It’s common psychological knowledge that children need a certain amount of parental attention and input to feel safe and thrive psychologically.
From birth, children instinctively find ways to get this attention when they need it. Babies come into the world programmed to cry when they are cold or hungry.
As children grow they start to develop more sophisticated psychological strategies to get attention when they need it. This can include positive strategies, like being sweet or helpful.
But when children feel like these strategies are not working, they turn to negative strategies or ‘acting out’ to get this attention.
This is the classic shopping aisle tantrums, doing something deliberately naughty, crying, body flinging and pinch-your-sibling kinds of behavior.
For some children, getting negative attention or being in trouble is better than being ignored.
These strategies can become bigger and more complicated as children grow older, but the fundamental need to be heard, understood and attended to remains the same.
To stop the negative behavior is quite simple, reward positive behavior and give children the attention they need by listening to them and trying to understand and address their needs.
Now, take this simple theory and apply it to South Arica.
If Jacob Zuma were the father and the people of this country were his children. The people would have the fundamental need to be heard and understood by him.
First, they might try strategies like being sweet and compliant to get his attention.
But when this doesn’t work, it’s not surprising that they might start to do more and more (and then anything) to get his attention.
We’ve now reached the stage where the people of this country are prepared to do more and more (at a risk to themselves) to feel heard. And so long as the president refuses to come out and recognize and listen to these needs, the more the people of this country will need to act out to get his attention.
Source: The South African