Negative attention seeking behaviors

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Murrie
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23 Aug 2009, 8:18 pm

We are having a hard time with DS's negative attention seeking behaviors. DS will be 5 soon. We have been told to actively ignore negative attention seeking behavior, when he is deliberately doing something that is not allowed. When we see positive behavior, we are supposed to praise and have a party.

DH and I cannot say "Don't" or "No" because it will just cause him to do exactly what we do not want him to do. Usually this behavior is complimented with laughing (not sure if it's nervous laughing or if he he finds it funny or a little of both?). Also, he'll do alot of things and then look at us (or a teacher or therapist) to see what their reaction is and if they will pay attention. For example, at school, he'll start to climb the furniture, make eyes with the teacher, and then if they give him attention, he'll laugh and climb even more. These situations snowball until he can get punished, or spoken to firmly, or redirected where he has no access.

Today we were driving and DS put his feet on my seat so his feet are kicking the back of my head (I'm in the passenger front). And he's laughing. And it's hard to ignore. So I say "please stop" and I'm nice and patient. But after a few times, I have to get very firm with him to get him to stop - and I don't like being this way. It just escalates to the point where we are frustrated that we are not getting though to him.

Or, his younger sister was pulling my shirt and I said to her, please don't pull my shirt. So DS will come up to me and pull my shirt.

I remember when he was 3, one mom told her son not to kick sand at the park. So what does DS do? He starts kicking sand.

Can anyone tell me why this behavior occurs and what to do? It's like I'm playing reverse psychology all the time :?



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23 Aug 2009, 8:43 pm

hm. well--i had to laugh. i'm an adult and (if i'm honest) i still do a lot of negative-attention seeking.

maybe it sounds like a broken record. but again--accentuate the positive. let him know he's important to you. otherwise just about everyone can go into negative attention seeking. (negative attention's better than none.)

that's what i find anyway: the safer and more "seen" i feel--especially for strengths (as opposed to weaknesses) the calmer i tend to feel; the less i'm likely to "show my butt." (not literally; it's an idiom.)

that's all i know, anyway.

hope things go well.



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23 Aug 2009, 9:17 pm

Murrie wrote:
We have been told to actively ignore negative attention seeking behavior, when he is deliberately doing something that is not allowed. When we see positive behavior, we are supposed to praise and have a party.


You've been told? By whom? Unless it's a parent of three who's raised three well-behaved adults, they're not qualified.

There are certain things one should understand in dealing with an Aspergian child as opposed to one more neurotypical, but some types of behavior should not be tolerated in any kid. Joking around is great, but there has to be a line and the child needs to know there are consequences for crossing it.

All I know is, my parents had one hard-and-fast rule: Three Strikes and You're Busted.

First Strike: A dirty look for having to be told in the first place.

Second Strike: A warning of what's coming if you have to be told again.

Third Strike: Bend Over (followed by multiple strikes). :oops:

It may be considered cruel by today's standards, but I was a very well-behaved (if silly and sarcastic) child who learned to live in public social situations by standards like "Children are to be seen & not heard". I was never prevented from goofing around or expressing myself, but I knew that time and place were the defining criteria for what was okay at any given moment. All kids will cross the line from time to time, just to see what they can get away with, but the rules can never vary, or there's chaos. You can't allow them to believe they're in control, because then they are, and you're the clown getting kicked in the pants.

IMHO, of course. :wink:



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23 Aug 2009, 10:11 pm

Well as long as he's not being destructive or dangerous in any way, ignore him when he's clearly waiting to see your reaction (i.e. when he looks over at you when he's doing something he knows is wrong). Also, never say "Please" stop. You need to be firm..."STOP"


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23 Aug 2009, 10:30 pm

There is nothing wroung with tell your child no. No is not a bad word it's not one off Carline's famous list. Unless come to jail to vist him when he's older is on your dream list as a parent you better start using it. He's got to know the rules the rules must stay the same the must not bend, this only cause him to be confused. Childern need to know were they stand in life this makes them feel safe and loved because they know that we love them a care if they get hurt. Once you lay out the rules of the house wright them down and posting them might help as a reminder. If he breaks a rule like no kicking you must first tell him in a even tone to stop. If not the punishment must follow right way if you've got ot leave a store do it he'll know he were he stands after that. I don't think hitting teachs a kid much other then how to hit. You might want to try the marble thing it works well for alot of the parents here were he's working to a goal line and if he missbehaves he loses a marble from the ones in his jar. this is something he can see and it makes a impact. Taking a toy or tv/game time might work better if you need something with a bigger bang. I've got two boys and rasied two before that and all 4 of them on the specturm and not are well behaved kids and this is what I've done. Never feel bad if he tells you he hates thats how we know we mother are doing our jobs just tell him you love him and want him to grow-up to be what ever he wants to be and this is why he must learn to behave now.



