The second provision: enough of their basic needs. Chap 6 (1/1)

Andrew Wake Newsletter, Parenting

Hi to all,

The video attached is not worth watching.  I made it just to be complete so each chapter had a playlist on my website.

Basic needs are vital to be met, and a pre-requisite for a child’s healthy emotional development.  Voltaire said, “Feed men, then ask for virtue”.  If your child is actually missing out in some significant way, then they probably would and should be unsettled.  You and your partner need the confidence that you are meeting the reasonable needs of your child.

Of course every child will at some point state, “It’s not enough!”  This is when your confidence that it is enough is important.  As chapter 2 covers in some detail, it is an important developmental step for your child to miss out enough, and get over the associated disappointment of unmet expectations.  Our solid confidence that they have gotten enough makes this process of acceptance occur more smoothly.

As an example, if you are in love with a person but they don’t feel the same way, you will of course be disappointed.  In this situation, your task is to get over that disappointment.  A solid answer from the other person that it is not going to happen results in some immediate pain, but allows this process to happen relatively quickly reducing the overall suffering.  However, if they don’t give a solid “no” and hold out a “maybe”, or “we’ll see”, then it is difficult to accept the loss and you remain in a bargaining stage of trying to get what you want.  A gentle but firm “no” allows you to give up your attempts to get close to them.

In the same way, your child wants many things from you that are not possible.  Gently but firmly giving them a “no” helps them to confront their disappointment, and then get over it.  Any sense you give that they can get around your “no” will result in them making attempts to achieve this.

So you and your partner (and any other adult with responsibility for your child) need to be clear and confident that your child is getting enough.  That is your problem.  And any disappointment about missing out will then be your business to help your child with, but your child’s problem to get over.

In chapter 6 I have set out some basic ideas around what may be enough when it comes to children’s development.  You and your partner need to come to your own determination of what is enough for your own family.  I have had some parents think my ideas are way to open and liberal, and others state I am too patronising and paternalistic.  The ideas outlined are not “revealed truth from on high” to be religiously followed, but rather they are a place to start to think about what your own standards and values are.

The video can be found here.