I Know What You Need But…

An amazing shift can happen when we start to see behaviour as existing to meet a need. But there are some common pitfalls that people fall into in the practical application of this concept.

We can often see what need is behind a child’s behaviour, but many times, we feel like our need trumps it:

          “I know you have a need to have fun, but I need you to get your work done.”

          “I know you have a need to be independent, but I need to get out the door quickly.”

          “I know you need time to connect with me, but I need you to go to sleep!”

The message ends up being:

          “I know what you need, but my need is more important. Your needs don’t really count.”

Or, equally problematic, we allow the child’s need to trump ours:

          “I know you need time with me, so I’ll entertain you every second of the day.”

          “I know you are tired, so I’ll allow you to be rude and mean to others.”

          “You need an education, so you will remain in the classroom in spite of how you are bullying others.”

The message is:

          “You are more important than anyone else.”

Instead of one person’s needs trumping another’s, it’s important that we teach kids that everyone’s needs are important. It’s a tough balancing act sometimes, but it’s much more productive to be asking:

          “You need some fun, and I need you to get your work done. How can we accomplish both?”

          “You need time with me, and I need some time to myself. How can we both get what we need?”

Are there situations in your life that you’ve been pitting needs against each other instead of finding a way to value everyone?


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