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The Need for Attention

Jedd Hafer

I have asked teachers in 46 states, “Why do kids act out?”

The #1 answer by far? ‘Attention’

“He just wants attention.”

Is it true that kids act out to get attention? Sure. But, at the Love and Logic Institute, we try to be more specific. The need we are really talking about is the need to be NOTICED.

The need to be noticed is pretty powerful. If you don’t believe this, head over to a televised sporting event and watch how the people act when they aim the camera at the crowd. Or go on social media and see how hard people are trying to get noticed. Or go out to a playground and walk past some kids you know who are playing on the equipment. Will they try to gain your attention?

“Hey, look at me! Watch me!”

Somewhere inside, we are all that little child on the playground, wanting to be noticed and affirmed.

This helps me remember to show some patience and empathy to those kids who ‘act out to get attention’.

After all, thy are just getting a powerful human need met. I shouldn’t be so mad at kids for trying to meet this need. The 2 things I can (on good days) do better are:

1. Meet this need in healthier ways - on my terms.
2.  Teach kids better skills to get their own needs met.

In an upcoming Insider Club article, I will address this idea in a little more detail.

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