One of Benjamin's new sayings is "look at me". Naturally I always do. I praise his newly learned skills. I acknowledge whatever he wanted me to see. I give him worth. When he was a baby I answered his cries. Everyone talks about how this develops attachment. I agree, it does. However, I feel that it does much more. It shows a child that they have value, that they matter.
When kids don't get early attention they fail to develop attachments, they fail to thrive in many areas. Our 4 school age kids did not receive that early attention, attachment and sense of value. Larissa came to us as a baby yet she still struggled to overcome those few short months she spent laying alone on that bed. Anthony was 2 1/2 when he came into care. Emma was 3 and Michelle 4.
Today I feel that all of my kids are attached to me. In some ways that was the easy part. I am finding that the harder issue is the lack of value leading to issues related to low self-esteem.
A two year old calling out "look at me" is much more socially acceptable than a 10 year old doing the same thing. Recently it came to my attention that Michelle was screaming "look at me" in a dangerous way. The kids wait for the school bus in front of the house next door. Michelle as the main instigator was trying to get the attention of passing cars. Standing in the street, trying to touch the cars, dancing in the street, playing chicken with the cars. Michelle, Emma and Anthony all got involved to some extent with Anthony doing very little.
After my initial shock I realized the need for attention is so great with Michelle that she will do anything to get it. It won't be long before we are in the teen years, I worry. We work on attachment and worry so much about developing a healthy attachment and yet we are struggling more with the strong need for attention. Issues related with self worth. It is hard. I have watched, some of the attention seeking behaviors that she has makes others uncomfortable. She has no friends who call the house, she struggles with her relationships with her own siblings. Her jealousy when others get attention hurts her relationships with them. The way she carries herself, eats strange, and other small things makes others look at her strangely. She loves that moment of attention but in the end she is actually pushing others away. I have talked to her, tried to help her to find positive ways to get attention. However, I have not seen any change in her attempts to gain attention. We are a work in progress, just not seeing much progress at this moment.
Anyone else in that situation? You have attachmet but are dealing with the need for attention. Find any good strategies?