Of all the things the authors write about, the one thing that sticks in my head is this: If you only give your kids the attention they ask for (or demand), they will never be satisfied because they will think that they are not truly and unconditionally loved. Instead, they say, we must give our kids attention before they ask for it or, if they have already made a bid for attention, let them know you want to connect with them by saying, "What a good idea! I was just thinking that we should play something together." Or something similar. Their intent is not to be disingenuous with kids, but for parents to stay connected with their children.
After I first read about this idea, I thought back to all the times I felt Goen was most demanding and clingy. Often, these were the same times when I was wrapped up in some project (such as sewing, washing dishes, or eating) that did not involve him. I started making an effort to connect with him before he came to me crying. Eye contact is a big one, but I also say hello, ask him how he is, or take a brief break to roll on the floor with him. It's amazing the difference between days when I do this and days when I don't. Of all the things parenting requires, time is the biggest, and often the hardest. Sometimes I have to give up working on a project, which is frustrating. But, as the authors of the book note, we can put in the time now (when it is, arguably, easier) or we can put it in later when our kids are out of control in their peer oriented behavior.