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Old 01-20-2015, 06:20 PM #1
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Default small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

I have never posted on this forum before. So a little back ground info might be helpful.

My H an I have not gotten along well for the past couple of years. We were in marriage T. Thinks around this house are not as calm and sweet as they look. I have 3 kids ages 7,17, and 15 yrs old. The kids are often witness to there dad being less then approving of me and of them as well. The oldest child I know wish his dad and I were no longer married. The middle child is high functioning autistic, so he can only look at things from his own stand point. He is not able to see what things are like for me and others. My littlest child, well that is the one I am most concerned about. She says things like "It's ok, daddy gets mad at me to" or "It'll be alright mom, I love you." My husband doesn't mean to be the bad guy. He is just very drill Sargent like. He also has a form of autism him self. He has aspurgers. So he may not be completely aware if his actions.

I went to the T today. My H and I were going to T together but now just I go. But I was telling the T about how needy my little girl is. She climbs all over you, sets on your lap, gets in between you and the TV. She seems to have no ability to play by her self. She always needs entertaining. I asked the T what is up with that. This kid drives me crazy. I love her to death but sheesh, I need some time alone.

I got an answer I didn't suspect from my T. She said it is likely that this child is reaching out. She is wanting approval. She gets lots of negative statements form her dad. Your to loud, your room is a mess, get your toys out of the living room, leave me alone, stop singing, stop wasting food. Seldom does he have anything positive to say to her. She is attention seeking as a way to cope. She is trying to show what she can do and to get approval. She wants to be recognized for something positive. So she tries one thing after another until she finds approval. Then once she does she is so approval depleted that she needs large amounts of approval. On top of that she sees enough disapproval going on in her household that she feels a need to make up for that as well.

I am telling you this because there may be others of you out there with the same issue. I asked the T what do I do now. She told me that my H and I both need to give this child a set time of uninterrupted attention. 20 min with my H and 20 min with me. No phone, no computer, no doing other stuff. Just her and what ever adult doing what she wants to. She also said when this child does paly by herself even if it is 15 min of coloring, or 10 min of working a puzzle, praise praise, praise. She is receiving positive interaction and encouragement that way and what she had to do to get it was entertain her self.

I know that this is likely of any interest to most of you. It is such a minor problem... help my kid want play by there self? But I am the kind of person who has to write something out and see it for it to make since. I know I am weird. It helps me enormously to have others at least validate me, just to know that I have been heard. I plan on telling this to my H. Now that I have my words organized. I am not sure he will listen. I am not sure he will believe me when I tell him that his actions affect the kids in ways he never imagined. I am not sure he is capable of hearing me on this matter. I need to tell someone though. I now know why this kid does this. I can potentially help her. And he can help her to if he will.

Thank you for listening.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:23 PM #2
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

thanks for sharing this. i hope others will find it helpful. i can pass it along in my parenting classes. i hope your h listens.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:49 PM #3
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Thank you Big Mama, I found this helpful. My daughter is five and she is constantly attached to me (to the point I can get overwhelmed). It's good for me to remember that sometimes I need to be the one to reach out to her first to make sure her needs are getting met. Also she wouldn't be using these attention seeking behaviours if she wasnt in need of attention.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:59 AM #4
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Dealing with the same situation also!!
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Old 04-11-2015, 07:43 AM #5
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Mama View Post
I have never posted on this forum before. So a little back ground info might be helpful.

My H an I have not gotten along well for the past couple of years. We were in marriage T. Thinks around this house are not as calm and sweet as they look. I have 3 kids ages 7,17, and 15 yrs old. The kids are often witness to there dad being less then approving of me and of them as well. The oldest child I know wish his dad and I were no longer married. The middle child is high functioning autistic, so he can only look at things from his own stand point. He is not able to see what things are like for me and others. My littlest child, well that is the one I am most concerned about. She says things like "It's ok, daddy gets mad at me to" or "It'll be alright mom, I love you." My husband doesn't mean to be the bad guy. He is just very drill Sargent like. He also has a form of autism him self. He has aspurgers. So he may not be completely aware if his actions.

