As parents, we tend to fret over our children’s feelings. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they are part of our nature. Feelings typically tend to serve the purpose of communicating what we need and what we want. When your children present you with their feelings, it is important to make a distinction between a need and a want. Ask yourself in the moment, “Is this declaration my child is making a need or a want?”
God outlines our basic human needs in the bible for us: food, water, clothing, shelter, safety, security and love. You are meeting your children’s needs and will continue to do so. As the authority and leader in your home you can choose if your children should get what they want. Wants can be defined as preferences, likes and dislikes.
Over time, your children’s feelings about what they want or desire becomes more pronounced. Your role as the parent is to guide them regarding getting their needs met and being grateful and content with or without getting what they want.
Consider your role during your children’s infancy. They were entirely dependent on you to meet all of their needs. You were a capable authority and leader when caring for your infant. Your role does not change as your children mature. You are the still the best person to make decisions for your children regarding needs and wants. The difficulty begins when we lose sight of our role as parents and allow our children’s feelings to dictate our actions.
Children usually throw fits and tantrums because they want what they want, when they want it. They also throw tantrums when they are told “no” regarding what they want. It is fine to say “no” at times and it is ok if your children do not like it. It does not mean you have done anything wrong or hurtful.
If you are reading this article it can be assumed that you meet your children’s needs and that like most parents you struggle with what to do about your children’s wants.
So keep it simple. Let your child communicate their feelings to you when appropriate and you decide if it is a want or a need. Meet the needs and choose which wants you are willing to grant.