Jump to content

Controlling attention-seeking behaviour


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 JohBD

Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:24 PM



At the risk of sounding like an ungrateful, complaining mum, I am going to go out on a limb and say my almost-three-year-old is driving me nuts!

Before we became a family of four when Ethan was born seven weeks ago, Noah had been the centre of attention. I’m not saying he was spoilt, but he was our only child and was the only grandchild so he had no one to share attention with. He has to adjust this comfortable view of life and accept he is one of two children and that attention he took for granted now has to be shared.

He loves his little brother dearly and is very protective of “his baby”, so much so that he shields Ethan with his entire body from curious children at day care. This is all very cute, as is his gentle patting of Ethan’s head as I feed him, or his concern when Ethan cries. But his behaviour towards others since Ethan’s arrival is what this post is really about.

As I outlined in my last post, Noah tends to become very naughty while I am feeding Ethan, which creates at least three sessions of stress between us every day. His behaviour includes various attention-seeking stunts, but the worst so far have been hitting and pinching me, calling me stupid, pulling the foot stool out from underneath my feet and jumping on top of me (and obviously the baby).

I am trying my best to keep cool in these situations – for all our sakes – but I am finding the situation more and more frustrating every day. I know he is doing it because he wants my attention and I am trying to combat this by reading to him while I feed, praising him when he does something good and ignoring him when he is acting out. The ignoring method seems to be working best now, as he doesn’t get the sought-after attention and switches to something else, like giving me a cuddle or playing with his toys. These are much nicer scenarios!

His bad behaviour has now even extended to his interaction with his dad and grandparents. Noah now argues about everything we want him to do, like eating meals, having a bath or shower, cleaning up his toys etc and it usually ends up with him yelling at one of us. He also laughs at us when we tell him he’s been naughty. When one of his grandparents cuddles Ethan, Noah either jumps on top of them or ignores them completely, giving them the cold shoulder for long afterwards.

So how do I get back to peaceful feeding times and have more of those lovely cuddles my son gives? I kept thinking the tantrums and bad behaviour that came on just before he turned two would lessen once he turned three, but as that’s only a few weeks away I can see I was deluded! I realise it’s a difficult adjustment for him to make now he has a brother, and so I constantly try to give him my attention when I can and reward good behaviour. I don’t want him resenting Ethan – or us.

How did your children cope when you had a second, third, fourth… child and what worked for you when their behaviour got out of hand?

#2 vicks-

Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:28 PM

hi

sorry i don't really have any advice for you just thought you might like to know that you are not alone!  from your blog i felt like i was reading exactly about my life - only my second  child is noah!  

my almost-three year old jasper was exactly the same when noah arrived, playing up the most when i was feeding noah, by the time the feed was over there would be toys absolutely everywhere because jasper would be throwing things all over the place for attention.  Jasper is also very protective of his new brother but the anger was somehow displaced to everyone else... all i can say is for us it did get better after 2-3mths.  

However, Jasper has recently become very defiant, clingy and difficult (i too thought this would improve as he approached three yrs old but seems to be getting worse). yikes!

like i said, this is no help to you but do let me know if any good advice comes your way!

vicky
jasper 24-04-06
noah 25-08-08

#3 Pippi Longstocking

Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:55 PM

I must agree that this behaviour is very frustrating - we are going through a similar thing with our oldest son, who is at school.  I have found some great reading on the subject, you can find it by doing an internet search on Dr Nigel Mellor - his website has links to a youtube video where he explains this attention-seeking behaviour and how to handle it.

Basically it involves
* ignoring the small stuff (even if it is very annoying),
* giving heaps of praise for the good stuff the child does (he advises creating phantom jobs for the child to complete to provide opportunity for praise),
* for the big bad stuff give a warning then if it continues give swift and predictable consequences.

The child is looking for attention and we need to make sure s/he learns that they will get the most attention for good behaviour.
Good luck with it all!  It's so difficult to deal with this behaviour with a new-born baby and not much sleep!
Pip.
DS 10.8.01
DD 3.2.03

#4 helenparr

Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:19 PM

We hit terrible twos with Holly at about 2 1/2 soon after Michael was born. It has continued in various more challenging and sofisticated forms for the last 2 years, and I see no apparant end in sight. Sibling rivalry and competition for attention are, I think, the main drivers and it's all about mum. I should be flattered, but I'm often flattened by my 4 1/2 year old's behaviour. We have days where it's one telling off after the next. Time out, priviledges withdrawn, bribery, tears and tantrums (and that's just me  original.gif ).

But, they love each other completely. Michael misses Holly when she's at pre-school and they play beautifully together in between fights. She protect him and thinks of him in everything she does. She can be kind and concerned and loving and thoughtful. We just have to get the balance right. I'm told, by the time they get to school there is a natural maturing in behaviour. You then get a few less volatile years before the teens begin.

The main advice I have is to keep your resources up in order to cope. I didn't follow my own advice, and it makes it very hard to cope sometimes. It is almost impossible not to be tired with a new baby, but if you can take advantage of grandparents, dad, babysitters and friends, then take time out for yourself, to sleep, to pamper yourself, to re-charge your batteries so you are armed and ready for the next round of challenging behaviour.

A wise lady told me that children sense your level of wellbeing and if resources are low, they don't naturally get the attention they want and they play up more. If you are well, healthy and happy, they sense this as well, and somehow play up less. So looking after yourself has double benefits.