I went to the T today. My H and I were going to T together but now just I go. But I was telling the T about how needy my little girl is. She climbs all over you, sets on your lap, gets in between you and the TV. She seems to have no ability to play by her self. She always needs entertaining. I asked the T what is up with that. This kid drives me crazy. I love her to death but sheesh, I need some time alone.

I got an answer I didn't suspect from my T. She said it is likely that this child is reaching out. She is wanting approval. She gets lots of negative statements form her dad. Your to loud, your room is a mess, get your toys out of the living room, leave me alone, stop singing, stop wasting food. Seldom does he have anything positive to say to her. She is attention seeking as a way to cope. She is trying to show what she can do and to get approval. She wants to be recognized for something positive. So she tries one thing after another until she finds approval. Then once she does she is so approval depleted that she needs large amounts of approval. On top of that she sees enough disapproval going on in her household that she feels a need to make up for that as well.

I am telling you this because there may be others of you out there with the same issue. I asked the T what do I do now. She told me that my H and I both need to give this child a set time of uninterrupted attention. 20 min with my H and 20 min with me. No phone, no computer, no doing other stuff. Just her and what ever adult doing what she wants to. She also said when this child does paly by herself even if it is 15 min of coloring, or 10 min of working a puzzle, praise praise, praise. She is receiving positive interaction and encouragement that way and what she had to do to get it was entertain her self.

I know that this is likely of any interest to most of you. It is such a minor problem... help my kid want play by there self? But I am the kind of person who has to write something out and see it for it to make since. I know I am weird. It helps me enormously to have others at least validate me, just to know that I have been heard. I plan on telling this to my H. Now that I have my words organized. I am not sure he will listen. I am not sure he will believe me when I tell him that his actions affect the kids in ways he never imagined. I am not sure he is capable of hearing me on this matter. I need to tell someone though. I now know why this kid does this. I can potentially help her. And he can help her to if he will.

Thank you for listening.

Big Mama,

Your therapist is right about one thing, this child needs some focused attention on a regular basis and positive interactions that will reassure her of her own self worth; however I think that expecting this to come from your husband could be problematic due to both his own personal struggles and his history of chronic, negative interactions with both you and the child- in short there is a very real possibility that your husband will not participate or maintain what has been suggested; thus it all comes down to do you, and your commitment to your daughters emotional and developmental needs.

Some suggestions I have for you in making your daughters needs a part of your regular routine include some of the things I have done with my own children through the years;

- Mommy day; a day that is all about you and her (outside of school and work of course) where you will set up at least one special activity or outing for just the two of you.
This can be anything from a trip to the library where you read books of her choice in a quite corner, to going to the dollar store and purchasing some fun new hair accessories, makeup and or nail polish (if you permit her to use makeup/polish for fun at her age- every parent is different) and do make overs, a homemade spa day (using recipes for facial masks, skin scrubs, etc), jewelry making or crafts, scrap booking, swimming, biking, playing on a swing set, going to the local park or beach, a walk in the woods, or anything else you can think of or which she can suggest as an enjoyable mother daughter activity for the day. The day does not have to be a full day of activities; but it should last for at least 1-2 hours of time spent together having fun, and you can do it as often as once a week, or every other week, or once a month- whatever works for you.

- Family time; a time where all (willing) members of the family join together for the playing of board games, card games, homemade games, etc... for some family fun together.
Team games where it's girls against the boys or kids against the parents are always fun and help to build family unity. A particular board game called, "Beat the Parents" is a good one
Games of strategy are a good way to have one person playing with your youngest (in support/assistance of her play) against another member of the family.
The benefit to family time is that it can happen any time any all. You don't have to schedule it; but if you want to you can.
If other members of the family don't want or can't participate playing, some one on one games with the little one is always an option to meet her individual needs until the next time the family can do this together.

