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  • Writer's pictureDeclan Fitzpatrick

Child Centric Parenting.

Being a parent is tough. It´s the most important job you´ll do in your life and how you do it will have consequences that can echo down the coming generations. Parenting has undergone some very positive changes over recent decades. There´s a lot more attention paid to children´s physical, educational and health needs. For a child to be happy and healthy these needs must be met and attended to by the parents.

As a therapist with almost twenty years’ experience, I can say that almost without exception the client´s presenting to me are doing so as a result of unmet childhood emotional needs. Whether the presenting problem is expressed as depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship issues or something else, it´s  not long before the root cause, unmet childhood emotional needs, becomes obvious.

What´s also almost always the case is that very often the client will begin by telling me that their childhood was ´fine´ or ´normal´. They might even add that although it wasn´t perfect it wasn´t so bad and didn´t do them any harm. I´ve learned to understand this as a natural, very human defence against facing some hard truths. There seems to be an instinctive desire to defend the parents and the family system. Even when there is a tacit acknowledgement that perhaps the parenting received wasn´t so good there is an attempt to minimise and explain away the impact.

When I talk about unmet childhood needs I´m not talking about instances of obvious abuse or neglect. I´m talking about the natural and inert needs for emotional nurturance that every child has.

All children have five basic emotional needs. These are;

·       Secure attachment to others.

·       Freedom to express needs and feelings.

·       Autonomy. Competence and a sense of identity.

·       Spontaneity and Play.

·       Realistic limits and self-control.

If these natural and legitimate needs are not met satisfactorily it will lead to emotional problems in childhood and later in adult life.

Child Centric Parenting.

Child centric parenting is a way of parenting that seeks to put the child´s emotional needs at the centre of all interactions between parent and child. It takes a real commitment on the part of the parents and requires parents to have a good degree of emotional intelligence and maturity themselves. Parents take responsibility for the child´s emotional development in the same way they do for the child´s physical development. This means that the parents must fully understand what these needs are and how best to meet them.

Almost all parents want their children to grow up to be independent, confident, socially well-adjusted, young adults. If we want this to be the outcome, the result of how we parent our children, we need to take the necessary steps to help get us there.

 

For further information on Child Centric Parenting please feel free to contact me on email at counselling@declanfitzpatrick.com



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