One of the main problems we have as parents is not truly understanding the needs of our children. It is not uncommon for a parent to think that meeting their child’s basic needs only includes food, shelter and paying school fees. The more affluent ones will add a whole range of material goods to the list. Rich or poor most of the time we are actually not getting it.
And our children are aware that their needs are not being met. Remember when you were young, did you think your needs where being met? Well if your answer is ‘no’ It may be wise to consider if you why not? if your answer is ‘yes’ on the other hand, then consider how were they being met?
Then here is the big one, ask yourself am I meeting my children’s needs?
I am talking about needs today, because I have become more and more aware of the fact that children will misbehave if their emotional needs are not being met. A lot of the undisciplined behavior that creates the situations where we are angry screaming, yelling, flogging and canning our children because of misbehavior (even the depression some of them experience), could have been averted if only their basic emotional needs were being met.
If on the other hand their basic emotional needs are met then the need to play up, seek attention and misbehave reduces or in some cases simply disappears!
OK so what are these needs?
I will share some of them and I am sure you can relate.
- A child needs to know that he is loved unconditionally, not because they always do things right, but because he is loved! Simple and straight forward. Who doesn’t have this need? If a child does not feel this need met, then why are we so surprised at his misbehavior! Misbehavior is simply away to seek for attention. The cry from the heart of your child is: ‘Dad, Mum do you truly love me?’
- Children want to be independent, we spoil our children by not allowing them to learn to do things by themselves, Yes it’s messier and takes longer to start with, but the end product down the line will create a self-confident child who is happy, ready to learn with well-adjusted self-esteem. Added to this, is the fact that you will have a teenager who would give you less grief with tidying his room and doing his share of household chores.
- Similar to the need to be loved is the need to belong. It is important to let our children just be children, to belong and not feel left out and to become whom they joyfully want to become. The security of belong brings out the best in every child. Belonging makes better learners of them, more confident, better communicators.
- Children also want to contribute, just as they need to be independent, they need to know that they can also help out be of use, create value for others around them.
The magic happens when we are able to meet these needs, they will stop acting out. How I wish we would all endeavor to meet these needs in each child and watch them blossom beyond recognition.