- Cooking and/or baking together; the family needs to eat each day, and each day meals are made to feed the family. Your daughter can absolutely play a part in this
Whether she is helping with the full meal, or in charge of some part of it (salad, side dish, main or desert) your little one can be a helper in the kitchen which would allow her to spend time with you and also receive some praise and satisfaction from a job well done in feeding the family.
Making lunches for family members (the night before so there's not morning rush or stress) is another great way to interact together and allow her to feel a sense of accomplishment and approval through taking care of her family and making them "good things" to eat.
Weekend breakfast/brunch allows for another special meal time where she can play a part in the kitchen, and in the care of her family.

- Cleaning; can be fun if you put it to music, allow for time to mess around while reaching cleanliness, etc...
Doing the dishes has to be done daily, allowing the little one to play a part in washing the pots, pans, spoons and any unbreakables allows for a time to chat, to be silly and to get things done at the same time. House cleaning when put to music can be an adventure onto itself; dancing, tickling and laughing through the work helps build connections and get the job done at the same time. Make sure wherever you are cleaning you are in the same room, and telling her what a good job she's done or teaching her some special "secrete" tricks that mommy knows to get something "just right" followed by praise. You may have to redo what she's done when she's at school or asleep; but let her enjoy the satisfaction that comes with something she has done to the best of her ability.

-Snuggles, cuddles and stories; whether you're watching a movie, reading a book, or just spending some quiet time nestled together talking about your day or special moments in life- intimacy is important.
One of the things my children and I enjoy doing on weekends is called "nesting" and it's where we get a bunch of pillows and blankets and make a bed on the floor where we'll watch movies, tell or read stories, have snacks and just spend time together as a family; sometimes we'll sleep there for the whole night and sometimes we won't- it's very easy breezy with what we do.
This is something you could do with your daughter one on one, and if the floor is not a place you want to be you can always nestle on the couch, a comfy chair, in her bed or yours, or anywhere else as long as you have closeness, comfort and the opportunity for connection.

- Video Games; whether it's Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, or the computer there is a host of electronic entertainment available in this day and age that you and your daughter can enjoy.
You don't have to be good at it, in fact it's better if you're not because it'll give her a chance to be the hero, but working together on two player games or assisting her with something that she will accomplish on her own, or even having her teach you how to do something is a great way to share time together and have fun.

Being as there are so many different things to do together, and ways to make togetherness a part of every day life it becomes easy (after you find your rhythm and routine) to share time together on a daily basis and nurture your daughter with lots of love and attention to the point where it truly becomes second nature and you find your doing things together all the time.

It's important to remember a few things:
  1. Anything your daughter takes part in (like cooking, cleaning, baking) will take considerably longer than usual because she will need help, instruction and praise; add at least 30 minutes to any usual amount of time it would take for you to accomplish this same task, so that you're not falling behind schedule or rushing your child through her contributions to the house hold.
  2. Along with attention and approval, your daughter needs a sense of accomplishment, acceptance and praise; creating and accomplishing things where she can receive your accolades and those of family members are very important for her development and emotional wellbeing.
  3. Be prepared for father to fail; your husband seems to be the type who can usually find something wrong or not good enough in anything- this will likely continue to be the trend and it will have an impact on your daughter. You need to be ready to reinforce the positive if/when he should slam down the negative comments and attitudes. This is something you will do with your daughter (not your husband) in a discrete way so that she knows she is being supported by you and that you are fully accepting of her and proud of her accomplishments.

You can absolutely do this whether your husband participates or not.

I have faith in you
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:07 AM #6
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Thank you. My husband saw our kids the total of 1 hour this week. His aggravation with the world and his own issues prevents him from being nice when he is available. I do my best to make up for that.

Today is clean day, she will help. I will have to go behind her and undo the extra mess she makes, but if it results in a positive interaction then that is ok. I am a stay at home mom so I really do have ALL DAY.

I try to give her the first 30 min of each day when she comes home from school to tell me about her day. She often helps me cook and set the table. I let her go out and pick flowers for the center-peace at supper time. It makes her feel special and kinda gets here our of my hair to

I have been making attempts to play board games and card games with her. Who doesn't love an exciting game of old maid.

