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Attention in Action: How Bids for Attention Get Handled in Everyday Family Life

Jeffrey S. Good

UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Working Paper No. 80


In daily life, each and every person deals with some form of bids for his/her attention and will need to decide how they are going to deal with those bids. However, one particular group of people who seem to have a constant high demand on their attention is parents. In addition to all the normal daily pulls on oneís attention that have to be dealt with, parents also have constant demand from their children, a constant need to monitor young children, and to attend to the activities that constitute daily family life. Children need their parents for food, for advice and help, for permission, for information, and all these require the parentís attention. In this paper I discuss some of the ways in which parents deal with bids for their attention. I also show that the type of activities that parents are engaged in greatly impacts the way in which they will handle a bid for their attention. This paper lays down the foundation for a larger study of bids for attention and the different ways in which these bids are done and how they are handled.

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