If you have a teenager that is seeking attention, it can be frustrating.
Sometimes you can get frustrated even if this behavior is not unhealthy or constant, perhaps you are stressed.
We often feel that as our kids go into their teen years they should need us less.
This is untrue, no matter how old they are, our children will always need us, and so needing the attention of a parent is always important.
We are not animals that simply discard their children as soon as they are old enough to leave the nest.
For teen girls, their relationship with their mother is important, it will help them a great deal in life to have a strong and positive relationship with their mother.
But, what if there is some attention seeking behavior in there?
Understanding Attention Seeking
Firstly we need to understand attention seeking.
We usually see doing something to get attention as being bad, but perhaps it is not, as we all need attention, especially from those we love.
It is essential for the relationships that help us grow as people. Attention supports good mental health and forms a template for healthy relationships.
If we need it to thrive in life then seeking attention in kids, teens, and even as adults is important in communication. Not an irritation.
When we ignore attention seeking behavior, this does not make the person’s need for attention go away, instead what it does is create an unmet shame in the person, which can then become chronic and pervasive.
What Attention Seeking Could Be Trying To Tell Us
Attention seeking behavior is never the first attempt, it is not the go-to to get attention.
If there is attention seeking in a child, adult, or teen then this is a sign that their needs are not being met.
People will seek attention through behavior when they have tried to ask for care by asking normally and verbally and gone unheard.
We are expressive, emotional and creative beings, and seeking attention through behavior is actually a sign that our brains are healthy when we want to get our needs met.
Reasons For Attention Seeking
Typically, there are many reasons that a person will act out to get attention that they need. We will focus on three of these reasons.
Firstly, it could simply be a healthy person asking in a unique way to get the validation and connection that is needed as a person.
If this is occasional behavior – very common in teen years – then this is a normal part of their development.
It also helps to form identity and find a place in society.
Behavioral Patterns Shaped By Unmet Needs
However, it could also be because a person’s needs have gone unmet for so long that it has shaped a pattern in their behavior.
This is often likely when a person has had relationships in the past where they have healthily expressed their needs for a connection and their healthy communication went ignored, rejected or in some cases, was actually punished.
Because of this, they may find a person to be distant, and so they will start getting creative with how they get the attention they need instead of using basic communication methods.
These more creative methods then become default.
Breakdown Of Communication
Attention seeking can also be simply getting attention.
A relationship can be healthy, but if the people are out-of-sync or if someone is distracted then using an attention seeking method can be a healthy way to enhance the communication that a person has needs.
What Teen Girls Need From Their Moms
So, what exactly do teen girls need from their moms? Well, for a start they need their mom to be there.
In teen years, moms and daughters will form a strong relationship, often they will need their mom because it’s the closest female-female bond.
As a girl grows up, her body changes, and she will go through things that dad’s just don’t get.
Her mom can be there and be her rock in many situations. From biology, to dating, to social life and even aspirations.
A daughter needs her mom’s support.
Support is about more than being your daughter’s cheer squad, but it’s hearing her needs, and listening to how she feels and validating it.
Your daughter might make mistakes and mess up, and this does not mean that you should just sit idly by as these things happen, but support is also about compassion and care when things go wrong, or she communicates her wants and needs.
Teen girls do love having a mom bestie, but for the most part they do want their mom to be mom first.
It’s a boundary, and while they want you to listen to them, love them, they want you to be a mom first.
Being a mom first and friend second gives a sense of safety and security that allows your teen girl to grow into a strong adult.
Teen girls need their mom to be their mom, not their friend.
However, mom should be a caring, understanding, and non-punitive parent. This kind of parenting makes you her best friend.
Boundaries To Set The Tone
While we often think about needing attention as a bad thing, it actually is not, it is totally healthy and 100% normal, we are social animals that need attention, and if we ask, and it goes unnoticed, we will up the volume until it can’t be ignored.
The bottom line is, teen girls need their moms, and can have really close bonds with them, it’s a need, don’t ignore it.
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