Simple Ways to Give Your Teen Positive Attention
All of us crave attention. As humans, we seek experiences and relationships that demonstrate we are valued. Children are especially eager for their parents’ attention. And yes, although they don’t always act like it, even teens crave their parents’ care and concern. Experts say that the attention children receive from their parents helps to determine their self-image and their feelings of security.
Unfortunately, our fast-paced culture makes it easy to get caught up with so many other things instead of our family. Work, sports, school, social media, and activities can eat away our time. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to give our teen some positive attention and only really focus on them when there’s a problem. But teens who don’t get enough positive attention from adults are at risk of acting out. Rather than ask for attention, they’ll do something to grab your attention.
Giving positive attention does not necessarily take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Whenever you respond to your teen with warmth and interest, you are showing your teen that you value them. So, here are some ideas of simple ways to dole out more positive attention to your teen:
- Catch your teen doing something good and compliment them.
- Volunteer together.
- Make dinner or bake a dessert together.
- Attend an activity of your teen’s – sporting game, performance, etc.
- Talk about the future – colleges, careers, dreams, etc.
- Read the same book (or magazine article) and talk about it.
- Go for a walk.
- Write your teen a positive note and leave it on his/her pillow. Tell them what traits they have that make you proud!
- Challenge your teen to a board game.
- Plan a family vacation or trip together.
- Take a class together to learn something new, such as photography or kayaking.
- Make something together that interests your teen. It could be a puzzle, craft project, a garden, a rocket or model, t-shirt, or anything else that appeals to your teen.
- Plan an activity that interests your teen. You could stargaze, go to a museum, attend a concert, go camping, go bowling, etc.
When teen receive regular doses of healthy, positive attention, they reduce negative behaviors. Positive attention helps build a quality relationship between you, so your teen will be much more likely to want to please you if they feel close to you. Additionally, they won’t feel the need to act out in attention-seeking negative behaviors if they already get enough of your attention. Investing time in appreciating your teen and spending time with them can head off a lot of potential problems down the line.