Does One Kid in Your Family Get All the Attention? Don’t Let Your “Good” Child Be Overlooked

Posted April 20, 2012 by

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Parents talk a lot about their child who misbehaves, and why shouldn’t they? Have you ever seen a website devoted to getting help with your well-behaved child? Probably not, but I believe it’s a subject worth writing about. A well-behaved child is often an overlooked child, particularly if they have siblings who act out and take most of the parents’ attention. Here are some things to keep in mind when you have a child who is a proverbial “good” kid.

1. Give them attention. Just because your child behaves well does not mean they don’t need attention. The “bad” kid in your family usually monopolizes this resource because he requires so much of it to keep him in line. But remember that your well-behaved child wants to do things and he wants to do them with you. Even if he can play video games, watch TV, and read all day long without the slightest redirection from you, the things that will really help him excel are what he does with you. Don’t forget him. Particularly as he gets older, he needs you to be in his life. Some parents think it should be less, but this is simply not true. Make time to do things your child likes and learn to enjoy them. The time spent together is the most important thing.

2. Be careful not to turn your good kid into a bad one. Understand that your child will mess up sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world. Recognize that he’s just a kid and he doesn’t know how to do certain things and may not be developmentally ready to do them. Sometimes parent/child stress can come from a parent who thinks their son or daughter should just know how to do certain things –cleaning his room, for example. This isn’t the case unless your child is advanced for his/her age and even then, me may need to be taught. Not everyone is naturally tidy.

3. Don’t push your child to be something he's not. Your first child is smart? Athletic? Maybe you were. What is your child’s talent and are you sacrificing it to make them into something they are not? Are you pushing him in the wrong direction for his natural talents and abilities? Stop. This can be a good time to help him see who he can be for this world. He’ll figure it out himself eventually, and if he doesn’t, he’ll be miserable his entire life. Don’t let this happen. Encourage what your child loves. Remember, this is primarily about your relationship with him.

Finally, be thankful for what your kids are, not for what they aren’t. I was visiting a hospital one evening with my family. My boy was running and my girl was being loud. Thankfully we were in a part of the hospital with no patients. A doctor passed me and said I was the luckiest man he’d seen that day. He was right. We were in a public place and my kids were being rambunctious, but so what? No one was being disturbed and they were having fun. Also, what if my boy couldn’t run or what if my girl couldn’t yell? Kids are going to be kids. Parents must learn to accept this, reprimand when necessary, and enjoy when appropriate.


Dale Sadler is the author of 28 Days to A Better Marriage and How to Argue with Your Teen & Win. By day he works with middle schoolers and by night he is a family counselor specializing in marriage, parenting and men's issues. He works hard to be the husband and father his family needs. Follow him @DaleSadlerLPC or visit

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