Adolescents Acting Out for Attention: 9 Examples
The reasons for adolescents acting out for attention are varied. It depends a lot on their family relationships and their social surroundings.
Adolescents acting out for attention is often a sign of communication problems with their parents. A dolescent children might want to be noticed and sometimes act out without considering whether they’re causing themselves harm.
In adolescence, children undergo many physical, psychological, and social changes, and sometimes they aren’t capable of dealing with these changes themselves. That’s when they need more help from their family.
If they don’t find that help from their immediate family members, adolescents will turn to other people who can have a negative influence on them and lead them to adopt negative attitudes to get attention.
When young people feel alone, misunderstood, or undervalued, they start to look for a way to fill that void through actions, friendships, and behaviors where they feel they’re better able to express themselves and feel accepted.
However, acting out to get attention isn’t always bad. Many times, the choices that teens make to get attention help them build skills that will help them in the future. Nonetheless, there are times when adolescents adopt destructive behaviors that do nothing but harm them in the short, medium, and even long term.
There are many ways adolescents act out for attention
For some reason, adolescent children may feel they need much more attention than others. In some cases, they resort to something that is good for them to get your attention.
They’ll act out by performing well or excelling at something that will help them in the present and future. Other times, adolescents act out by doing dangerous or defiant things.
Let’s review some of the more common ways that adolescents seek attention:
Positive ways of calling attention
1. High grades
This is a very positive form of trying to get a parent’s attention. Good grades will help them in the future by securing admission to university or even winning a scholarship.
Adolescents get a lot of satisfaction from their achievements and getting good grades is one way to gain the admiration and attention of their parents.
2. Excelling at extracurricular activities
Many adolescents have talents for certain activities outside the educative realm, like sports, culture, or music. When they realize they have a talent for something, teenagers become motivated to continue perfecting their skills. This is excellent because it helps to build discipline and encourages positive behaviors and good habits.
3. Adolescents acting out for attention: Being affectionate and participative
Some adolescents feel the need to express their feelings towards other people. They’re open and they’re not inhibited about letting others know their thoughts and their worries. They like family gatherings and they’re always getting involved in activities with their friends.
In the same way, these adolescents are attentive to those youth who feel alone and they give them unconditional help. Helping and being compassionate is their way of being the center of attention and getting more attention from others.
4. Being environmentally aware
Many adolescents develop a passion for protecting the environment or for protecting animals. These individuals become highly committed to a cause and they form campaigns to gather funds and raise awareness. They’re willing to volunteer their time to clean up a park or to plant trees.
Many such children carry their dedication to the environment with them into adulthood. They’ll continue to mobilize on behalf of environmental issues when they become adults as well.
“If they don’t find acceptance in their family, then adolescents will seek out attention from others. Such friends or acquaintances may influence youngsters to develop defiant behaviors and poor attitudes.”
Negative ways of acting out
5. Adolescents acting out for attention: Eating disorders
Dramatic changes in body weight are one way that adolescents seek attention for the people around them. Many don’t realize there are negative consequences to dieting excessively and that it’s also very difficult to recuperate from eating disorders.
Also, if there are suspicions that your adolescent children are dieting excessively, you shouldn’t hesitate to take them to a psychologist and a nutritionist. Furthermore, if you don’t take immediate action, the consequences for the young person’s health can become serious.
6. Consuming alcohol, using cigarettes, or taking drugs
This is one of the most common and harmful practices that adolescents tend to adopt. In order to get some sort of reaction from their family or other adults, many adolescents resort to experimenting with this kind of vice that is hard to overcome.
In these cases, a sincere conversation is more effective than repressing them. Drastic punishments are only likely to make the adolescent more rebellious.
7. Attempts at suicide
When adolescents feel abandoned by their family and friends, suicide can be an extreme form of seeking attention.
Without a doubt, it’s a very delicate situation; therefore, you should be alert for signs of depression and act in a preventative manner. In addition, professional help from a psychologist is fundamental in such cases.
8. Adolescents acting out for attention: Running away from home
Running away from home is one of the most common ways that adolescents act out and seek attention. When they feel misunderstood by their parents, adolescents think it’s better to be with others who are likely to let them do what they want.
In general, adolescents who run away may go to a friend’s house or run away with their current boyfriend or girlfriend.
9. Aggression and rebelliousness
Adolescents acting out for attention also frequently show aggression or they become rebellious with their parents. Likewise, they’ll talk back and contradict what their parents say. A rebellious teenager won’t follow instructions and will take a defiant attitude when given something to do.
In these cases, you have to spend time talking to your teenage son or daughter and try to understand why he or she is acting out. Often, this kind of conduct can lead the teen to have serious trouble with the police if he or she gets involved in something illegal.
It’s no secret that being a parent isn’t easy, especially when your children act out in adolescence. We need to assure that our children grow up healthy, both physically and psychologically.
To achieve this. you have to spend quality time with your adolescent children and show them a lot of understanding and compassion; in this way, you’ll be on your way to raising a happy teenager.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- De La Niñez, C. (2008). Adolescencia. Plan de Pro-tección Integral a la niñez y adolescencia del cantón Cuenca, 2010. https://www.cpccs.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/1545641.pdf
- Rosabal García, E., Romero Muñoz, N., Gaquín Ramírez, K., & Hernández Mérida, R. A. (2015). Conductas de riesgo en los adolescentes. Revista Cubana de Medicina Militar, 44(2), 218-229. http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0138-65572015000200010
- Oliva, A. (2004). La adolescencia como riesgo y oportunidad. Infancia y aprendizaje, 27(1), 115-122. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1174/021037004772902141