Needs are a foundational part of Yes Parenting. In fact, the first Yes of Yes Parenting is to your own needs, starting with a practice of self-care.
As humans, we have five basic needs:
- Nourishing food
- Plenty of water
- Movement (preferably outside)
- Rest or sleep
When any one of these 5 needs are not met, we will begin to feel uncomfortable emotions that may lead to unwanted behaviours. This is true for us and our children.
One of my favorite tools for checking in on the needs scale is HALT. Halt is effective in 2 ways :
- The word HALT, in itself, reminds us to stop. If you’re feeling your own anger begin to bubble below the surface or if your child is coming at you with anger (or any other big emotional situation), HALT. Stop. Take a breath.
- HALT is also an acronym. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. After we’ve paused to catch our breath, it’s time to come back to those 5 basic needs I mentioned earlier. It’s time to look beyond the big emotions and figure out which needs aren’t being met. If we’re hungry, we need to eat. If we’re angry, maybe we simply need to move our bodies. If we’re lonely, we need connection and if we’re tired we need rest or sleep.
HALT is one of my favorite tools to simply catch my breath, allowing me to step into an observing role and to play detective. I encourage you to let HALT support you in the same way. Figure out which needs aren’t currently being met (either in you or in your child) and adjust the situation. You might be amazed at how quickly you can turn a toddler tantrum (or your own) around simply by addressing the underlying needs.
I also want to invite you to trust. Trust the process of childhood. Trust the journey of parenting that you are on. Trust that you and your children’s needs, no matter how they are presenting, are true and valid, instead of simply brushing them to the side. The more we trust in their authenticity and say Yes to our needs, the more that we will flow into peace, joy and connection.
Parenting in a mindful, intentional and conscious way brings with it unique challenges. The choice to find a new way to raise your kids can also mean you end up feeling alone with few people to talk to. If you identify with this loneliness, while those around you continue to pursue an authoritarian approach, I’d love to support you on your Yes Parenting Journey.