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Attention is everything – especially for a child

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In this modern society there is a battle going on for our attention. Companies want our attention, because attention is money. Advertising agencies compete for our attention. Smartphones and tablets are constantly attracting our attention.

Social media wants nothing but attention. Apps were beeping and pinging to keep our attention focused on them. But what exactly is attention? And why is this battle for our attention becoming so disastrous for humanity?

n·thought (de; v(m)) 1  attentiveness, interest: attract attention to stand out; draw attention to

An accidental “experiment”

There is a modern swing set on the playing field right in front of my house. Recently I was able to see two examples in quick succession of the effect of connecting or not connecting with your child.

Parent number one

Father number 1 entrance. He looks at his smartphone while occasionally pushing the swing with his other hand. A girl of about 6 years old is lying on the reclining swing. Her father makes no eye contact at all: his gaze is always focused on the smartphone. The girl also makes no attempt to make contact (anymore) and barely moves. There is no interaction between the two. A lonely picture. It looks sad. I make coffee, walk past the window again and the couple is gone.

Attention is everything - especially for a child

Parent number two

Enter father number two. He happens to be about the same age as father number 1 and has another girl of the same age with him. It seems like a scientific experiment, but I swear to you, this happened completely by accident right under my eyes. Father number two is with his full attention on the child. He makes eye contact, plays with her and the girl laughs, moves lively, and makes contact with her father in her own way. They have so much fun on that simple swing. They laugh and play. It’s lovely to see.

Attention is everything - especially for a child

difference

In these interactions that took place so close to each other, I could beautifully observe the difference between paying attention to your child or not. The first was a dead picture. The second full of life. But what does attention actually mean? And especially for a child?

What is attention?

Attention is contact. Attention means that someone thinks you are important enough to connect with. It’s recognition. It’s love. When you make eye contact and actually look at the other person, you recognize their presence, their uniqueness, their being. When you really look at someone, with your attention on it, you’re actually saying, ‘I see you. You are important.’ Babies and young children need connection and eye contact to know they exist at all . That they are unique human beings with a soul. That they matter.

Thought experiment

Now imagine being in a room with someone you love. Someone who means everything to you. Someone who is the whole world for you. Now imagine that person is not looking at you. Not connecting with you. With his or her gaze at a device is, a device, a screen. That feels empty, lonely, that feels like you don’t matter, like you don’t matter. That’s what it does to a child when their father or mother is constantly paying attention to the TV, to the smartphone or tablet. The message as a child translates it is: ‘I am not important.’

Orphanages

In the 1990s, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, camera crews were allowed into the orphanages of the former communist state for the first time in Romania. Many children had been kept alive there without any kind of attention. They were given food, a cot, clothes, and that was that. No personal connection. no interaction. No love in the crucial period when the personality is forming. The result? Children with empty eyes, without hope, without soul almost, no longer capable of human interaction. They had become sociopaths.

incubators

When I see clients in regression therapy who have been in an incubator as babies, I know that there is work to be done: babies crave personal attention, skin contact and human connection like no other. If this (forced) disappears due to a stay in an incubator, they usually suffer from it later in life. Babies, young as they are, can begin to feel that their existence doesn’t matter if they don’t interact with the people around them. Fortunately, much can be recovered after an incubator stay – if parents take the time to really connect with the baby.

Attention is everything - especially for a child

Tablet or baby?

When you take in all this and consider that there are many parents today who voluntarily choose to focus their attention on screens rather than their babies, what comes to your mind? I saw on a news site that a TV presenter indicated that as a modern mother it was hard enough for her to combine a career and children. That is why she often chose to play games on her tablet during breastfeeding instead of making eye contact with the baby. But what does that mean for the baby?

Attention for parent and child

As a parent, you only get one chance to make babies and very young children feel at the most important stage of their lives that they really exist , that they matter, that they are a being that is unique, precious, an individual that deserves attention and recognition. is worth.
Of course, as a parent you also have to take time for yourself. That’s equally crucial. After all, you are also an individual with essential needs. But you take time for yourself by doing something else in your own time. You do that when the child is asleep, is being cared for by someone else, or is old enough to do something for himself. Not by ignoring the child in front of him .Trust me, the kid pays the price later.

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