by Kathleen Cuneo, PhD
How should I respond when my toddler seems to intentionally break rules just to get my attention? For example, with a twinkle in her eye, she will snag my cell phone and toddle off as fast as she can to the garbage.
First, please accept my compliments to you for recognizing the "twinkle in her eye" and your daughter's goal of gaining your attention. One of the first steps in effectively dealing with child behaviors is to try to detect their underlying goal and message. You seem to have detected that your daughter's goal is to get your attention.
It's not uncommon for children to misbehave sometimes as a way of getting adult attention. However, there can be many reasons other than pure attention-seeking for misbehavior so make sure you're applying your detective skills with open, unbiased eyes.
So how do deal with that twinkle-eyed misbehavior? Below are a few suggestions for what to do and what not to do.
Kathleen Cuneo, Ph.D. is a psychologist, parent coach, and mom. Her mission is to empower parents to find their own parenting voice and develop strong connections with their children. Her free report, "30 Things You Can Do To Raise Self-Confident, Compassionate Children," is available at her site. Dr. Cuneo is also the director of Dinner Together, LLC. Her free e-newsletter offers consultation to families seeking to have more frequent, successful family meals and deal with the challenges of picky eaters.
Copyright © Kathleen Cuneo. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.