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Disarming Challenging Behavior with Attention
December 18, 2020
Take care not to listen to anyone who tells you what you can and can't be in life.
-Meg Medina

Dan Gartrell, in the newest Exchange Reflections, “Affirm the Child, Not the Behavior,” which is sure to elicit much grist for discussion, writes:

"New early childhood professionals sometimes hear from others that some children 'just want attention. They will misbehave to get any attention they can, even negative attention.' Providers who hold this view tend to believe that children know how to act better, but 'out of selfishness' they demand more of the adult's time than they 'deserve.'

A related idea is that providers who give 'too much attention' to individual children are showing favoritism and are 'spoiling them.'

Hopefully most providers move past these outdated notions. These professionals know that at a deeper level than attention, young children want and need personal affirmation as worthwhile individuals and worthy members of the group. Since Maslow’s writing in the 1960s, many have come to recognize that affirmation as worthwhile individuals and worthy members of the group are basic needs that children must meet in order to grow and be healthy. This second set of providers is right."





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