All children have certain basic needs. The more of these needs that go unmet, and the greater extent to which they are absent, the more likely the child is to experience trauma as a result.
I provide a list of these basic needs below :
1) BASIC CARE –
This refers to the child’s essential PHYSICAL needs. These include adequate food and drink, adequate living conditions, adequate clothing and the provision of appropriate medical and dental care.
2) SAFETY –
The child should be protected from significant harm and danger, both PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL
3) SOCIAL AND INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION –
The child should be given proper learning opportunities / education to ensure appropriate COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT as well as opportunities to develop SOCIALLY through interaction with others, play, having his/her questions responded to and other appropriate verbal communication
4) STABILITY –
Stability within the family is vital and helps to ensure that the child forms SECURE ATTACHMENTS with the PRIMARY CARE GIVERS; part of ensuring stability is to make sure that the child is treated as CONSISTENTLY as possible (inconsistent discipline, for example, can have a very damaging effect upon the child).
Also, it is very important, wherever possible, that the child remains in contact with those who are of significant importance to the child’s emotional welfare.
5) EMOTIONAL WARMTH –
It is extremely important that the child is very much encouraged to take a positive view of him/herself, to view him/herself as a person of worth and to develop a good level of self–esteem.
In relation to this, the child’s needs require being responded to in a sensitive manner, including the needs for affection, being comforted in times of distress, being praised and being encouraged with his/her personal endeavours
6) BOUNDARIES –
The child needs to be set helpful boundaries which will allow him/her to build up an internal mental model of socially acceptable behaviour, thus helping the child to integrate him/herself successfully into wider society.
MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
The psychologist, Maslow, identified a ‘pyramid of needs’, with the most basic at the bottom of the pyramid and the hardest to achieve at the top. Whilst this hierarchy of needs was devised mainly with adults in mind, I thought it would be useful to include a diagram of these needs below :
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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