Saturday, August 28, 2010

What About Me?: Twelve Ways To Get Your Parent's Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister)

What About Me?: Twelve Ways To Get Your Parent's Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister) eileen kennedy-moore book review What About Me? Twelve Ways To Get Your Parent's Attention (Without Hitting Your Sister)
by Eileen Kennedy-Moore
illustrated by Mits Katayama

Ages 4-8

I wonder if there is a parent out there who hasn't, at some point in their parenthood, snapped an impatient, "Not now, I am busy" or "Please be quiet, baby is napping" or something similar. And then felt a bit guilty about it, knowing that all their child is asking for is undivided attention reassuring them of their love.

What is a child to do when parents seem too busy with household chores or office work or the new baby? They could - throw tantrums, hit their sibling...


they could do any or all of the dozen things this book mentions, to get their parents' attention in a positive way. This book offers simple and direct actions children can adopt to feel included, to feel appreciated, while competing for their parents' time and indulgence.

The very first one - You could watch what they are doing and ask, "Can I help?" - immediately appealed to me. And so did the others all the way - teaching the kids to share, help, sing/dance, show what they can do by themselves, even invite parents to play and so on.

The book asserts, Busy or not, they will stop to give you a smile and say they love you too which is a powerful message for the kids. Especially because usually the motivation behind their rather unpleasant behavior is to get noticed and get a response from the parents.

As author and clinical psychologist Dr.Kennedy-Moore mentions in this interview, when children ask for attention in appropriate ways, parents are more likely to respond positively. The book came about as a simple collection of kind and creative ways for her son to get her attention.

Many an impatient drill-sergeant tone and exasperated huffs can be avoided by parents if they provide the tools for their children to ask for what they want in an acceptable and appropriate way, making it almost impossible not to be suitably responsive and reassuring.

And that is the core message of this book: to equip the children with options to express their needs without resorting to undesirable/unpleasant/unacceptable behavior, simply because they didn't know how else to go about it.

I liked the simple and straightforward actions suggested for the kids which they can start incorporating immediately, and can continue to employ with gentle reminders, if necessary, from parents.

The rhyming text and accompanying illustrations make it quite easy to follow along even for the resident two year old.  
"Offer to share - even give Sister half 
Make silly faces so Baby will laugh"

Suggestion Number 10 is a bit Utopian in my personal opinion as it says, "Offer to clean with glee", but that's just me... especially the "with glee" part :)

Let's face it, every parent, every person for that matter, juggles so many responsibilities these days that there is not going to be these picture-perfect ideal moments all the time where each request is made with care and is responded with sensitivity. And the book doesn't offer to solve the very real issue of children's behavior. But, the dozen suggestions for the children that the book presents seem practical and affirming that it won't hurt to try.


starry eyed said...

Much needed around here, Sheela! This is a good way to reinforce positive behaviour, coz we're usually good at telling kids what NOT to do, without 'training' them for better alternatives! We did a 'pretend' play the other to get our 4 year old to think of things he could when he gets up earleir than everyone else in the morning (that doesn't involve jumping on any of us!!)

Will keep a lookout...thanks for an excellent review!

sathish said...

As a parent, it makes me feel 'Ouch!'.

As usual, a great review, Sheela. I like the fact that you discuss various points related to the book in a clear voice.

sandhya said...

Echoing Satish in his Ouch! And pleading guilty too. Methinks the parent here needs this perspective more than the child. Will keep a lookuot for this one.

Sheela said...

starry eyed, sathish, sandhya: Thanks! I think this idea even works with adult communcations - viz., learn how to make the request with politeness :)

In retrospect, many a time, when I dissect a situation where a non-negotiable knee-jerk reaction seemed an automatic response, it seems to stem not from the fact that the request was necessarily outrageous, but, just the way the request (read: demand) was made... oh, the delicate dance of human interactions...

If this is the case with adults, surely, teaching kids the more "acceptable" way seems imperative :)

Vibha said...

A great book and very useful too. A perfect gift for many of my friends who are going thro' this tough phase.

Praba Ram said...

Invaluable. Straightforward and simple, as you rightly put it. Will certainly come handy in my neck of the woods. I like the - equip them with options idea!!

Well, we have a funny story unrelated to attention. I remember during S' toddlerhood, when she behaved badly/had a sad moment, say for instance, stemming from a rather external source, mostly nonliving, we would resort to the option of actually scolding the object in question. Say for instance, "I understand that must hurt badly. Ok, let's see what was that thing that hurt you and try to help "it" understand it's not nice to hurt people." There were layers to it and some serious old desi grandma-style approach to accepting. Worked like magic really. Helped quickly move on from the situation. I regretted not having used such valuable old wisdom with my firstborn and having followed parental advice books/newsletters tad bit too much!Ok, rambling here as usual. :)

the mad momma said...

how cool. its just what parents need for the older sibling. i am going to send this to a couple of friends.

Related Posts with Thumbnails