The other day, I was eating my lunch and minding my own business (no, really!) when suddenly…FOP! I got slugged in the chest with a foam dart! Looking up to find the perpetrator of this heinious deed, I caught a grin from my mischeivous 9-year-old, Jason. Instantly, another missile came screaming toward me, and I dodged to the left to avoid being pelted! This time, however, the offending bullet landed next to me, and I was able to grab it up – it became MY weapon, now! The fight was on…but not for long, as you’ll soon see.
Kids will do some of the most incredible things at the most inopportune times…like the time my mother had guests over in the afternoon and I, as a 3 year old, waltzed out in my nothings to interrupt their tea! My mother alternately blanched and blushed, while the proper ladies supressed giggles. Within seconds, I was ushered back to my room where I belonged, having recieved a good old-fashioned scolding for my impropriety!
The question is…WHY do they do the most ridiculous things?
And the answer is simple…they want our attention!
You’re on the phone with a dear friend, whom you haven’t talked to in ages. She’s pouring out her troubles, and you’re trying to be a blessing and an encouragment. Junior sees his golden opportunity and sneaks up behind you to let out a blood-curdling scream! You whirl around, expecting to see blood everywhere, only to see Junior smiling up at you, quite innocently.
Now, the question of the hour is, How do we deal with such actions? Do we scream at the kid, or just kill him and get it over with? I don’t think either option is the best choice.
1. Give a child attention before he needs it, not when he does something bad to get it. My mother used to say, “If you give a child attention when he needs it, he won’t grow up and try to get attention by doing bad things.” I’ve found her advice to be sooo true! Thanks, Mom!
In addition, here is some other time-tested advice by Dr. Kevin Lehman, in his helpful book How to Have a New Kid by Friday (don’t let the odd-sounding title scare you off of this helpful book):
2. If what you’re doing is very important and time-sensitive, Take Action – remove the child from you as you continue what you’re doing. Perhaps put them in their room, or send them outside.
3. As soon as you’re done, go to your child and explain to them how the interruptions make you feel. “It’s very important for me to talk to Brittany today. I really want to be a blessing to her.”
As for me and my battle with my nine-year-old warrior, after a brief volley of rounds, I said, “I’d really like to eat now. If you want to target practice, I want you to go to the other room, but if you just need my attention, all you need to do is ask!” It’s amazing that he really didn’t need target practice!
Almost everything our children do, and almost everything we did as children, is to get attention. That is why you – and I – are the targets!
Let’s do our best to give our attention to our little ones before they scream for it!
Do your kids ever do odd things to get your attention? What do you do?
What is something you did as a child to get your parents’ attention? Did it work?