I think some kids are growing up deprived of their emotional needs. Everyone knows what the physical needs are. Children need food and shelter and parents work hard to make sure they get these things. However, I believe that some parents go overboard providing things for their children. Many adults work hard to give their children things that they didn’t have and this is noble.
But kids don’t need tones of stuff. Sure it is nice to have things like MP3 players, video games, bicycles, computers, and all the latest gadgetry and toys. And I’ll admit that I had some of these things, or their ancient equivalent, when I was growing up. I had an Atari, a cassette walkman, a bike, and a skateboard. And I played with these things all the time. But the most important part of my childhood, and the part I fondly remember, has nothing to do with tangible objects. It was all the time that my dad spent with me.
My dad was my hero growing up. He coached my soccer team. He played out front and in the backyard with me. We went camping and he took me on all sorts of adventures. He spanked me when I did wrong. He talked to me about real things. He was, and continues, to be there for me. He helped me to grow and develop as a person.
My mom wasn’t so good at this but she tried. My parents made sure that they took care of my emotional needs. They provided for me in ways that I will forever be grateful.
Here are some emotional needs that you need to consider. Children need examples of how to behave and act in certain situations. Parents are the model for this. Children need to be listened to and engaged in meaningful conversation. Parents need to model this as well. Children need to be disciplined and taught what is right and wrong. This is the parents’ job, no one else’s. Children need to have their emotions acknowledged, even if we don’t understand them. They need to be told it is okay to laugh or to cry. They need our support in all of their emotional needs.
I try to do these things in the classroom. And I see how some children at school are so starved for this kind of attention. It’s really sad to see. I hate to admit it, but I spend more time and attention on some children than their parents do. That is just sad. And it needs to change.