Dear David Coleman: My grand-daughter looks for attention when she is out, but is just a normal little girl at home
Q My seven year-old grand-daughter, who has a three-and-half-year-old brother, is always looking for attention when she is out. She acts more like 16-year-old than a beautiful little seven-year-old. When she is with us at our home, she acts like a normal little girl. Is there any small thing I could advise her with or am I been old-fashioned?
David replies: It doesn't sound like you are being old-fashioned, it sounds like you are just aware that when your grand-daughter is out in company, she seems to need something more, perhaps as if she is in competition for some connection with the adults around her.
Wanting to be noticed, and approved of, is a very normal thing for children.
They like it when adults are aware of them and seem to appreciate their company. The key thing is to consider what your grand-daughter may be communicating by the 'attention-seeking' behaviour, as that might give you the direction in terms of meeting the need she is expressing.
When your grand-daughter is at home with you, she may feel that there is plenty of you to go around.
However, if there are other cousins there, for example, she may feel that she isn't noticed in the same way. Sometimes, simple acknowledgement of children - either with a comment, a hand on the shoulder, or a smile - is enough to let them know that we see them.
Bolstered by that acknowledgement, they may be able to wait then for more complete or involved time with us.