advertisement
Question
Posted by: margaret | 2010/02/03

children competing for attention - how do i handle this

Hi Doc. I need your advice. I' m happily married, have 3 kids (4 and a half years, 2 and a half years and 9 months). Have my own business and need to work because I need the intellectual stimulation and we need the income. Worked from home when my first child was born, but decided to get an office (a block from my house) when my daughter was born because the children couldn' t understand that Mommy couldn' t play with them all the time and it upset me to see them so confused (and I couldn' t manage my work and family time properly). My son (4 and a half) is in nursery school and loves it. My daughter and baby are at home. Each one of them has a child minder (who loves children) to look after them, who I personally trained. My husband is very involved with the upbringing of the children and shares responsibilities. The question that I would like to ask is: How much attention is " enough?"  Everyone says, play with your children, listen to them, treat them as individuals etc. We' re trying to do this to the best of our ability. Weekends are family time. Then we take them on outings, play with them etc. But obviously during the week we' re also tired and my husband and I also need alone time. I' ll get back from work at 16:00, talk to my children to hear how their day was, cuddle a bit, play a bit and then I' ll go onto preparing supper while they play (and fight!) by my side. When my husband gets home, he' ll bath the two older children and we' ll put the two and a half year old and baby to bed while the four year old gets to stay up a bit longer. We give him about an hour of our time and then we proceed to the kitchen where we have supper and talk about our day. My son will then watch a short dvd (that won' t give him bad dreams) and he' s more than welcome to interrupt us as many times as he like. The thing is - I can see that the children are competing for attention. I don' t really know how to handle this. All of them want to sit on my lap at the same time! The more attention we give, the more they want. What is " normal"  and healthy? My four year old son is a creative, sensitive person. The two year old (girl) is easy going, although demanding at this tender age and my baby girl is such an easy child.

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

You're wise to have recognized the confusion to a child that mom is HERE but can't play with you, and the value of having somewhere else to work - even if its a special room in the home that is Off Limits during office hours.
Sounds like the pair of you are doing a terrific job with your kids.
Remember, a great child development expert, Donald Winnicott spoke wisely of the Good-Enough Mother. There's a level of parenting BELOW which problems may arise, and while being better than that is usually desirable, its not essential.
And one of the lessons you need to teach the kids is for them to appreciate that parents are People, too - and that you get tired, and need time for yourselves, too.
Help them to be aware that however much you love them, you can't give them all the attention they might want all the time. Praise them for the time they manage to enjoy themselves on their own, as well as when you welcome them into your attention. And as they get a bit older, let them share in the home's jobs, as a privilege of age, not as a chore to resent

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: margaret | 2010/02/03

Hi Zee

Thanks for advice. I also do that - yes. I' m not seeing it as a negative thing though. I just used it as an example.

Reply to margaret
Posted by: Zee | 2010/02/03

I have four year old twins whenever they me to pick them up at the same or sit on my lap at the same time I never see it as them competing for my attention but as my babies who want mummy to hold them and I do that and thereafter they will be off to do something. The other one sits on one side and the other on the other side and I cuddle them although they are now heavy i would pick one up and hold the other close to me I guess it becomes a burden when you look at it negatively

Reply to Zee
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/03

You're wise to have recognized the confusion to a child that mom is HERE but can't play with you, and the value of having somewhere else to work - even if its a special room in the home that is Off Limits during office hours.
Sounds like the pair of you are doing a terrific job with your kids.
Remember, a great child development expert, Donald Winnicott spoke wisely of the Good-Enough Mother. There's a level of parenting BELOW which problems may arise, and while being better than that is usually desirable, its not essential.
And one of the lessons you need to teach the kids is for them to appreciate that parents are People, too - and that you get tired, and need time for yourselves, too.
Help them to be aware that however much you love them, you can't give them all the attention they might want all the time. Praise them for the time they manage to enjoy themselves on their own, as well as when you welcome them into your attention. And as they get a bit older, let them share in the home's jobs, as a privilege of age, not as a chore to resent

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement