Of course, it is natural to prioritize the needs of your children and yet over time I learned to see that “all” needs in the family are important and that included mine. I was trained as a child to value self-reliance and independence, leading to repressing my neediness. That didn’t mean my needs miraculously disappeared. They were just below the surface and when I experienced my daughter’s neediness the reflection I saw was not a pretty one. I was actually repulsed at times by her neediness. Listening to her whine or complain I cringed and wanted nothing more than to STOP it. This was what I learned to do internally to my own needs so covertly I was meeting my daughter’s needs by over giving in hopes that she would stop her needy behavior.
What this created was a feeling that my needs didn’t matter when I asked her to do a simple task and she refused. It was a painful moment and even today it still rises up when I’m not willing to acknowledge my needs.
I found it essential to acknowledge that I had emotional needs and that it was perfectly valid to express them even though scary. Instead of convincing myself I was teaching her responsibility, by demanding she do chores, I realized when she refused to do the task my need to feel important reared up and I was enraged with her for not meeting that need. Well, you can probably imagine how she braced herself from my needy energy by refusing to meet it. By understanding and attending to my need to feel like I matter, without seeing everything that my daughter “didn’t do” as an indicator that I actually didn’t matter I chose to start meeting my own need which created a healthier dynamic with my girl. This began with recognizing that most of my requests to my daughter were rooted in my own neediness.
CLUE: If you find yourself asking your children to perform tasks or chores with an emotional undertone, it may indicate that you are seeking validation or support rather than focusing solely on the practical aspect. The way to recognize this is ask yourself: if they weren’t here would I handle this situation by myself? If so, you may be asking them to meet your emotional need by doing the task instead of teaching a practical skill set that they may have LOTS of big feelings about learning.
Taking the time to explore and honor your needs is a powerful step towards self-awareness and personal growth. By doing so, you can approach your children from a place of authenticity and create a more balanced dynamic. It is essential to communicate your needs openly and honestly, fostering an environment of understanding and mutual respect.
Recognizing your own needs also allows you to model self-regulation and self-care to your children. By demonstrating healthy boundaries and self-awareness, you empower your children to develop their own sense of self-regulation and responsibility.
This week take time to embrace your needs, communicate them openly, and embark on your journey with a renewed sense of self-awareness and authenticity.