it is okay to ask for what they want, or to say, “Mom and Dad, would you please pay attention to me for a few minutes?” When they do ask, make the time to give them the attention they need – for them and for you. A little TLC sown now will reap tremendous benefits in everyone’s future.

And by the way, leaders, this same “attention and engagement” model works with those you lead. Engaging with the workforce, asking the right questions, and listening purposefully to the responses provides recognition to the solutions that are waiting to be presented to you. Reflective of a growth mindset your part, it’s a triple win for you and the organization.