Withdrawing attention

Withdrawing attention is a type of punishment mainly used in parenting as a means to correct a child's behavior. The idea is that a child that misbehaves often does so to seek more attention (at least unconsciously). So by deliberately withdrawing attention as a reaction to misbehavior, the misbehavior is made to "fail" in this respect.

The method has become popular in the course of the 20th century as a modern parenting technique. It is allegedly particlularly popular among parents in Japan.

Ignoring a child is also a method that can be used by peers (such as classmates) and is also known as sending him/her to Coventry.


When the child misbehaves (e.g. throws a tantrum or shows bad table manners), he/she is ignored by the parents (and ideally, also by all other family members and guests present). They do not reproof, scold, or actively punish the child. They stop paying attention to anything the child says or does (as good as they can) and just continue their conversation and normal activities.

When the child stops misbehaving, it gets attention again.

Pros and consEdit

The method is completely nonviolent in any respect. In many cases, it has shown to be an effective parenting tool.

In some cases it can be difficult to follow through, because it is not effective immediately. Also, a point can be reached where ignoring the child is no longer possible (because the misbehavior is getting too much or dangerous). The parent then has to cancel this technique and take other measures.

See alsoEdit