Difficult behaviors and needs of the child - what do they have in common?

needs of others, including parents. This is why there are misunderstandings and conflicts. Difficult behaviors and needs of the child. 

Difficult behaviors and needs of the child - what do they have in common?
Difficult behaviors and needs of the child - what do they have in common?

If children are doing something the parent doesn't like, it's not because they are trying to tease us or out of spite. They try to satisfy their needs only by all means available to them. The younger the child, the more difficult it is to take into account the needs of others, including parents. This is why there are misunderstandings and conflicts. Difficult behaviors and needs of the child.

Nonviolent communication - defines needs as "inner power" that supports and enriches life. When a child's needs are met, he or she is calm, regulated, willing to cooperate and listen. We often confuse the needs with the whims or whims of the child, to which he also has a right. Then we believe that if we succumb to it, the child will fall on our head. That is why there are supporters of "healthy discipline", which consists in punishing, drawing consequences, forcing something with fear, criticizing, labeling, etc. So far, in various educational systems, we can meet such terms as "little tyrant" or "terrible teenager". We keep demands from our children, rebuke them, demand obedience, disregarding their natural needs. This is why children fight for their "inner power" - they shout, resist, because they want their needs to be noticed, recognized and satisfied.

What are needs

  • Needs are at the service of life.
  • They are common to all people.
  • You can name them and include them.
  • There are many strategies for meeting each need.

Behind every difficult behavior of a child there is some need - satisfied or unsatisfied. Therefore, finding those unmet needs and checking what the child wants to take care of (looking under the surface) is very supportive for him.

The needs are characterized by the fact that they are universal and common to all people. Our behaviors are strategies to satisfy them. Therefore, we can satisfy every need in different ways. The child chooses those he knows and which are available to him.

Basic needs, that is what

These basic needs, called physiological, serve to preserve life in the biological sense. These are:

  • Need to breathe
  • The need to eat and drink,
  • Need to sleep.

Therefore, when our child behaves not as we would like, it may be worth checking first if he or she is satisfied. The younger the child, the easier it is to deregulate and the harder it is to return to the green zone (more on regulation zones here) when it is tired, sleepy, hungry or thirsty. It is also more difficult for us to support a dysregulated child when we are tired and stressed. This toil is precisely due to our unmet needs. Then it is easy to find an interpretation of what the child does not serve us or what it does.

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In meeting the needs it is very important that the parent first takes care of himself so that it is possible to take care of the child. When we do not take care of ourselves first, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to take care of a child. On the plane, we also put on the mask first, and then to the child.

Existential needs necessary for life and development

Need for security - comes with unconditional acceptance and love. Children feel safe when they know they can count on being cared for, protected and supported no matter what they do. The need for security comes with a secure attachment style. This is why younger children keep scanning their surroundings and us. They check whether we pay attention to them or see them. When our 6-7-year-old is at the playground and screams loudly "mom look", it is not about praise or our applause for his achievements, but about noticing and saying "hey, I see you". The child must feel safe in any environment in which he or she is in order to develop. A safe environment is an environment free from shouting, criticism, irony, sarcasm, forcing obedience, discipline, depreciating the child's values, and physical violation. It is also a predictable environment in which an adult is responsible for building relationships and caring for a child. The need for security is built by constancy, that is, experiencing predictability and closeness of the parent. And it is not about scheduled activities or classes, but rather about a certain regularity.

You need autonomy and independence - that is, to decide for yourself what I want to do, for how long, about when and what I want to learn, about when I will finish what I am doing. This is why children have ideas of their own about many things and are sometimes very adamant about it. It is worth considering in which areas of life my child can satisfy his need for autonomy. Of course, the fulfillment of this need depends on the age of the child, who cannot always do everything on their own and sometimes needs our help. However, it is worth being careful here and asking if we can help. Think next time that this is not a wayward teenager or a rebellious 8-year-old, but a child who cares about his need for autonomy and decision-making.

Need to be seen and heard - Children need love and acceptance when they least œdeserve it. It's about empathizing with emotions and engaging in various joint activities.

You need recognition - that is, that others take me seriously and respectfully, that they see what I do, regardless of the effect. Every child wants adults to see his contribution and good intentions.

The need for closeness and relationships - a child needs to be in a nursing relationship with a safe adult to develop and live. This is why babies like to be carried on their hands when they are small, to be touched, hugged, and tickled. When our teenager is having a hard time, he asks if he can sleep with us. Children like to be close to a sensitive and caring adult.

Need for non-valuing attention - that is, I can see and hear what you are doing, I see what you want to show me, I can see you. I can also see that you are and what you are, it's okay, you are important to me. The need for attention is related to the need to be seen and heard. This is why children do not weaken in their efforts to attract our attention, to call us. And it has nothing to do with the disrespectful remark of adults, "he doesn't need anything, he just wants to get our attention." Non-valuing attention is one that we give to a child regardless of what he or she does or does not do. Here we are neither praising nor reprimanding, because when we do this the child gets a large part of conditional attention. So he has to do something for us to pay attention to them, e.g. with behavior, because it is the fastest way.

The need for fun and learning - remember that play is also learning, even for older children. In order for a child to show cognitive curiosity, i.e. to be ready to learn, it must be in the green zone (more about regulation zones here) and have a sense of security. The need to play and learn is related to the need for stimulation, i.e. providing the child with development stimuli appropriate to his age.

It is worth looking at the described needs and considers to what extent they are satisfied and how the child feels and behaves then.

Needs cannot be extinguished or disposed of. They need to be noticed, appreciated and satisfied. If your baby is hungry, he or she will not forget to eat. If it is tired, the body will ask for sleep and rest by itself, but before this happens, the "Difficult behavior". Children need to learn and play, they want to decide what they do, they want to be considered, heard and taken seriously with love and respect.