Is your child too much of an attention seeker?

Shutterstock.com/ Olga Listopad

If your child is constantly looking for attention, then it is not an issue on their part. It may be an issue on yours. The problem comes from understanding. If you see your child constantly looking for attention make sure you are interpreting it correctly, it is not the attention they want at all, it is attachment.

Attachment is an important part of life from baby to old age. There are things we are all attached to and these things often define us. If you attached to your cat, people call you a cat person. If you are very attached to your car, you are a car lover. Whatever it is that we are attached to becomes a fundamental part of our personality. Having attachments is often seen as a weakness but in reality, they make us feel secure in life.

For children, they are attached to what they know. You have been ever-present in their life, cared for and provided for them. They feel a strong attachment to you. There may be a toy or a blanket as well that your child loves. This need for attachment comes from evolution. If we were not attached we would not be looked after. Those not looked after have a lower chance of success in a tribe or family. Think about why playing hard to get actually works sometimes. Creating distance between someone can trigger that need for attachment. 

Therefore in children, we can’t be upset when they cry out for attachment. They are genetically made to want it. They are children so they have no control over their wants and needs. They are simply acting based on those needs. The question is then, what can you do about it?

The simple answer is to show your child that it has no reason to have a concern. If their need for attachment is met they will have no reason to worry about it. This is something that a lot of parents get wrong. Yes, it is important to teach your child independence and to be happy alone but it is also important to shower them with love so they understand they are cared for. Attachment is like food. If you have a lot of food, you don’t crave it constantly. If you go without food then you always want it and worry about it. We simply need to show our children that they have all the attachment they need and they will not worry about it.  

Parents often try to show a child that they are wrong to cry by ignoring them. This is often required to teach your child some boundaries but only after it is clearly established that you are there for them. 

You will find that your child seeks attachment throughout the day for different reasons. If you give someone a hug, your child will desperately want to hug you. If you do some house chores your child may be upset about being left alone. Whatever the reason the formula is the same. Absence makes your child worried and they want to be quickly reassured that you are there for them. 

The solution is simple, include them in your activities so that they feel secure. If you need to do some vacuuming in the house, get your child a small brush, start the activity together and they will feel proud that they helped you complete the task. Most importantly their feeling of attachment will never dwindle. This can be used for almost any activity. Even when you need to go to the bathroom you can get a small stool or potty for them to sit on near you. Whatever the task, simply embrace attachment and you will find they no longer seek it.