Paying Attention to Your Kids

Let me preface this with a disclaimer.

I am an imperfect parent that says and does dumb things for the wrong reasons; thus, I often end up apologizing for my behavior.

With that out of the way, I have a short, swift set of advice for parents (or those considering parenthood in the future).

Pay attention to your children.

I don't mean install video monitoring systems in their play area.

I don't mean upgrade your cell phone service to include location monitoring (although I'm not against that).

I don't mean nit-pick every detail of their lives to ensure absolute perfection from your kids.

To get at what I DO mean, let's dissect the phrase, "Pay attention to your children."


When you pay for something, is it easy? Usually not. It's a payment. When you pay money, you sacrifice for something you consider worthy of your money. Paying requires effort. Paying requires work. Paying sometimes requires doing something you're not super excited about.

Pay = sacrifice


Giving your attention is to tend to the needs and desires of something. 

If you pay attention to television, you ensure the volume is adequate, the picture is properly adjusted, the reception is good, and no other noise is interfering with your show or movie.

We are all good at paying attention to TV or Facebook. 

What about your kids?

"To your child(ren)"

Kids are kids. Profound, right? 

They are not adults. They have not learned logic, reason, and self-control. They are unfiltered billboards for human selfishness and unhindered volition. They don't know tact, discretion, or consideration.

I know kids are annoying. I know they demand your attention at the most inopportune times. They want to interrupt everything and interfere with your productivity.

And yes, there will be times when you need to shun them a little and tell them to find something else to do; but that should be the exception--not the rule.

As a parent, you have many things you can give your children.

An understanding of authority.

An understanding of money.

An understanding of love.

Food, clothing, housing, and education.

Birthday celebrations and nice vacations.

Safety and protection.

All of these things ought to be given, but not to the neglect of giving them your attention.

Kids appreciate all of the above things when they get older and think more like an adult. Until then, they think like children. 

All they really care about at the end of the day is whether you sat on the floor with them and watched them do and say ridiculous things. All they want is for you to talk to them, hold them, play with them, and respond to their foolish questions. 

They just want you.

If you give them everything else and fail to give them you, you have failed as a parent.

If this is the case, don't be surprised when they grow up and don't want you in their life.

Please think carefully before you brush off your child's cries for attention. They might be crying for it because they're selfish brats. Or they might be crying for it because they are starving for you. You need to decide which.

Photo credit:
All photos are copyright of Daniel and Elizabeth Devine

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