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The Needs of Children


Explanations > Needs > The Needs of Children

Basic needs | Developmental needs  |  So what?


Children are humans and have human needs. They also have additional needs unique to their particular situation. It is a profound responsibility of parents and carers to provide for these needs.

Basic needs

Food and shelter

Children cannot acquire their own food or sustain any reasonable shelter. The initial responsibility of their parents or carers is this to provide a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.

Physical safety

Children cannot protect themselves from aggressive adults (and other, stronger, children). They thus need others to provide physical safety, keeping them from harm and defending them when they are threatened or attacked.

Emotional security

As their minds are developing, there is much that children do not understand and even the most innocent situations can be deeply distressing.

Developmental needs

Beyond the basic needs, in order to become functioning members of society, children need support in developing and learning important and useful skills.

Social skills

Children develop into people who must live and work with others. For this they need to learn the rules of society. They need to be able to communicate their ideas and desires. They need to persuade and change minds.

Career abilities

To become functioning adults, children need to learn all kinds of things, both at school and outside -- many abilities that are useful in developing careers are not taught at school.

This can be very much an exploratory activity as children discover their talents and the things that motivate them (unsurprisingly, these often overlap).

Internal skills

Children also need to learn to be happy in themselves and to cope with the difficulties and traumas of life. They thus need to learn self-confidence and emotional maturity.

So what?

If you have or work with children, recognize both the needs that are common to all people and also the interpretation of those needs as well as special other needs.

See also


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