Instead of: they’re just looking for attention

The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.

How often do we take a step back and try to find out why children behave the way they do? Do we tend to lash out and get upset about their behaviour, or are we willing to give the child a chance and try to understand why they’re behaving in this manner?

This is something I truly feel passionate about. When this becomes a topic of discussion, I struggle to tone down my own emotions and get really caught up in my own frustration about the way in which children are treated or what is said when they’re acting out and behaving in a way that makes people question whether they’re just seeking attention.

Working with children truly opens your eyes to the way in which you treat them and how you choose to respond when they behave in certain ways.

There are so many times when children act out and their behaviour seems unexplained. They lash out, shout, scream, roll their eyes, ignore, and the list goes on. Yes, they’re looking for attention… and that’s when we need to seize the opportunity and find out what’s going on. It’s not a chance to brush off the way the child is behaving.

We need to change our attitude and perspective from saying “They’re just looking for attention”, to “Are you okay?”. More often than not, it’s not a bad attitude, it’s just children seeking love and support. The only way they may know how to get any form of attention is to act out, when really they need love.

It may be frustrating or draining for you as a teacher or a parent, but being empathetic and putting yourself in their shoes may make a huge difference in their life. We also need to remember that younger children may not always know how to express how they’re feeling, and that’s why we need to be patient. When it comes to teenagers, they may be acting out and treating those around them with disrespect because they aren’t being loved at home and could feel neglected.

Don’t underestimate how simply asking “How are YOU?” or “Where can I help YOU?” can make the world of a difference in the child’s life. You may just be the person they’ve been desperate would show that they love and care, and would reach out to them.

Nothing you teach them is more important than the love you give them.

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