Meeting Your Child’s Core need of Security

Author – Cindy Fegles, LMFT, CADC

A few months back, I had the opportunity to teach a parenting class. In many ways, parents, children and adolescents are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, which was an unprecedented time of being quarantined with our families. There are many unknowns in our world and children can often feel insecure but don’t always know how to express their feelings to be reassured. Here are a few tips I discussed at the event in hopes it can help you as well.

Each of us are born with the core needs of security (who can I trust?), belonging (who wants me?) and identity (who am I?). As parents of children and adolescents, there are many ways to meet these needs; to develop trust with your child and create a home that is a safe haven for their emotional needs. Here are just a few for helping your child feel secure.

1. Listen to learn instead of listening only to correct or fix a problem.

2. Manage your own emotions. Children learn best when their parent can model the desired behavior they want in responses to triggers of stress and anxiety.

3. Validate your child’s emotions. This helps them learn how to communicate what they are feeling so that they can be taught how to express their feelings in a healthy way. It’s also important to remember, that just because something does not bother you the parent, that doesn’t mean that it won’t bother your child.

4. Give them your full attention when they want to talk or when you need to talk to them. With such easy access to all thing’s technology, it can be easy to give our children partial attention at best and no attention at worst, which can communicate to them that they are not as important as that email…text…. video…etc. As an added bonus, modeling healthy tech use for your children can be instrumental in helping them to develop healthy ways to navigate tech as well.