Upset or Craving Attention?

I’m probably not the only one who gets extremely annoyed when there is a child stamping their feet and screaming in my face. Are they doing this because they are genuinely upset about something, or because they want attention from you? Being a babysitter0a92a851f68c5d10edfd3d584f06082d for the last three years of high school I have experienced an excessive amount of screaming and crying in my face to realize that what they were really crying for attention rather than something I should be concerned about. So what does one do when a child is screaming on the top of their lungs, help or simply ignore them because they are probably just craving attention? If you find that the child is simply making a scene for attention, they are several techniques and strategies one can use.

While I was sitting in Psych100 it was ironic that the topic I was learning about had to do with child behavior which I knew I was writing my blog about. When my professor introduced to us what operant conditioning meant I instantly became interested in the topic because it was something that was relevant to my life. When we talked about operant conditioning it finally made sense to me why the children I babysat were constantly screaming; it was because I gave them exactly what they wanted- attention. However, I decided to use negative punishment on the children. Every time they cried and didn’t listen to me, I took their iPads away from them causing them to improve their bad behavior. Instead of giving them the attention that they “needed” I would then make sure to punish them so that they would gradually stop their behavior. By doing this technique I was removing a favorable consequence in hope that their behavior that they did would decrease.

However, there are negative consequences of using punishment on children. Mainly, punished behavior is suppressed and not forgot; therefore, the children may not act unacceptable in front of me because they know they will be punished but then go and act that way in front of someone who they know wont. It is evident that many kids are going to crave attention especially depending on the age but there are ways to help avoid this mental ia9357d1ad4d63849_42-60412029mage children have in their brains that they need all the attention on them.

2 thoughts on “Upset or Craving Attention?

  1. Hannah Curran

    Ive noticed that punishment when kids are craving attention also doesn’t work when not everyone does it. For instance, when my little brother complains and is needy I don’t give in, but both my mom and his dad do which shows that he can get away with it and therefore keep complaining. This article could possibly help in the future with babysitting kids who are seeking attention:

  2. Jacqueline Brocco

    This is a great blog post. I was a babysitter for the past four years in high school and I was very uneasy about it. The children’s behaviors were inconsistent and I never knew what to do about the one screaming sibling. He would always scream and cry when I played with his sister, but I gave them equal attention. I caught on to this and always included him when I was playing with his sister. Sometimes it would get annoying and I tried to ignore the screaming but I couldn’t. Here is an article on what to do about attention-seeking children!

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