Raising Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Important
Why Kids Needs to Feel Important
Second in a Series of Articles on Raising Emotionally Healthy Children
Guest Post from The Children’s Project
Another critical emotional need of children is to feel important. Feeling important refers to a child’s need to feel: “I have value. I am useful. I have power. I am somebody.” The following are examples of how parents obstruct or enhance a child’s need to feel Important.
Overprotectiveness – Parents diminish children’s sense of power by limiting them too much. They need to experiment and try new things. We need to encourage their curiosity, experimentation and desire for adventure. We say “no” too often.
Excessive Permissiveness - However, if you never or rarely say “no’ or try to satisfy all children’s “wants”, they might very well develop a false sense of entitlement and unrealistic expectations which will hurt them in the future as them come to grips with the realities of life. Distinguish between “wants” and “needs” – and even when saying “no” to any ‘want”, it is important to do so in a way that honors the five critical needs.
Talking Too Much/Not Listening – We talk; we lecture; we give advice; we tell them how to feel and what to think; we overpower them with words when we should be listening and paying attention more to what they are saying, thinking and feeling. Give them your undivided attention, even when you only have a few minutes.
Decision Making – When parents make all decision and solve all problems, children miss an opportunity to grow in self-confidence and develop good judgment and decision-making skills. Asking their opinions and listening to their answers, contributes to their sense of “I am somebody”. Give them experience in making smaller, age-appropriate decisions – dressing, menu planning, family activities, pet-care, etc.
If we provide constructive, meaningful ways to make children feel important, they will not need to engage in inappropriate destructive activities to convince themselves and others that “I am somebody”.
Satisfying a child’s five critical emotional needs: to feel respected, important, accepted, included and secure, will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.
To learn more about Dr. Newmark and The Children’s Project go to www.emotionallyhealthychildren.org. You can also visit us on facebook: http://alturl.com/ok8rb and follow our tweets on twitter: @emotionalhealth. To order the book How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children by Dr. Gerald Newmark go to amazon.com. Available in book, Kindle and audio.