The T tells me all the time that I am the glue that holds the kids together. Fathering skills are not my H's strong suit. I make up for where he lacks. That is a parents job, it just happens to be that he lacks a lot and I spend alot of time making up for it. But if it results in happy healthy kids then amen.
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:25 AM #7
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Big mama, thank you for being the mom you are. I was your child when I was her age. My father was the sameway but also worked 80 hours a week, my mother, the only time I got her attention is if I went to her. She never came to me, as a child, all I wanted was some love I guess. My father though at times gave me that when he wasn't arguing with my mom and working. He would once in awhile say little things "like its ok your doing great" and it would ring in my ears for weeks.

I am so happy you shared that cause more parents need to understand that. I have 2 my own and I do practically what your T suggested because As a child that's all I wanted.

One more thing my older brother who has no kids told me when I had my first was "Quality Vs. Quantity" I've kept that with me for 10 years and I'll always use it for my children, husband, and life.
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:48 PM #8
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

I kinda feel for my kids. I don;t know if I am doing them an injustice or not. There dad works 7 days a week. He commutes an hour each way and works a minimum of 8 hours a day. He often works till dark. He is very involved in church. I feel like a single parent most of the time. When he is here he does things differently then I do. He is much more tough on the kids then I am. He very seldom has anything positive to say to the kids.

For the most part I am glad he is not here all the time. When he is here is often not saying nice things and he is complaining about how I do stuff in regards to the kids. A lot of the time that he is here we just don't get along. They have seen there fair share of that to.

I spend a lot of time back tracking and making up for the hurt he has caused. When we disagree and he is short with me in front of the kids I wait till he leaves the room and then the kids and I talk about how you should talk to someone you love. How do you ask someone to do something, how to encourage others and such. That is all I know to do to combat the things he says.

He does pay all the bills and we live in nice house. The kids are eager to see him most of the time. We just have to be kinda careful when we are together a lot.

I make a point to spend time with each kid. I try hard to really gt into what they are doing even if I am not interested. I try to take each of them alone out for some fun and one on one time. I try hard to keep me and the kids together and find fun things for us to do as a family, with or with out there dad. When he is home he just wantes to stay at home. He is just happy to be home. Sometimes he wants to be alone at home. No more noise, other times he realizes he is missing his kids and he wants to do wtuff with them. But most of the time it doesn't end very positive.

I told my H what the T said. He tries to spend solo time with each of the kids and just keep his mouth shut when they talk about things that do not interest him.

Butternut thank you for sharing part of your story.
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:14 PM #9
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

You are very Welcome BigMama!

Sounds like you guys are trying. I know how it feels to be that way, like your a single mother. I mean my husband has been working 60 hour weeks and I lose alot of humph to do things just because I have so much to do ALL THE TIME!

Your kids are going to grow up knowing their mother cared for them.

And maybe having the kids understand that tempers fly when you have less sleep and working all the time, maybe to give them the understanding how why he is that way (there is no excuse but we can all get that way sometimes) and controlling your anger is hard but with alot of work it pays off, like how your explaining not yelling at a loved one. I think its awesomet that your making sure your kids know its not right because you don't want them to grow up thinking thats how to do it.

I'm glad to hear he is trying with the kids. That takes alot for anyone to do. Especially working as much as he is.

My husband stayed home with the kids while I worked a full time job to an 80 hour a week job for a little. But before that he never understood why I was so ready to get out of the house when he got home from work or How I could just ignore a pile of dishes or wanted to take a shower with NO INTERUPPTIONS! He never gave me that respect, until he was home with the kids. About a month into it, I came home from work and he just kept apoligizing to me, because he really didn't get it until he was in it.

I hope he attends the next session, maybe you'll be able to get more out.
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:47 PM #10
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Default Re: small child is attention seeking, she drives me crazy

Thanks for posting this big mama I can relate to it all except my kids are 3 &1 and the 3 yr old drives me nuts.. My husband sounds so much like yours. Hugs you sound like a good mom and your post is inspiring
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