Do you know your 5 critical emotional needs?

Parents and Caregivers Join to Meet the 5 Critical Needs of Children
from Paige Beatty

In a time of increasing attention to standards and a focus on knowledge and cognitive skills, we continue to hear about a crises of bullying, social isolation, and children unprepared for school in many ways. Last year I attended a panel discussion of kindergarten teachers talking about the skills they wish children had when they entered their classes. These teachers, from a variety of schools and backgrounds, agreed unanimously that the social emotional skills made the biggest difference in school success.

Brittany Quote 2jpgThose of us in early childhood recognize the importance of social emotional development and emotional health. We understand that all learning happens through relationships. So how can we make certain that we are meeting the emotional needs of the children in our care? How can we help families do the same?

In the book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Needs of Children…And Parents Too! Gerald Newmark offers insight and tools for just that. The book, although geared towards parents, is applicable to anyone who spends time with children.

Dr. Newmark recognizes that many parents have spent large amounts of time being educated and trained on a variety of topics – but seldom on raising children. Parenting, while based in love and enthusiasm, may at times be hit-or-miss. Dr. Newmark states that childrearing is too important to leave to chance. He encourages parents to be thoughtful about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Dr. Newmark advocates for being a professional at parenting – use a set of core values to make conscious decisions about behavior; act in a way that is knowledgeable and systematic; study and change your own behavior (the only thing you actually have control over) when a situation is not what you’d like; and have an experimental attitude.

Every interaction with another person represents an opportunity to connect or disconnect. Connections build positive relationships, which are the foundation for all types of learning and growth, but particularly for social emotional development. Irrespective of the situation or type of interaction, we can work on building connections by focusing on meeting what Dr. Newmark calls the 5 critical needs.

The 5 Critical Emotional Needs are the need to feel:

Respected – I am treated in a courteous, thoughtful, attentive, and civil manner as an individual, deserving of the same courtesy and consideration of others.

Important – I have value, I am useful, I have power, I am somebody.

Accepted – I am an individual in my own right. I have a right to my own feelings, opinions, ideas, concerns, wants, and needs.

Included – I belong, am a part of things, connected to other people, with a sense of community.

Secure – I am safe and protected. I’m in a positive environment where people care about one another and show it, people express themselves and others listen, differences are accepted and conflicts resolved constructively. There are structures, limits, and consequences.

With these needs met, children – and adults! – are more likely to: respect themselves and others, believe in themselves and others, have a positive attitude towards life and others, develop and use self-discipline, and develop healthy relationships.

Taking Action

At our Center, we took a dual approach to using this book – distributing it to parents for their edification and use at home with their children, and distributing it to staff not only for use in their work with young children, but also in their daily work with one another.

Reproduced from The Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education (VAECE)
Viewpoint Newsletter

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available in paperback and ebook in both English and Spanish.

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Someday is Not a Day of the Week: Overcoming Obstacles and Taking Control

The obstacles that we commonly experience in parenting are feeling overwhelmed, lack of planning, resistance to planning, over-seriousness and unrealistic expectations.  There always will be conflicts between the things that you need to get done for your family, your career, and your own personal nurturing. You will never be able to do everything. Time is limited and tasks to be performed are unlimited, but you can only do what you can do. Having a framework for making conscious decisions about trade-offs, compromises and adjustments will ease the task, but it won’t be easy. It will require discipline, practice, and perseverance, but it is worth the effort.

Dirty Messy_RoomTaking Control of Your Life
So what’s a parent to do? How do you get everything done in the limited time available? The answer is to take control of your life. Recognize that some of the pressures you feel are self-imposed and unnecessary. Begin by recognizing these and getting rid of them. Remind yourself that no matter how much you have to do or how limited your resources are, there are always choices to be made and by making them, stress can be reduced. In addition, you must be ready to let go of being overwhelmed.  Becoming a professional at parenting means becoming a more conscious parent. It means recognizing that if you feel overwhelmed, it’s an indication that you are doing too much and/or behaving inefficiently. The following are suggestions to help you move toward taking better control of your life.

Prepare Preliminary To-Do List
If there’s too much on it, determine what’s essential and place non-essential items on a “future” list

Prioritize and Schedule
Prepare a 30-day calendar allocating specific days and time blocks for the essential activities

Create Additional Time
Extend the workday – not recommended but an option, if no other works
Create more time by simplifying and reducing wasted or inefficient use of time, such as:

  • Too many trips for errands which could be combined
  • Procrastination
  • Unnecessary phone calls and/or long phone calls
  • Not preparing things for the next day
  • Agreeing to do something which you really didn’t want or need to do
  • Not concentrating on one thing at a time, and accumulating a backlog of unfinished tasks
  • Not setting priorities
  • Allowing too many distractions, such as turning on the TV for a short break which then becomes a long one.

