Sunday, April 27, 2008

Needing Attention

I know a little girl who is about 10 or 12 yoa. She is very good at memorizing Scripture and getting all the answers and projects right in our church's midweek Bible class. She volunteers to do many things. She has a fun personality and a lot of enthusiasm. The problem is she gets into trouble a lot.

At school she's been in trouble several times lately for various things. At church regularly she is being reprimanded or made to come sit by her parents. She sometimes takes other people's things.

Some of the adults in her life have talked to her about doing right, about applying the memorized verses to her life. So far, apparently these talks haven't had effect.

I'm not around the little girl very much, but I have a possible explanation for her behavior. I think she gets a lot of attention for being bad. I don't hear people praise her for doing right very often, and that may be because doesn't do right a lot of the time. However, I believe that a child who craves attention will get it one way or the other. If negative attention is all they can get, then that's what they will try for. After a while this becomes a habit, and the child may not even think about whether to do right or wrong. I believe that if the adults and especially the parents would turn around and praise the girl for the good things she does, and praise her on a regular basis, she may start to change some of her behavior. Praise for doing right can go a long way.

I know one little boy who had acted up and out all day. He had gotten in trouble over and over until his mother was ready to "get" him. The mother decided to change her own behavior and started to praise him for small, not-so-important things that he did. That's all it took. He turned around and was a wonderful child for the rest of that day.

I know the little girl I've been talking about probably has several problems that are causing her misbehavior, but I believe giving her attention for the good she does instead of the bad may cause some change.


Momstheword said...

Well done! Negative attention is better than no attention at all! That's sad, though. She certainly would benefit from some positive attention.

Jen said...

You're exactly right. It's just so hard to find the good sometimes.

QOTW said...

Some suggestions:

You did not hit Sue when you walked by her desk. Way to have control!

You combed your hair very well this morning. I appreciate your effort to look good and to be more grownup.

You walked out the door yesterday without tripping. Big improvement!! Thanks.

Jen said...

Easier said than done.

Actually, I'm glad that I don't really have any students like that this year. Not that some of them don't have their own mess, but none of them make me crazy. I have really good kids this year.