by Angie

Question: I have an eight year old boy. He's a great kid. Very kind, gets great grades at school and is a very good athelete. I've been noticing that he likes to be physical with other children to get their attention. He doesn't hurt them he just always grabs or makes loud noises.

He plays hockey and is very good. He usually practices and acts as if he's exhausted. I know he can skate very well and fast but when watching his practices he is so slow.

I feel as if he's doing this stuff for attention and I don't know what to do about it. We give him a ton of attention and tell him how great he is, but it doesn't ever seem like its enough. How do you motivate a child or teach them that they are special?

Answer: It sounds like your son's issues lie more with his peers than with you as parents. Some children simply need to develop the appropriate social skills to make and keep friends.

It's possible he has had children he wished to play with reject him in the past and this is what is really causing his need for attention from other children.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about this as a parent. Educating him about things that children do and do not like would be a good start as well as trying to help him develop positive social relationships with other kids.

Perhaps after very delicately telling him that some children don't always like some of the things he does, allow him to have a sleep over or some friends come over to play. Plan some really fun activities for them to do.

Observe his behavior with the other children and then after give him some very positive feedback on everything he did that you thought the other children responded well to. Then very delicatley only bring up 1 or 2 things they may have not liked. Let him know what the children did to make you think they didn't like it (facial expressions, comments, etc.)

After a few "play dates" like this he should eventually learn to regulate his behavior based on others' reactions.

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