Indentifying Needs And Communicating Them.Jul 04, 2022
As adults, we really suck at stating our needs. I’m sorry to have to be so blunt, but this is the truest of all truths, and it causes so much heartache, confusion and misunderstandings that we really need to address this.
Example: I want my husband to do something for me on my birthday. I hint at a few things. Say things like, “Sara’s husband really went all out on her birthday! She’s so lucky!” My husband, equally sucky at reading my needs as I am at expressing them, totally misses my point. My birthday arrives, he gives me a cute memory box that he really thought I’d love except that’s not what I wanted, and it doesn’t fit my idea of “I want my birthday to be special”. Now I’m upset, sad and angry and my husband is confused and discouraged. (#truestory)
Here’s my daughter expressing HER needs: “Mama I want a special birthday this time because I’m turning 6. I want a unicorn piñata with candy in it and I only like Swedish Fish and M&Ms. I also want a stuffed animal- a unicorn, wrapped nicely in a pink bag. I like nicely wrapped presents. The cake can be anything you like.. you can surprise me. I don’t like fruit in my cake though. Please don’t get that. You can get it for your own birthday.” (#truestory)
Now here’s the thing- stating your needs clearly or making your needs known is a life skill. All kids are born with it. It can be taken away though. Here are some ways kids show us their other needs and how we respond to them can really build this life skill:
An 8-year-old is “too sensitive”, he cries a lot, seems to need frequent validation and seems to fall apart at “small things”. He’s showing us he has a beautifully sensitive heart. His need from his parents is to be attuned to that and provide the extra validation and support instead of labeling him and asking him to “become stronger”. When we acknowledge his need without judgement and just give him what he needs, he’ll be fine. His cup will be full and he’ll be ready to take on the world.
A 6-yo is “too bossy”. She likes to tell her little siblings what to do and how to do it. She needs to always be in charge. She’s showing us that she’s a born leader and if we allow her to lead, find opportunities for making her in charge and support her in doing so- she’ll be fine. Again, THAT is what will fill her cup and help her thrive. She got her needs met from where it really mattered, her parents, so she’ll be that much more flexible and accommodating when she’s out in the world.
Similarly, some kids show us their need to be more active, more feisty, more introverted, more extroverted- whatever it is, they CLEARLY tell us what their need is and unfortunately, we start to see only the negatives of that need.
So for us to truly give our children what they need from us and to fill their cup, we have to take the biggest leap ever of trust and let go of the fears. We HAVE to remember that they were born with every good thing already inside them, our job is to figure out how to honor that and then trust the process with all our hearts and souls.
P.S. If we’ve either ignored our children’s needs or tried to change them, it’s possible that they’ve lost some of the skills to express them. Please know that nothing I say here is ever meant to make you feel poorly, and the start of any change does feel hard and uncomfortable. We can start today by attuning to our child and paying attention to what they need from us. This is something I’m always working on too. Sometimes it’s so so hard to give our kids what they need. In that case- please be kind to yourself and forgive yourself and keep thinking positively, I promise the change will come 💗
Share from Maryam Munir at The Parent Empowerment Project