Concept of Parenting

Tip 37: Attending and Planned Ignoring, part 1

We are going to discuss attending and planned ignoring as parenting tools. We are advised to attend to positive behaviors and ignore negative behaviors in children.
*Attending*
Our brain is fashioned to pay attention to negative behavior. When a child is dong something good we tend to ignore but a little negative behavior attracts us to the child. We are more attracted to negative news than possitive ones. Someone can do many good acts but no attention is received but one little mistake attracts more attention. This is called negativity bias. We need to reverse that. Once children are praying nicely, we don’t pay attention but once they argue and fight that gets our attention.
Attending is a systematic way of paying attention to a positive behavior of a child. Noticing a good behavior that you want to increase, and then provide attention by praising, smiling, asking questions, talking nicely, hugging or giving a child a pat on the back. Paying attention can foster desirable and undesirable behavior.
For example if your child knows that you are listening to what happened to her in the school, she can confide in you, even in the future. On the other hand if your child is whining and complaining about house chores and you keep listening to her, it can increase the likelihood of complaining in future.
If you want to change behavior, attention has to be used carefully and systematically.
Attending can be a form of praise, asking questions, talking to the child.
Attending procedure and techniques
1. Identify or select a behavior you want to get from the child or you want to increase
2. Select a type of attention: praise or acknowledgment
3. Provide attention immediately after the behavior
4. Attend to the behavior you want to increase often
This is a planned attention and it is different from routine attention

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