Do you know who Alfred Adler is?
Probably not, unless you studied some personality theory in psychology. Adler was a contemporary of Freud in Austria. He broke away from Freud and his psychoanalytic approach to form his own theory and practice in the early 20th century. He called his theory Individual Psychology. It was a more personal humanistic approach than that of Freud.
One of the tenets of Adler, who had a lot of interest in marriage and family, was the innate need of children for attention. He felt this was an important component for a child’s optimum personality development.
Children need attention — positive, caring, loving, connecting attention. If they do not get that they will do negative things to get attention. Negative attention is better than no attention. Special time with Mom and Dad, together and individually is important.
My dad was not very present in my life so I did not receive much of that. He worked too much. I have made sure that my career allowed me sufficient time to have special time with the kids. We have shared precious memories together.
Son, Kris, often reminisces with me the wonderful one on one times we have spent together. He remembers well when he was a kid our going together to the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA playoffs, etc… . More recently, while I still had an office in Marietta, Kris and I would get together regularly for dinner and occasional Braves games.
Daughter, Brittany, we, too, have had many wonderful times together. One of the best memories was when we went to the Fox Theater to see “The Sound of Music” when she was in elementary school. Recently we were able to recreate a nostalgic evening. After a delicious meal we attended the Classic Center in Athens to see “The Sound of Music” again. We loved the show and the connecting moments it provided. There was a particularly emotional moment, however, when the song “Climb Every Mountain” prompted tears and hugs. A special daddy-daughter time!
These early years of attention have served well as a solid foundation for our adult-adult relationship. Our family continues to search for, create and enjoy memories. We like and love each other and enjoy sharing time together — meeting our attention needs.
Respected Reader, what has been your experience relative to getting attention? Did you get enough, and appropriate, attention from mom and dad when you were a child? As a parent did you make time to have special one on one time with each child, as well as quality family time? To what degree are your “child attention needs” still present?