Do some things less thoroughly or less frequently, such as housecleaning, grocery shopping, etc.

Delegate – get help from your spouse, children and extended family
Barter – exchange help with someone (e.g., look after a neighbor’s children along with your own and have them do the same for you).
Pay for help – if necessary, sacrificing something material for household or childcare
Networking – create or join a support group for sharing activities or providing other support
Reduce unnecessary worry – just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s probable

Reduce negative effects of false emergencies, interruptions, and distractions

On-going Planning and Revision
Given the possibilities described above to parent smarter rather than harder, you are in a position to (a) prepare a plan that is more realistic, less stressful, and more productive, and (b) to evaluate results and make adjustments along the way. Evaluation of the schedule involves looking at what was actually done in relation to what was originally planned, and deciding what, if anything, could have been done better. The longer you stay with the process, the more skilled you become and the easier it gets.

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available in paperback and ebook in both English and Spanish.

***Visit us at The Children’s Project, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***

Satisfying a child’s five critical emotional needs will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

Are YOU a Professional At Parenting?

Becoming professional means becoming a conscious ­parent—that is, possessing a set of core values and applying them to parenting in a systematic and consistent way. The following discussion involves four essential elements of professionalism taken from Dr. Gerald Newmark’s best-selling book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children…Meeting the Five Needs of Children and Parents Too!

Image1) Making Conscious Decisions

When parents possess a clear set of core values, they are less likely to work at cross-purposes or to misunderstand each other’s actions or motives. It gives focus to their par­enting activities and increases the probability that they will act more effectively.  The initial step in making the five critical needs of children an effective part of family life is to solidify this intent with the following conscious decisions:

Adopting the Five Critical Needs

I will adopt the five critical needs as core values to guide my behavior as follows:

1. By treating my children with as much respect as I would want to receive and give.

2. By treating my children in ways that enhance their feeling of being important.

3. By accepting my children as unique, independent indi­viduals entitled to their own ideas, feelings, thoughts, and opinions.

4. By helping my children feel a sense of community—creating family activities in which they are involved and viewing our family as a “Learning Community.”

5. By increasing my children’s feeling of security through role-modeling a loving, respectful relationship with my spouse or, if a single parent, with the significant others in my life.

2) Having a Game Plan

Changing habits or starting new habits is not easy. Many good intentions break down because they never get converted to action.  The idea is to make a commitment and get started immediately, even if only in a small way. As you gradually start doing things in a more systematic way, it will become easier and you will want to do more.

3) Becoming a Student of Your Own Behavior

Asking one another for feedback is rare among family members, nor does it occur to parents to have regular family feedback sessions to talk about what’s happening in their lives and how to make them better. Cultivate a positive attitude (all feedback is useful).  View criticism as an act of friendship and concern, not hostility.  If you agree with it, use it to take positive ­action.  If you disagree, take the opportunity to clarify and clear the air.  Engaging in the feedback activities has the potential for being one of the most interesting and valuable experiences of family life.  In a future article we’ll provide a tool for studying your own behavior.

 4) Having an Experimental Attitude

Accepting life as one big experiment, the family becomes a fertile and special laboratory to conduct your very own re­search on how to create an emotionally healthy environment in which the individuals are both the experimenters and the subjects.  As you look at your own behavior and identify something you did well, you might then choose to try different ways to expand on this or, for something you didn’t do well, ways to improve. Starting family meetings early in the process is important. This is where you emphasize the concept of the family as a community and what that means in terms of responsibilities to one another and for one’s own well-being.

In this article, we stressed the importance of becoming a conscious, thoughtful parent, of not leaving parenting to chance. The goal of developing emotionally healthy children involves making your child’s emotional needs a priority, ap­plying the four elements of professionalism as a strategy, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle by not neglecting your own personal needs. 

Satisfying a child’s five critical emotional needs will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is available in paperback and ebook in both English and Spanish.

***Visit us at The Children’s Project, LIKE us on Facebook, or follow us on on Twitter!***

REMINDER: Get “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children” FREE (Ends TUES midnight!)

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children Click image to go to Amazon and Download!

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How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children is a best-selling parenting book by Gerald Newmark, PhD, shows parents and teachers how to nourish emotional health at home and at school.



You do not need a kindle device to read the book. A Kindle Reader can be downloaded to any PC, Mac, or smart phone for FREE.

To read more about how to view the book on your device, go to Amazon’s website.

“I predict that this book will be the
highly accepted Dr. Spock manual for properly
raising emotionally healthy children in the 21st Century.”
— Lewis Yablonsky, Ph.D