Children and attitude problems – A Cry for Attention?
As parents of two children or more do you ever find that one or more of your children is giving you a bad attitude because you spend time with your other child/children? It is something recently I have had to deal with in my own home. It was not a problem before recently. All children are amazing, beautiful and a great gift to be treasured. Even though we may try to express this to them sometimes I have learned it does not get through for some reason.
For your first child they used to have you and your spouse all to themselves. Two on one was their normal and maybe it is taking longer than you expect as a parent for them to adjust. Maybe for you as parents it would be wise to take a step back to investigate how your child is dealing with the emotional adjustment to their new reality. Maybe they were or maybe they weren’t wanting or expecting a baby brother or sister to come into their lives. Children and attitude problems can come in many forms and motives, one might be a cry for attention.
You may notice your oldest child distancing himself at times from you and your family. This may come in the form of not responding when you ask/or tell him something. It may also come in the form of her not wanting to play games or spend time with you and/or your spouse and children. She may just want to be alone and may say or not say to you why whereas before he would have told you what is bothering him.
This distance your child may be trying to create in my observation is from feeling like you and your spouse no longer love him because of spending less time together. Children have a need to be together with you, for you to make them their only focus and when as parents we add to our family by having more children the time we have to share in a day obviously will change. Before we had 24 hours a day to give to our one child if needed. Now when their sibling has needs to be meet, our firstborn child will feel this change and could interpret the action to mean we no longer love them.
Your firstborn child may be feeling frustrated due to the reduced access he has no with you and your spouse as we previously discussed. Aside from distancing herself she could also become passive aggressive her sibling which can show in different ways. One way your eldest may express frustration is to be rough with her sibling. Your eldest for example may instead of gently removing her brother or sisters legs from hers while laying in bed may forcefully push them away.
Your oldest child may also begin to bully your younger child which has to be put to a stop immediately as they can potentially hurt their younger sibling. Try to remember to educate your oldest when you do discipline them that they can hurt their younger sibling due to the fact they are much bigger and more powerful than your youngest child. Try to understand from your child what is the root of the bullying and why they feel the need to do so. You may just resolve the issue by learning and implementing steps to removing the concern. If it continues than you may want to consider being more strict in their punishment to end the poor behavior.
Your eldest may also play mean jokes on his sibling. He may instead of joking in a nice manner may spit in his siblings face or on their body. This obviously is not a joke but to your eldest it might just be and a way of expressing frustration of the lack of access to you. Frustration can come out in many forms so be on the look out for signs of frustration.
Attempts to heal hurt
If your eldest child has been demonstrating distance from you and your spouse and frustration with her sibling through being rough, bullying and playing mean jokes than you will need to try to heal the hurt she is feeling. You may consider trying to approach your eldest child in a passive way to not confront initially the issue by playing games and with toys. This can be good as it will allow you and your child to reconnect and if your child accepts playing will make communicating easier. You will be able to feel and see how your child is reacting to you and the game. When the time is right you can bring up the topic of why he is being more distant and expressing his frustration by acting out.
You may also consider telling jokes, doing funny faces, doing things that you know normally cheer her up. Maybe she would accept you reading a book as well which is nice as you could lay in bed and have her rest her head on your chest while you read. Physical touch is sometimes a nice way to reconnect and reading can give you that.
However, you approach him try to remain calm if he does not react positively to your approaches. Although children are quick to forgive since I believe they have an overwhelming desire to be loved by their parents, when we as parents act in ways that hurt our children (getting frustrated, yelling, threatening punishment, calling them names to shame them into an action we desire) it leaves a black mark on them. I believe enough of those experiences will negatively affect our children in ways we may not know until they are adults, if ever.
You will have achieved success when your child explains what the issue they have is. If you believe you already know the issue and your child is open to speaking you could try bringing up what you believe is causing them to behave they way they are. Consider expressing that you love your daughter just as much as your youngest child. In fact, you may want to consider if you are not already doing so to express this at least once a day. It could be in the morning when they are getting ready to leave home to go to school.
Be sure to express love in the way your child receives it so if they are affectionate than give lots of hugs and kisses. If they need to hear say I love you. Try thinking outside of the box to show your love.
One way to really put the issue your child has is to plan times when you are alone with them without your youngest so your child feels that one on one (two on one) love they were used to. It’s like the way whales breath. They can dive on a breath of air but eventually must come up for more. The same thing applies to our children and spending time with you. They need you so make time and ensure they know you love them through your actions.
What do you think of this post? Do you agree or disagree? How would you handle things? What do you believe should be added to this list? Have you experienced your eldest child become more distinct? Become more frustrated and express this with your youngest child? How have you attempted to heal the hurt and were you successful straight away or did it take time? Love to hear your thoughts and will get back as soon as possible.