Sometimes it seems like your teenager thinks she’s the center of the universe. With all the changes she’s going through, it’s easy to understand how her problems can take precedent over everything else in her mind. After all, she has to learn how to deal with them at the same time she’s discovering friendships, going through school and finding herself. However, when her self-centered behavior begins to become toxic to your family, it’s time to do something about it.
In almost every language, the word “family” is singular. By definition, a family must consist of many, but the word itself represents one entity. When your daughter starts expressing attention-seeking behavior, it creates a schism in the family by monopolizing the thoughts and interests of the entire household. Sometimes, she’ll resort to negative attention-seeking behavior to manipulate the imbalance.
This sort of behavior is categorized by doing or saying things to create drama and induce a reaction. Your daughter might dye her hair a strange color or shift conversations to generate negative responses out of you and your spouse. She might even go so far as to say something like “Maybe I should kill myself.”
The important thing is for you to take action and help reduce this type of behavior. When it happens, acknowledge your daughter’s behavior with a purposeful, heartfelt and assertive response, telling her that you know exactly what she is doing. She’s seeking attention for a reason, so eliminate any passive-aggressiveness or deflections she’s using and get right to the source of the problem. There are a multitude of real, complicated reasons of her behavior. While it can be hard to handle, negative attention-seeking behavior can represent an opportunity for you to be a role model to your child. Show her that you can listen to her, empathize with her, and try to understand what’s really driving her.
Parents tend to raise their children to believe they are what matters most. While this is true to an extent, as your daughter grows, it’s also your responsibility to teach her regard for others as well as herself. Remember, a little drama is normal in all families, but spotting real negative attention-seeking behavior and handling it is crucial to maintaining the health and sanctity of your family as a whole.
New Revised Standard Version
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
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