The meeting of your child's physiological, safety, emotional (belonging and esteem) and spiritual needs impact his balanced integration of mind, body and soul. This influences your child's ability to work toward his well-being and ability to live fluently. Think of the rolling ball previously presented. You as an adult might say, "I feel off today" or "I am off my game today" and then take action to remedy the situation. Your child doesn't know how to help himself feel better and he may display emotions that indicate that he is "off". This can escalate his being out of balance as he reacts to his own feelings and the responses that he gets from other people. Meanwhile, he is unable to easily complete the tasks at hand such as homework, a school lesson, following a direction or participating in an activity. Each area - mind, body, and soul has needs. When these needs are met, your child will function better in his world.
Your child came to earth dependent on you to meet his needs and to support him as he grows to be independent. Abraham Maslow, a psychologist (1908-1970), developed the Hierarchy of Needs as a tool for examining these needs. This theory states that we have needs that must be met before we can move on to addressing higher level needs. Maslow visualized it as a pyramid with primary needs at the base and spiritual needs at the peak. The needs from the bottom up are: physiological, safety, belonging, esteem. If they are not met, they limit our ability to reach the top of the pyramid or self-actualization and transcendence. This theory provides us with a framework for thinking about your child's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth.
Highest Level Self-actualization Well-being, moments of pure joy and peace
4th Level Esteem Provided by others, then by self-perception
3rd Level Belonging Love, relationships
2nd Level Safety Shelter, protection
1st Level Physiological Food, Air, Water, Sleep, Health
The lower levels indicate the needs that are the basic building blocks which will support the attainment of the higher needs. These needs are pretty self-explanatory except for perhaps self-actualization. Self actualization is a spiritual, emotional and mental need. It is when a human being loves life and lives in joy. It is when he has found himself, his place on earth and his connection to Spirit. It leads to transcendence. It is an energy state reached by full, balanced integration of mind, body and soul.
When Maslow's needs are not met sufficiently, the child has areas of weakness. For instance, if a child is physically hungry or tired, he is incapable of working up to his potential. If a child is mentally worried about something at home or at school that feels threatening to his safety, he is not able to focus on schoolwork. The meeting of these needs impacts a child physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
What is it that you need from your relationship with your child? Cooperation is often mentioned. This is really a lowering of resistance on the part of the parent and the child.
You work with your child's energy to meet these needs while also addressing your own physical, belonging and self esteem needs. This work supports your child's integration of mind, body and soul while easing parenting, lowering frustration and therefore increasing everyone's happiness. Often some changes need to be made in the interactions that you and your child have. Change is hard work, especially in the beginning. There is no quick fix, nor any easy way to persuade your child to meet your needs of peace, calm, cooperation, etc. A child will resist change, even if the change is good for him, but you can lower his resistance. We provide ideas for doing that including how to develop your "effective parental energy". You can help yourself in the long run by:
While understanding that your child is a soul, just like you are, you are responsible for raising and teaching him "human-ness", This sets you in the role of being his leader who supports him in developing his well-being. In order to do this, you meet his needs: physiological, safety, diet, and self-esteem. You also guide and prepare him for his spiritual development, but ultimately, he is responsible for meeting his own self-actualization needs. In the course of meeting these needs, challenging moments will arise. These can raise power struggles and resistance. One of the best ways to lower resistance is to be aware of your energy. Because you are your child's leader, he responds to your energy, just as you respond to his. You are both energetic beings. The manner in which you and your child interact impacts the balanced integration of mind, body and soul. The next page is devoted to developing and using your parental energy.
The following pages provide you with specific ideas to prepare for a more cooperative relationship that will lead your child to more engagement, accomplishment, and greater sense of well-being.
What ideas on this page were meaningful to you? Read more pages to learn more.