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Online Parenting Tips: 10 Important Kids Needs

Updated on January 16, 2012

Kids needs

I have often been asked over the years about what it is that children really need. You see some parents are of the opinion that providing things  like shelter, food, and clothing will take care are their kids needs and everything else is just a bonus. Other parents seem to believe that anything their child badgers them for long enough or loud enough must be one of their kids needs. We might not all agree what a child’s needs are but for most of us they fall somewhere in between the needs of the negligent attitude of the first parent and the over indulgent approach of the second parent. Children do in fact appear to have several basic kids needs and helping them meet these needs to become mentally healthy individuals is our job as parents.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #1

Shelter, food and clothing. Children do need to be provided with the basics of food, shelter, and clothing. The degree to which we provide these is at our discretion. The food we provide should on the whole be nutritious and balanced (some kids will tell us they can survive on fast food), the shelter should be clean and safe and free of infestation, and the clothing kids wear should be appropriate for the prevailing weather and of a reasonable quality (even though our kids may tell us they will die if they don’t get the latest name brand items). These kids needs are the bare minimum we should provide as parents but they are not enough to raise healthy kids.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #2

Security. One of the most important kids needs is to feel a sense of security. They need to feel safe in their own homes and they also need to know that their parents will be there for them when they really need them. They also need to know their parents won’t expose them to strange and frightening situations. For example, as an adult you may enjoy frightening or scary movies but for children this is an unnecessary exposure to something that can threaten their feelings of security.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #3

Love. Children need to feel loved. Kids need to know that they are significant and that they matter to someone else. Children grow up to be healthier when they have experienced unconditional love. Even though they may misbehave and make other mistakes on occasion, at the end of the day they know their parents will tell them and show them that they are loved. Feeling loved is one of the most basic of kids needs. It is something kids shouldn't need to ask for and it should be shown by parents freely and often.

Online parenting Tips: Important kids needs #4

Acceptance. Another of the more fundamental and basic kids needs is acceptance. As children  grow and develop their own unique personality, and as they begin to differentiate and seek autonomy, they still need to know they are accepted. They need to know that even though they don’t always act and appear exactly the way their parents want, they are still accepted for who they are and there is a place for them in the family. Kids get their needs met when they live in a home where their individuality is respected.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #5

Power. Children need to feel empowered. Children have a need to learn things on their own and to want to achieve mastery throughout their lives. it is learning to walk or play the piano, children become healthier when they feel they can learn new things by using their own resources. This is also why we send them to school. Children who feel they have some power in the world develop self-efficacy and believe that they can learn new things on their own or as part of a group. Of all the kids needs power can be the most difficult to manage because some children will try to take shortcuts if we let them. We want kids to achieve and earn meaningful power, that shows respect for themselves and others, not the power some kids seek by trying to control or manipulate the world around them. We live in a world of video games where children often get their need for power met through meaningless fantasy.  This can become addictive and interfere with their search for power in the real world. As parents we need to encourage them seek out mastery in useful and meaningful ways

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #6

Independence. Children need to be able to develop a sense of freedom. Healthy children come to believe that as they grow and develop their parents want them to try different things on their own. One of our kids needs is being able to mature by having increasing opportunities to make our own choices. While parents will still monitor some of the choices and decisions their children make, they also recognize that healthy children need to have opportunities to learn from some of their mistakes. As parents though, this can go to far. With freedom comes responsibility and when children show us they are maturing and can handle responsibility, it makes it easier to respect their independence.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #7

Fun. Some parents may not realize it but one of their kids needs is the need to have fun. Mentally healthy children need to have opportunities to giggle and laugh and experience joy in their lives. Parents who are always serious can stifle this need in their children, causing their children to doubt or feel ashamed of their own experiences of joy and happiness. Overly critical and pessimistic parenting can interfere with a child's natural need to have fun often leading children struggle with negative emotions and feelings of insecurity. While children have a strong need for fun as parents we need to encourage a balance between with their need for fun and their need for mastery.  We live in an age of indulgence and entertainment that can sometimes be overpowering and lopsided (in favor of only fun) so it is important for healthy children to achieve a reasonable balance. Even better yet, some children find a way to meet their needs for mastery and fun at the same time.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #8

Values. Children do need to have values. Children become healthy when they know the underlying values that help them learn how to behave in society. When they learn about values like respect, kindness, generosity, compassion, courage, loyalty,  perseverance, consideration, patience, and truthfulness (just to name a few), they have a better foundation for the choices they make and actions they take in their everyday lives. For many parents this also means exposing them to spiritual or religious practices. Whether learned in a secular or spiritual home, children will be more likely to become responsible caring adults when they are exposed to different values.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #9

Role models. Children need good role models and leaders in their lives because they learn by watching others. If the role models in their lives have numerous vices and unhealthy habits, children will be far more likely to follow in their footsteps. Role models can be parents, older siblings, and very often other older children in the community. When we guide children by showing them how to get along with others, they will be more likely to develop healthy and responsible social attitudes. Children often learn this by having healthy families. Many parents don't think of role modeling as one of kids needs, but it is necessary for them to learn about life from someone and good role models provide guidance for our kids.

Online parenting tips: Important kids needs #10

Boundaries. Children need discipline and direction. Healthy children need to know that there are boundaries and limits in the world and that when they cross these boundaries there will be an appropriate response. Parents use time outs for young children or reasonable and natural consequences for older children. Children need to know that when they behave in ways that are respectful and considerate of themselves and of others they will receive support and encouragement; however, when they fail to display appropriate respect for themselves and to others there will be barriers to let them know what they are doing is not OK. We want our children to gradually become more responsible and we can't do that if we haven't created a consistent and predictable plan for discipline.

Meeting kids needs is a balancing act

Children who grow up to have their needs met in a balanced and effective manner will be more likely to develop into mentally and emotionally well adjusted people. If we want our children to become healthy adults we need to find ways as parents to help satisfy their basic needs. We would like our children to one day be healthy and happy parents, friends, workers, community members, and contributing citizens. We can help them achieve these goals by being aware of basic kids needs and helping meet those needs. Finding the right balance should be the goal of parents, so that kids don't sacrifice important needs while only having some of their kids needs met.

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    • TPSicotte profile image
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      TPSicotte 7 years ago from The Great White North

      Thank you very much.

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      imranhaider 7 years ago

      nice hub

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