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Parenting 101 – The Book Every Parent Needs

Written by: Julia Alisha Andre, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Dr. Julia A. Andre

I guess every parent's goal is to raise a happy and well-adjusted human being. However, I am sure that I am not the only one who has wondered what my child really needs, especially when they are starting to grow into their own independent person.

image of mom and kid reading

Let's first define the difference between needs and wants. Needs and wants are distinct concepts that help distinguish between essential and non-essential desires or requirements in human life. At the same time, wants are desires or preferences beyond basic needs, often shaped by personal, cultural, or societal influences. Needs have the following three characteristics:

  1. Needs are the basic necessities and essential requirements for human survival and well-being.

  2. They are often universal and consistent across all individuals and societies.

  3. Needs are fundamental and non-negotiable. Failure to fulfil these needs can result in physical or psychological harm.

So what are those five basic emotional needs that a child can have that we, as parents, can fulfil?

One of children's most important needs is to feel loved and belong. This need is met when parents and caregivers give them affection, attention, and positive feedback. Children who feel loved and accepted are likelier to develop healthy relationships and a positive self-image. For instance, on the first day of school, you can encourage your child with sentences like, "Emily, you are smart and kind. You will make many friends at school, and your teacher will be lucky to have you in the class," or "Always remember that we love you just the way you are. You're our special girl, and we're always here for you." You can pair your reassuring statements with hugs and active listening to make it more effective.

Children's needs for fun and relaxation are fulfilled when they have enough play time in their daily lives to explore and satisfy their curiosity. Children develop social, physical, and cognitive skills such as resilience, emotional control, and building friendships through adequate stimulation. Finding a balance between understimulation and overstimulation is the key to fulfilling this need. To achieve this balance, a well-rounded daily routine for a child could include structured playtime with educational toys such as puzzles or interactive games, unstructured outdoor play for self-expression and imagination, and downtime for activities such as reading storybooks, drawing, or daydreaming to develop emotional control and recharge.

It is crucial for children to feel valued and respected by their parents, caregivers, and peers to develop a positive self-image and healthy self-esteem. This can be achieved by giving them positive feedback, praise, and recognition for their achievements. Children with a positive self-image are more likely to have confidence in their abilities. For instance, if your child shows you their painting excitedly, show genuine interest in their artwork by smiling, praising their creativity and asking them to explain the inspiration behind the painting.

Children need to feel that they have some control over their environment to develop a sense of independence. This need can be met by giving children age-appropriate responsibilities and allowing them to make choices. Children with a sense of autonomy and control are more likely to develop a sense of responsibility and independence. For instance, you can present your child with a few outfit options every morning and let them choose what to wear for the day. You can also assign small daily tasks like setting the table or putting away toys after playing.

A healthy amount of guidance is needed to provide an effective structure to manage their emotions. This need for guidance is fulfilled when children receive direction, rules, and limit-setting from the parents and caregivers around them. For example, when your child is upset after a disagreement with a friend, you can help them make sense of their feelings, engage in open communication, and help them articulate and feel emotions. Sometimes, it is also necessary to establish household rules for expressing emotion and emphasise positive communication instead of screaming and shouting. Another way to describe this guide is by offering your child coping modes, such as deep breathing, to take control of emotions.

ALL needs must be met in a balance. Too much or too little of any need is not healthy. Sometimes, we can overcompensate one need because another is missing, but this is not helpful.

As a clinical psychologist, seeing clients with unmet emotional childhood needs struggle still in adulthood highlights the importance of raising more awareness of basic emotional needs. We don't always need the big present or a helicopter parent who is constantly available, but we all need a good portion of each core emotional childhood need met.

photo of book

Therefore, I am delighted to share Alex's story in the form of a read-aloud picture book targeting children between 6 and 9 years. "Emotional Needs: Develop Resilience and Learn Emotion Regulation Skills with Alex" is written in an accessible, empathetic, and informative style, making it an indispensable resource for new and experienced parents.

The book takes young readers on a fun and informative journey with Alex. As they read, they will encounter challenges that reflect real-life situations, making the learning experience enjoyable and relatable. Authored by experienced psychologists, it empowers parents with the knowledge and tools to raise happy, healthy, and resilient children while nurturing their personal growth and well-being.

Are you ready to follow Alex? Alex has needs, just like you.

Grab a copy on Amazon and leave a heartfelt review. If you want to check additional materials to the book and stay up to date for upcoming parenting training, please follow Alex on IG and LinkedIn and visit Alex's website.

If you want to learn more about trauma, follow me on FB, LinkedIn and visit my website.

Dr. Julia A. Andre Brainz Magazine

Dr. Julia A. Andre, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Julia Andre is a pioneer in transforming the traditional weekly trauma psychotherapy model into a highly successful intensive format in Asia, the so-called EMDR Intensives. As a result, healing in days becomes a real possibility, and clients can feel relief much faster than possibly being in therapy for months or years. The economic value and compelling scientific evidence promise a fundamental shift in trauma treatment. She has since dedicated her life to helping others heal their trauma wounds and educating fellow professionals in Asia about the Intensive treatment format—her mission: Healing is possible!



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