Exploring Your Child’s Needs:

Bringing up children today is a stressful business because you’re bombarded with images of calm, obedient, and extremely clean children with happy, smiling parents all dressed in white, having fun. But that scenario only exists in
Hollywood films!

Most parents spend a considerable amount of time feeling anxious and guilty because they know that they’re often ‘getting it wrong’ but forget that they’re also ‘getting it right’ a lot of the time too. Most parents are a mixture of the two extremes of Mary Poppins and Cruella De Vil! We all have a mixture of strengths and weaknesses.

Nowadays the nurturing of children is a complicated business because many are brought up and influenced not only by their parents but by childminders,teachers, step-parents, nannies, TV presenters, and adverts.Everyone has needs. From the moment you’re born you require basic things such as food, drink, safety, comfort, warmth, and love. But before you know it, your kids are suddenly saying they ‘need’ those really expensive Nike trainers, a trendy haircut, or that designer T-shirt because everyone else has them.

As a parent you need to be clear about what’s really important to you – your values – and you need to express them clearly to your children so you can find a balance between your values and your children’s expectations. Keep the long-term objective of your parenting in front of you to maintain your perspective when your values are challenged, questioned, or argued over. As children grow, their needs change and seem more complex but really the same emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual things still apply.

Of course, how those needs are expressed by each of your children varies from child to child. Some children need more attention from you than others, some need more personal space or more help with their school work. These varying needs can seem demanding at times – but feeling you have to show a different side of yourself and your personality for each of your children is perfectly normal. Doing so is simply utilising your different skills in different situations and being flexible. Underneath, you’re still the same person.

Hierarchy of needs:

In the 1940s, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs, which suggests that every human being has needs that range from basic to more complex and abstract.specific needs must be met at each level in order for a person to feel safe, satisfied, loved, fulfilled, or inspired.Maslow suggested that only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied can humans become concerned with the higher order needs of independence, responsibility, or self-fulfilment.

When shown as a pyramid, the hierarchy of needs offers a clear explanation of the needs of children. In order for kids to be comfortable in their environment, with others, and within themselves, they must have specific needs met,
in the following order:

  • Physiological needs. Your child needs the basic requirements of food,drink, sleep, and shelter.
  • Safety needs. Your child needs basic protection from the elements, safe limits, stability, and a feeling of safety from emotional and physical harm.
  • Emotional needs. Your child must feel loved and that he can belong to a social group, both of which enable him to feel comfortable within his surroundings.
  • Esteem needs. Your child must be able to achieve recognition within a group in order to develop self-esteem. Joining a group of other children is one thing, but to satisfy esteem needs and to feel truly welcome and comfortable, your child must feel accepted and recognised.
  • Cognitive needs. Your child develops mental abilities and skills by acquiring knowledge, learning, knowing, and understanding himself and others.
  • Self-actualisation. Finally, your child needs self-fulfilment, or realising who exactly he is. Children achieve self-actualisation by knowing about themselves and learning about who they are and what they are good at. From here they can go on to maximise their own potential.