Human Emotional Needs

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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 in 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 many 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 human emotional needs and satisfy them, the fewer behavioral problems.

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Human Emotional Needs:

In various degrees, each according to his (or her) own unique nature, we each need to feel:

accepted
accepting 
accomplished 
acknowledged 
admired 
alive 
amused
appreciated
appreciative 
approved of 
attention
capable 
challenged 
clear (not confused) 
competent 
confident 
developed
educated
empowered 
focused
forgiven
forgiving
free 
fulfilled
grown or growing
happy 
heard
helped
helpful
important 
in control
included 
independent 
interested 
knowledgeable
listened to 
loved 
needed 
noticed 
open
optimistic 
powerful 
privacy 
productive 
protected
proud 
reassured 
recognized 
relaxed 
respected 
safe 
satisfied 
secure 
significant 
successful
supported 
treated fairly 
understanding
understood 
useful 
valued 
worthy

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? you need more to know about human emotional needs.

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 impending danger. If you knew that a building was 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.”

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