Human Emotional Needs
Here are some of the basic human emotional needs expressed as feelings. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep. One person may need more freedom and independence; another may need more security and social connections. One may have a greater curiosity and a greater need for understanding, while another is content to accept whatever is told to him.
One of the major problems I have observed in schools is the treatment of all children as if their emotional and psychological needs were identical. The result is many children's needs are unsatisfied. They then become frustrated, as any of us do when our needs are unmet. They act out their frustration in various ways which are typically seen as "misbehavior." This is especially evident when children are expected to all do the same thing for the same length of time. The better we identify their unique needs and satisfy them, the few behavioral problems.
In various degrees, each according to his (or her) own unique nature, we each need to feel:
clear (not confused)
grown or growing
We believe that it is natural for us to seek attention. This is especially true when we are in need. For example, if you were drowning, would you want attention? If your house were on fire, would you want attention?
We also believe it is natural for us to want attention when we believe we have something important to say, for instance if we wanted to warn someone of an impending danger. If you knew that a building were on fire with people inside, would you want others' attention even if you yourself were not in danger?
We had heard parents say "Ignore him. He just wants attention." To me this is similar to saying, "Don't feed him. He is just hungry."