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24 Aug 2009, 11:47 am

another thing that occurred to me (and again: i'm NOT an expert)---but i'm thinking about the ignoring-the-behavior rule, and i'm not sure that would work in my instance. (of course, i'm not representative of everyone.) if it's attention-seeking and the desired attention isn't found, then things can escalate--in the short-run, anyway. (in theory, anyway, consistently unrewarded behaviors extinguish over the long run.)

one thing i'm never sure about is how my behavior might be affecting others. also, many on the spectrum have a hellish time figuring out the social rules. (in fact, Temple Grandin has a book to this effect.) what you may know intuitively about "appropriate" and "inappropriate," your son may struggle with.

i for one appreciate directness. in other words, someone tells me: this is what you're doing (name the behavior.) this is how it's affecting the situation. this is what won't be tolerated. it can be done in way that's firm, names the behavior, without making your son feel as though he's just-plain-bad. (i find i do best overall in cultural situations that are very direct.)

it doesn't always feel good in the moment to hear that. but in the long run, it is more comfortable to have the "terms and conditions" known.

good luck. (i wish myself that too!)



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24 Aug 2009, 12:27 pm

although in less severe form. For him I think it is a test similar to "if I push this button what is gona happen" just in a socio sense.



Murrie
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24 Aug 2009, 10:22 pm

Thanks for all of your replies. I should of mentioned that it was a Ph.D. Behavioral Psychologist who told us to actively ignore.

Yes, the behavior is...let's push a button again and again and see what happens. He knows not to do something but just can't help it. Like he knows he is not supposed to touch Daddy's I-phone but it is just to good and he...just...can't....help...it! Doesn't he remember that Dad will get mad at him if he takes it? He'll also ask repeatedly, "can I have the I-phone, can I have the I-phone, can I have the I-phone". This is usually followed by a NO and then we start to ignore. It's like, he never learns from previous experience and I don't know why.

We are very clear with DS and I do say NO to him and tell him exactly what he is doing and we tell him to look at our faces, what emotion are we showing, do you think we are angry? We try to explain. And I'm home with him so we definitely praise for good stuff all the time.

I don't know what to do. I'm trying the actively ignore thing if he's doing something that does not harm himself or others. I'm giving it a month and then I'll reevaluate.



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24 Aug 2009, 11:18 pm

Murrie wrote:
Thanks for all of your replies. I should of mentioned that it was a Ph.D. Behavioral Psychologist who told us to actively ignore.

Yes, the behavior is...let's push a button again and again and see what happens. He knows not to do something but just can't help it. Like he knows he is not supposed to touch Daddy's I-phone but it is just to good and he...just...can't....help...it! Doesn't he remember that Dad will get mad at him if he takes it? He'll also ask repeatedly, "can I have the I-phone, can I have the I-phone, can I have the I-phone". This is usually followed by a NO and then we start to ignore. It's like, he never learns from previous experience and I don't know why.

We are very clear with DS and I do say NO to him and tell him exactly what he is doing and we tell him to look at our faces, what emotion are we showing, do you think we are angry? We try to explain. And I'm home with him so we definitely praise for good stuff all the time.

I don't know what to do. I'm trying the actively ignore thing if he's doing something that does not harm himself or others. I'm giving it a month and then I'll reevaluate.



hm. well. if Dad's still getting mad, some emotional button is still being pushed, IMO. that's a reaction. that's what your son's looking for. that's what negative attention seeking is all about.

it's probably a whole lot less personal than you think it is. it's not like he's trying to get someone angry because he enjoys someone else's discomfort. he's just pushing buttons because he's learned he can get a response.

take the emotional charge out of it. take the anger out of it. minimum reaction: firm no. explanation of why it's not to be done. let it go.

otherwise he will keep doing it just because it's a fireworks display.

that's my take anyway. true, my own personal button-pusher is a dog, not a kid. (she had behavior problems like no one's business---a "rescue.") but i've found that works with her. (aside from the explanation of course. she can't understand. it's just my personal dream that someone would come along and explain the whole world of rules to me.)

good luck. the same to me.

:)



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25 Aug 2009, 3:19 am

I'm not against spankings (as long as they don't actually hurt a kid) but I only had to smack my eldest daughter's hands once (used as an attention getting stopping device when she was being particularly out of control at the age of 4). BUT this may be because I can have a thunderous roar when angry?? LOL. I think instant consequences are the way to go. I get in their face, it’s not pleasant for them. In fact, they may prefer a spanking?? I don’t give them a weak no, I give them the hardest no, and an explanation and a lecture that they’re NOT allowed to turn away from. Immediate and definitely unpleasant for them.

