The Attention Demander
Action: Identify causes of misbehavior.
Pinpoint student needs being revealed.
Employ specific methods, procedures, and techniques at school and at home for getting the child to modify or change his/her behavior.
Primary Causes of Misbehavior
This student is doing everything possible to let the teacher, parents, and peers know he/she exists.
Primary Needs Being Revealed
This student may be attempting to "prove" him/herself to others by getting attention.
Escape from Pain
Inability in social relationships and academic performance may cause this student to demonstrate such behavior.
Secondary Needs Being Revealed
Actions to Take
This student needs to belong to some group.
The various attempts to gain attention point to a need to gain success in something.
The attention demander is shouting, verbally and nonverbally, "I am somebody."
- Create a visibility or leadership role for this student.
- Give him/her additional responsibilities.
- Take time for an individual student conference to discover the real problems and insecurities that the student may feel.
- Bolster the student's confidence at every opportunity-in a quiet way. You must find a constructive way for the attention demander to meet his/her need for attention. Above all, attention cannot be denied, or he/she will go to extremes to get it.
- Seek help from psychologists and counselors as well as parents to reinforce changes in this behavior, not only at school but at home.
- Be consistent in the way you handle situations with all attention demanders.
- Be kind, polite, and firm at all times.
- Model the behavior you want. Speak softly and quietly.
- Reinforce appropriate questions when the attention demander asks them. This will help the attention demander and other students to realize which questions are constructive and relevant.
- Don't cause the student unnecessary embarrassment when he/she asks to go to a counselor, nurse, or the restroom. Asking publicly, "What for?" or "Is it necessary?"-even in a gentle way-can be very embarrassing and even traumatic for some students because their need can be urgent.
- Watch for improvement. Then, relate how pleased you are with the improvement in behavior.
- Make weekly checks to ensure you are recognizing all students, even if it's just with "Good morning." Use the class roster and make a check next to the name of each student with whom you have interacted; you may find you go a whole week without talking to some students. Correcting this situation may prevent misbehavior.
- Be constantly aware of the times you give attention to the attention demander. Be aware of this student's strong need for attention and provide it for positive actions-not just for disruptions.
- Never exclude this student.
- Never make the student anxious, or the behavior will become worse.