Parents often wonder if they are giving their children what they need the most. It’s challenging to determine what children need the most from their parents because each child is unique and different and has specific needs. Out of love and the pursuit of perfection, parents use their childhood experiences to determine what is best for their kids; some take the material approach, some take the path of becoming best friends with their kids, and some are helicopter parents. All children have basic needs, which, if applied to intentional parenting, will provide a well-balanced, resilient childhood that helps the child to become good citizens of the world.
Basic Needs and Childhood Trauma
On my Podcast episode, How to Build the Most Fulfilling Relationship with Your Children, Sandra Trew and I discussed different parenting styles, how our childhood experiences shape our parenting and, ultimately, our priorities as parents. Our conversation determined that parents must heal their childhood wounds to be better parents.
Basic Needs of Children
Per Sandra, children have two basic needs. Children want and need love and attention. While I agree with Sandra, I think kids also need affirmations and consistency.
How do you give love? How do you show love? and how do you determine that you are giving and showing love to your kids the right way? As mentioned above, every child is unique and receives love in ways that are unique to them. Start by learning your child’s love language and applying it. When you have determined your child’s unique way of being loved, just do it as often and organically as possible. Showing love in this way will build your child’s self-esteem and strengthen your relationship.
Giving your kids attention can be as simple as sitting on the couch, cuddled up and watching TV. Again, each child is unique, and parents must take the extra steps to determine the right form of attention for each child. Some ways to show attention are
- Smiling at your child when they walk into a room
- Making eye contact and using caring facial expressions
- Physical affection with hugs, kisses, hand holding
- Words of affirmation.
- Showing interest in your child’s interests, activities and achievements.
Words of affirmation or acts of formation are great ways to meet a child’s basic needs. Observe your child and affirm the things they do, say, their talents. Making factual statements about your child will boost their self-esteem, strengthen your relationship, and enable them to build on those strengths.
Consistency as a parent requires one to hold true to their expectations, promises, and reactions. Children have blind trust towards their parents. The easiest way to break their trust is to be inconsistent. Children need to know that a parent’s yes means yes, no means no, and that there will be consistency in how a parent speaks and reacts no matter the circumstance.
My conversation with Sandra taught me that intentional parenting requires parents to heal their childhood wounds, give their best to their children, and ultimately meet their children’s basic needs. I also learned to appreciate the importance of validating my children’s feelings and talents.
Thanks for exploring this topic with me