What do Children Need?
Children learn from adults and they need to be resilient in order to meet their full potential. For a child to be resilient they need the following:
External supports: need to have a support structure and to be able to trust; Trust is defined as believing in, and relying on, another person or thing. For example a child needs to feel that they have someone in their life that will respect their confidences that will listen to them and be empathic. Also, and equally importantly, they need to trust themselves.
Personal Strengths: need their own identity, self-esteem and confidence; children need to know that it is okay to make mistakes, that they are loved and lovable, and that they are worthwhile.
Social and Interpersonal Skills: need interpersonal and problem solving skills; young people need the skills to recognise a problem or difficulty, have the ability to look at possible solutions, test these and take action, and know that they can make changes if needed.
Children have three essential types of needs – emotional, physical, and intellectual.
This is the most vital need of all. If you can love children without expecting anything in return, they will grow up feeling more confident and positive about themselves, and more able to love others. While this seems like the most natural thing in the world, parents are often worried that they are not doing enough.
Children need lots of praise – not just for achieving things, but for trying too.
This includes warmth, regular nutritious meals and plenty of rest.
Most children feel more secure if a few things happen roughly the same time everyday, and if any changes in routine are explained to them.
Try to provide a variety of creative, interesting things for your children to do. Encourage them to explore and take on new challenges if you think they are ready for them. Your interest and praise will help to build their self-esteem.
Talk to your baby or child as much as possible, and encourage them to talk to you.
This means encouraging them to learn to do things by themselves, like getting dressed and feeding themselves. It means allowing them to make choices sometimes, perhaps about which clothes they wear or which toys they prefer to play with.
Children deserve to be treated with courtesy, just like adults. They should be told about decisions which affect them, like hospital visits or separations. They have rights too.
Most parents only want the best for their children, and usually provide quite adequately for all their basic needs. But sometimes other factors get in the way. These are some that you might recognise.
- Unemployment, lack of money and cramped housing can make caring for children even more difficult.
- Most families go through times of crises. Separation, illness or a death of a relative or close friend can have a dramatic effect on the whole family.
- Sometimes parents find it hard to love a particular child, especially if the baby was unplanned or unwanted, or if the child was a very demanding baby or toddler.
- Parents caring for children with special needs face particular problems and often need extra support. Remember that there is no such thing as the perfect parent. Every parent makes mistakes, so don’t feel too guilty if you lose your patience and say something in anger that you don’t mean. You can apologise and explain to your child that what you said was wrong that you are sorry.
Provided by “ISPCC” Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children www.ispcc.ie