Sunday, April 1, 2007

The First Mistaken Goal

We've all seen the misbehaving child somewhere. They make sure they are seen--- somehow or other. Usually they succeed with bullying, teasing, screaming, kicking, hitting or generally disrupting. These kids are trying to find there sense of belonging. In Children the Challenge, Rudolph Dreikurs,M.D. calls this--- a mistaken goal. Children will also attempt to secure this sense of belonging by being "charming and witty, delightful and coy," says Dreikurs. This is just another way to satisfy the desire for undue attention. "The desire for undue attention is the first mistaken goal used by discouraged children as a means for feeling that they belong. Influenced by his mistaken assumption that he has significance only when he is the center of attention, the child develops great skill at attention-getting mechanisms. He finds all manner of ways to keep others busy with him." So day care Nanas, here's a lesson for us. Of course, our grandchildren are already the apple of our eye, the diamond in the sky, the most wonderful human created and so on; those of us who care for them daily can help them greatly in this department of development. We can teach them that "Participation implies co-operation with the needs of the situation". We can shower em with our love and time and then when the situation requires that they busy themselves or play alone, we can help them to do this. The coolest thing about this is that while they are waiting their turn to play with us or while they are letting us have some space they are learning that they are able to depend on their inner resources for amusement, to occupy themselves or in other words to be creative. This the way the child becomes as the author calls it "situation centered rather than self-centered." He also explains how we can tell if the child is demanding undue attention. He says to observe your own response. "Frequently we can determine what the child's unconscious intentions are by observing our own response. Since the interactions between two people takes place on the unconscious level, we just naturally respond to the child's design. When we become aware of the interaction and when we develop the skill to interpret it, we bring it to conscious level and thereby have the means to promote redirection or to offer guidance to the child." The author states later in this chapter that it is important NOT to tell the child that he has a mistaken goal but to gently redirect them. The mistaken goal of wanting constant attention is by the way, I don't count unless I am getting attention or "the child believes she can only have status if she gets attention." I don't want my grandchild to have this kind of insecurity. I want to PLAY WIT her, give her the attention a child needs, but also as she is getting older I want to let her know that she can develop her inner resources. This lesson also helps me to understand, actually just remember that too much outside stimulation (TV, Videos, Entertainment destinations) can rob a child of the joy of creating from their own imaginations. Common sense for us grown-ups,too. There are three more mistaken goals I will look at during the upcoming week.

1 comment:

Ant Jean said...

Connie, This book you are quoting sounds like something I should read
as an adult. Imagine healthy ways to participate!. Sometimes I think I
missed that lesson. it is not too late to learn. I love your blog.
Love, ANT Jean

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