What Is Attention Seeking Behavior?
There are many ways children behave so they can get their parents' attention-- some good and some bad—but attention seeking behavior is typically characterized by negative child behaviors that interfere with family life -- for example, temper tantrums, being destructive, and verbal outbursts. Attention seeking behavior can also involve trying to get adult approval or positive reinforcement through behaviors like excessive kissing or hugging.
Thoug i may be difficult to determine whether a child's negative behavior is actually attention seeking, there are some key red flags to look out for:
The child's behavior is significantly more severe than what is typical for their age group
The child's behavior only happens when they are around adults and not with other children their own age
The child becomes extremely upset or emotional when they don't get the attention they want
The child's behavior is disruptive and interferes with family life
If you're seeing any of these redflags, it's possible your child is attention seeking. But if these behaviors are happening to you frequently, it's still important that you take the time to consult a child psychiatrist or pediatrician.
What Causes Attention Seeking Behavior?
Attention seeking behavior can be caused by many different factors, including: developmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), an emotional disturbance, or another mental health disorder. This type of behavior is often present in children who have other behavioral problems, too -- particularly those with disruptive behavior disorders like oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder.
Some experts believe there may also be a link between attention seeking behavior and child abuse-- for instance read more abuse during child discipline could teach the childthat negative child behaviors are acceptable to get what they want.
How Can I Treat Attention Seeking Behavior?
Treating child behavior problems can be challenging, but child therapy is an excellent place to begin exploring treatment options. The therapist should focus on not only the child's disruptive child behaviors, but also why those behaviors may be happening in the first place. Sometimes it will be clear that attention seeking child behavior is at play-- other times, you'll need additional resources like family therapy or individualized parent training to determine if this type of child behavior is taking place.