Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Dealing With Attention-Seeking

I'm trying to do the "art of saying yes & no." My 9 yo has 10-20 request from me a day. How do I handle it when I run out of chores or ways for her to earn what she wants? It seems like she makes the same requests over and over even though the answer is always yes and has been for years. (Like can I have an after school snack.) She wants my attention from the time she gets home until bedtime. Although I spend 15-20 mins listening to her and responding thoughtfully she never gets enough. I have 2 other children I can't give her every second of my day. How do I get her to quit?


The attention-seeking child is in need of more attention than most. She seems to have something to prove and doesn’t take as much pride intrinsically as she does extrinsically. This child may not have a sense of belonging. Try and understand the need - this child may have a low self-esteem and may need some confidence building. Sometimes the attention seeker is simply just immature.


· Always commend the child on her achievements.

· Provide her with a time that is just for her. Even a 2 minute period before or after dinner or a 5 minute period before bedtime that is "her time" can be very beneficial. Stick to it! Each time she looks for the attention, remind her of her specific time alone with you. In time - if you're consistent - you will see that this strategy works quite well.

· During the child's special time, take time to boost her confidence.

· Promote intrinsic motivation. Ask the child what she likes about what she did.

· Provide the child with responsibilities and a leadership role from time to time.

·Sit down with this child and explain to her that you have a number of children to work with each day.

Never forget that ALL children need to know you care about them and that they can contribute in a positive way. It took the child a long time to become an extreme seeker of attention. Be consistent, patient and understand that change will take time.


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