#5 cindus_c

Posted 24 March 2009 - 07:05 PM

Hi there I know exactly what you are going through!!! I like you had the same scenario last year in September but the only difference was my sister-in-law had her first baby 5 weeks after my second son so my son got hit twice. It is very hard but after 4 months my son started to get use to his little brother and realising he can do more interesting things than just sleep.  Now my second son is 7 months and my eldest who will be 4 years in July has got an audience when he does silly things.

As for the grandparents both at times get the cold shoulder or "I don't want you to talk to me" etc but they understand and still give him attention.

It gets better and better when your eldest realises the baby will do more as he/she grows.

#6 merk

Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:54 PM

Oh my gosh that sounds very similar to what happened to my first child. After my second child was born, my first child (20 months) became very cold towards me. He refused to give me any cuddles and would push me away when I tried to hug or kiss him. He became very clingy to his dad and would shriek his lungs out whenever my husband had to go to the toilet. He also gave my parents the cold shoulder and was very rude and abrupt to them no matter how much love and attention they gave him. He also started hitting everyone, especially my husband and me. With all the sleepless nights and fights with my first child, everything just seemed like a blur for a period of 4 months, then all of a sudden, my first child just snapped out of it and became more tolerant again. He probably realised that the second child was not going anywhere no matter what he did.

#7 leesybee

Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:23 PM

Hi Jo, there's 17months difference between my son and daughter. When my daughter was born I made a effort to have my son get involved with everything to do with his little sister. We'd go and get the cushion and 'sickie rug' for mummy. Then he'd sit next to me and stroke her little hand whilst I fed. We'd also bathe her together. He'd get the baby shampoo etc. So I guess it helped including him in the day to day things. She's two and he's 3 1/2 and they love each other dearly. It's easy for me to suggest all these things to you, as there were times when he'd get bored, but I hope this advice helps

#8 Orangedrops

Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:35 PM

Why not offer your older child a breastfeed too. It would give him something wonderful to share with his younger brother and even if he says no he might just enjoy cuddling up to your other breast while you nurse the baby and it may help him feel less jealous.

My 2 1/2 loves to cuddle up to my other breast while my newborn is feeding and it helps us all feel like we are sharing that special time together.

Edited by puffin, 25 March 2009 - 01:36 PM.


#9 JohBD

Posted 25 March 2009 - 02:22 PM

Thanks for your great replies vicks-, Phillipa_M, helenparr, cindus_c, merk, luckyaussiemum, leesybee and puffin.

It made my day to know everyone is is struggling/struggled along the way I do. I love both my boys to bits, but just need everything to go smoothly every once in a while!

Johanna

#10 clare1975

Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:50 PM

My baby is 11 weeks old and her brother is 2.5.  There have been many challenging times...I was given some literature that compared a new sibling to how we would feel if our husband brought home a new wife!  It helped me when I felt really frustrated with my boy.
Advice - don't sweat the small stuff, no matter how messy it is, agree with the person who said only react to really bad behaviour, such as hurting the baby or you.  Make some time as often as you can to go to the park with your son alone, not with the baby.  Let him watch his favourite TV show during feeds - yes he will be watching more TV than you like but it's not forever, and it will help you.
Good luck, it gets better when they forget that there was a time without their sibling - 4-6 months.

#11 JohBD

Posted 27 March 2009 - 08:23 AM

Clare, comparing a new sibling with a new wife puts things into perspective a bit! What a great way to relate. This will make me look at things differently.

Your reply had some excellent advice - thank you.




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

The 15 photos new parents share (and five they don't)

From the first scan photo to the baby covered in cake at their first birthday party, there are 15 photos most parents seem to share - and some they don't.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Breastfeeding friendly caf goes viral

A photo of a breastfeeding-friendly sign in a cafe has been posted to Facebook and shared by hundreds of mums around the world.

First look at the Bugaboo Bee3

The newest Bugaboo Bee ? the Bee3 ? offers a variety of improved features, including a much asked-for bassinet and a rainbow of colour combinations.

Childcare costs, not paid leave, the real issue for parents

Given the choice between maintaining their wage for six months to have a child, or having a reduced rate of pay for a time but a better deal on childcare when returning to work, there are no odds on what most working parents would choose.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

We lost three babies in two years

Our first pregnancy ended the way we all expected it to - with a healthy, happy baby in our arms. What a true blessing he was, for we were not to know the heartache we were about endure.

Family turned back from doomed flight MH17

'There must have been someone watching over us and saying, 'You must not get on that flight,' says mother who narrowly avoided boarding the Malaysian Airlines flight which exploded in mid-air over the Ukraine last night.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Adorable Skeanie loafers for kids

Your little toddler or preschooler can now get their nautical on with a new range of classic loafers by Australian show brand Skeanie.

My baby is hypermobile

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry that Jasmin isn't crawling or walking. This week I heard the term hypermobile for the first time.

When you don?t bond with your baby

They say that there is no bond greater than the bond between a mother and her child. But for some women, the mother-baby bond takes more time and effort to develop.

Yumi Stynes: Having a baby after a 10-year break

After a long break, Yumi Stynes gets a reminder of the pain - and the pleasure - of giving birth.

Grieving father asks for help to Photoshop his daughter's image

When Nathan Steffel's daughter Sophia died from a liver condition at just 6 weeks old, he reached out for someone to create a beautiful image of his little girl.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

WIN two Sea-Bands plus $1000

Three lucky fans can win a Sea-Band Prize Pack valued at over $1000 each, which includes two Sea-Bands plus a $1000 Eftpos Gift Card!

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.