Fundamental Needs of Children
Is your teen acting out? Does your child seem anxious? Maybe you feel that your child is starting to pull away from you emotionally? Acting out, anxiety, and pulling away can signify that your child is not feeling secure in their primary needs. What are their fundamental needs? Security, Acceptance, and Power. So, before you yell at your child for the twentieth time for not listening, read this article and consider if their behavior is stemming from their primary needs not being met.
Fundamental Needs of Children #1: Security. If your child is not feeling secure, their instincts will pull them into a fight or flight mode. This often comes out as either withdrawing from people and hiding in their rooms or becoming more aggressive and acting out. However, as parents, we need to understand that children crave a sense of security beyond feeling physically safe. Children are also looking for security in love. Kids will start to test your love to see if they can genuinely be “secure” with you. Will you love them through thick and thin? Will you love them if they disagree with your ways? Will you love them if they are not the perfect straight-A student? Children want to know that your love is secure and rooted in WHO they are and NOT what they do. This brings us to #2….
Fundamental Needs of Children #2: Acceptance. Your child wants to be seen for their authentic self and accepted for that person. This is especially important to teenagers discovering who they are and are trying on different “hats” to see what fits them best. They want to know that you, as their parent, will accept them for whoever they choose to become. They want their parents to look beyond their choices, grades, choice of friends, and music and truly accept them for who they are inside.
Fundamental Needs of Children #3: Power. As your child gets older, they want to know that they matter. They want to feel they can have influence and that their existence has a place in the world. People need to feel a sense of purpose. Growing adults need to know that they impact others and that someone would miss them if they were gone. This fundamental need is rooted in having a sense of power. They matter in the world, and they are not powerless in their environment. Teenagers will test their power and influence in the world. Even the nicest kids will subconsciously push the boundaries of action and reaction or choice and consequence. They want to know that what they do and say makes a difference in the world and if they find that they don’t make a difference- they often will get depressed or make “bigger” choices to test the consequences.
So, what can we do to help our children fill these three fundamental needs and improve their behaviors? Here is a list of suggestions.
- Provide Stability: a consistent schedule, predictable consequences, and known boundaries.
- Do not overreact. If your child knows you are going to freak out or get overly angry about their actions, you are sending them the message that you might not accept them. They need you to separate your feelings for their choices away from the person that they are.
- Words of Affirmation. Acknowledge their personality attributes. Continue to tell them that you love them no matter what. Let them express themselves, make their own choices, and affirm that their voice matters. Let them contribute to family decisions.
- Start a conversation with your child or at least explore the questions on the FREE PDF link here, so you can begin figuring out WHERE the behavior is coming from and HOW your child is feeling. Go to: https://theimpactfulparent.com/whateverychildneeds
Meeting your child’s fundamental needs creates happier children and makes YOU a more impactful parent!