by Dr. Gerald Newmark
The Children’s Project
Developing Emotionally Healthy Children, Families, Schools and Communities
Feeling Secure, Included, Respected, Important and Accepted
According to Dr. Newmark, the fifth critical emotional need of children is the need to feel secure. Helping children feel secure means creating a positive environment where people care about one another and show it, express themselves, listen to others, accept differences, resolve conflicts constructively, provide structure and rules so that children to feel safe and protected and give children opportunities to participate in their own growth and the evolution of their family.
These important elements contribute to children’s sense of security:
- Their Parents’ Relationship – When parents bicker, treat each other without respect and rarely show affection for each other, children experience anxiety and insecurity. If couples treated each other with the five emotional needs in mind, they would be better role models for their children.
- A Caring, Affectionate Environment – Observing affection between their parents and receiving affection from them is very important to children’s sense of security. The beginning and ending of the day, week, month and year present opportunities for regular demonstrations of affection toward your children. Remember to take care of yourself, too.
- Traditions and Rituals – Establishing traditions and rituals for family celebrations and participating in family activities give children a sense of stability and security.
- Their Parents’ Anxiety – Overprotective and excessively controlling parents often produce insecure, uptight, anxious children who carry some of these hang-ups and anxieties into adulthood.
- Discipline – Children need structure to feel secure. Establish rules and consequences together. Avoid creating ambiguous expectations, implementing too many rules, creating inappropriate or excessive consequences, being inconsistent with the consequences and using physical punishment.
- Self-Discipline – Encourage self-discipline so your children develop it. Allow your children to explore and experience the consequences of their actions. This way, they learn to anticipate negative consequences and exercise self-control to avoid them. If their parents are too controlling, children don’t have this opportunity.
Children need freedom as much as they need control. Being too protective can result in intimidated or rebellious children. Our goals are to protect them so they don’t suffer from their impulses and inexperience and to give them enough freedom to grow into confident, self-reliant, thoughtful, independent, caring and civic-minded individuals. Growing up in a positive and stable environment contributes to a child’s sense of security.
Satisfying children’s five critical emotional needs will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.
Click here to read the introductory post in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children…and Parents Too!”
Click here to read article one in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Respected.”
Click here to read article two in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Important.”
Click here to read article three in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Accepted.”
Click here to read article four in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Feeling Included.”