Then, the actual hardest part, making sure you watch out for good behavior to reward. Also should be instantaneous, full of love and good feelings :) And, hardest of all for me, consistency! That’s so hard for me. I’m not perfect, don’t think I am at all, but the kid isn’t breakable either :)

RE: animals, yah, ever seen a lioness get sick of being bitten by her cub and smacks them 15 feet into the air? Yah, the cub will be careful nibbling next time, LOL



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25 Aug 2009, 12:56 pm

(lol. as in, "don't make me come back there?)

it's probably true--almost anything will work as long as it's consistent and there's some kind of love behind it. (that's my opinion anyway. most of us crave, crave, crave consistency.)

my last two cents. i'll stop now.



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25 Aug 2009, 1:19 pm

Adding another layer to the discussion ...

Some AS kids, like mine, need constant motion. Everytime you set a limit, you are also giving him an idea as to what he can do to move some more. Pretty much all your examples involve motion.

What my son doesn't seem to have is a verbal connection to his need to move; the motions almost have a life of their own. Instead of saying "stop," we grab hold of the hand and move it. Or of the feet and move them. And so on. Perhaps repeating the rule while doing so, AND making a suggestion of something he can do intead ("here, play with this"). Speaking alone has NEVER been effective on his motion habits.

Now, also be aware that it is perfectly normal for any 5 year old to test the boundaries. They want to see how serious you are about the rules. Which means ... pick your battles carefully. Work on the rules that are most important, let the others slide. Keep the strict rules as limited as possible. And kids really do know when you are and are not serious. I have both an NT child and an AS child and BOTH tested, and both got my number on what I REALLY cared about, and what I didn't care so much about. In that situation, saying "no" on the stuff you aren't ready to actively enforce teachers them that "no" can be quite hollow, and they'll take advantage of it every chance they get. Be really careful about it.

As for the whole ignore thing ... well, that works if his motive really is to get attention. But, honestly, that never was the case with my AS child. Not that he never sought attention, but, well, its different. You can't stiffle a need by ignoring it, you can only stiffle a want. So you have to figure out which it actually is. Which isn't so simple, given that AS kids often have needs that seem silly to the NT world, but are actual needs for the AS child.


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aja675
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01 May 2016, 8:46 am

Admittedly, I have them. I love pissing people off to get reactions and I want the funny anecdotes that come from doing so, but at the same time, I am sensitive to others' negative reactions.



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01 May 2016, 10:22 am

Behaviorists have a view of the world that everything is motivated by "attention seeking" and "avoiding non-preferred experiences". They think children are small animals that should be trained with rewards and consequences. They view behavior in terms like attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, limit-testing.

I'd suggest you look into the work of Ross Greene. He is a psychologist who asked why the methods he'd been trained in were not making thing better for his patients, and came up with a different approach. He says, "So long as caregivers are solely focused on modifying a child's behavior, the problems giving rise to that behavior will remain unsolved. But when caregivers focus instead on solving the problems -- collaboratively and proactively -- not only do the problems get solved, the challenging behaviors that are associated with those problems subside."

The approach focuses on figuring out what problem is driving the behavior, and then solving that problem. The method has a systematic way of helping the child learn to identify and communicate his needs, take others' needs into consideration, and develop the ability to solve problems and to self-advocate.

There is tons of free information on this website: http://www.livesinthebalance.org/about- ... he-balance and also in the books The Explosive Child and Lost at School.



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01 May 2016, 7:42 pm

zette wrote:
Behaviorists have a view of the world that everything is motivated by "attention seeking" and "avoiding non-preferred experiences". They think children are small animals that should be trained with rewards and consequences. They view behavior in terms like attention-seeking, manipulative, coercive, unmotivated, limit-testing.

I'd suggest you look into the work of Ross Greene. He is a psychologist who asked why the methods he'd been trained in were not making thing better for his patients, and came up with a different approach. He says, "So long as caregivers are solely focused on modifying a child's behavior, the problems giving rise to that behavior will remain unsolved. But when caregivers focus instead on solving the problems -- collaboratively and proactively -- not only do the problems get solved, the challenging behaviors that are associated with those problems subside."

The approach focuses on figuring out what problem is driving the behavior, and then solving that problem. The method has a systematic way of helping the child learn to identify and communicate his needs, take others' needs into consideration, and develop the ability to solve problems and to self-advocate.

There is tons of free information on this website: http://www.livesinthebalance.org/about- ... he-balance and also in the books The Explosive Child and Lost at School.


I am going to second this. It is possible that your child does not respond to being told no -- Some children do not respond to traditional punishment or to being told no. And some kids end up being labeled oppositional -or with ODD. if you have a child who is non-compliant or oppositional, it can help to frame things in a more positive way and take a more collaborative approach. If you look at the information Zette posted, you will see a more complete explanation.