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OTHER ITA SITES:
Are You Meeting ALL Your Child's Basic Needs?
This may come as a surprise, but many parents are unaware ofthe full extent of their child's basic needs.
Do you remember the old song by Lennon and McCartney aboutthe girl leaving home after 'living alone for so manyyears'? The parents were desolate. They'd given hereverything money could buy - so how could she possibly havebeen lonely and unhappy?
Clearly, there were some needs that just weren't being metat home, so the girl upped and left.
What are these basic needs we must be aware of if we're tobe effective parents?
There are four categories: physical, emotional, intellectualand spiritual.
So often people overestimate the first category, physicalneeds - but let's not underestimate them either! We all needfood and drink, warmth, clothing and shelter to protect usfrom the elements.
These will sustain life, but by themselves they won'tpromote positive relationships. Some parents, however,shower their kids with material things in order to over-compensate for the other areas.
And we all know that, despite their wealth, many of thesesame kids are miserable. Their other needs are just notbeing met.
Probably the most obvious of these other needs is emotionalin nature.
Love and affection are vital, but there's more to it.
Children need constant reassurance! When our personalitiesare forming we are on the lookout for feedback, so that weknow what to accept and what to reject.
We also form our picture of ourselves from the feedback weget from others, especially those who have 'significant'roles in our lives: parents first, then siblings, relatives,teachers, friends and so on.
A child doesn't really know what to make of himself untilthat feedback comes in.
And they make value judgements so quickly! 'Hey, I'mpretty good at this, everbody tells me so!'
Or how about, 'Yeah, I guess I'm a pretty stupid, uselessperson. They always laugh at me. That's if they take anynotice at all!'
As a parent it's easy for you to praise the child who'sdoing well, but the child who's struggling needs as much -and possibly more - praise and encouragement. Yet so oftenwe overlook this.
If you take the time to listen to your kids, to take theirinterests and ideas seriously - even if they seem petty,trivial or irrelevant - then you are investing heavily inyour children's emotional well-being.
Although many parents are becoming aware of the emotionalneeds of children, some are a bit hazy when it comes totheir intellectual needs.
There's still a perception that those kids who do well atschool just happen to be the 'brainy' ones.
Yet a wide body of research suggests that school or'academic' success will be determined by a child's positiveself-image AND by the stimulation and interaction the childreceives at home.
These affect the thought-processes of the child, and thethought-processes (HOW the child thinks) are the tools usedin learning.
Kids who perform well at school consistently come from homeswhere there's a lot of mental stimulation through play, avariety of experiences, and interaction through discussionand conversation.
Finally, if intellectual needs are hazy, there appears to bedownright confusion over spiritual needs.
That children have spiritual needs comes as a shock to someparents, and others hotly dispute this need. This seems tobe because most people associate spiritual needs withreligion, but they are not necessarily related to religiousbeliefs.
It's generally accepted in modern educational and clinicalpsychology that we all have spiritual needs.
It's helpful to make your kids aware that there are greaterforces and powers at work in nature and in the universe, andthat our lives work best when we are in harmony with these.
You can meet your kids' spiritual needs by participating inyour religion, but also by fostering a sense of awe andwonder about the grandeur of the world.
Teach your children to respect nature and the life forcethat permeates it.
On to this can be built an appreciation of the diversity andvariety of human lives and customs.
As a result your kids will grow up with a value system,which when followed will lead to contentment and happiness.
A well-rounded individual, then, is one who's needs are metin all the above categories: physical, emotional,intellectual and spiritual.
Take action now to meet ALL your kid's basic needs. It'snever too late, but obviously the earlier you start, thebetter. Your kids will be well-balanced and happy.
And you? Well, you'll be taking pride and pleasure in a jobwell done.
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