Home Health Prioritizing Needs Of Needs Within The Family: 5 Expert Tips

Prioritizing Needs Of Needs Within The Family: 5 Expert Tips

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Sometimes when we want to say “no,” but feel guilty about it and therefore say “yes,” we act in ways that do more harm than giving a clean and simple “not right now” would. 

For example, we might say “yes” to them (and therefore “no” to ourselves) so many times that we find ourselves feeling depleted and yelling and snapping at the end of the day (which is sometimes the only option for parents who live in a society that doesn’t offer them the privilege of free or affordable childcare support). Or we’ll sneak out when the babysitter arrives, because we don’t want to have to face our children’s negative emotions about us leaving. Another common response is we’ll say something like “after all I’ve done for you!”, which indicates that we met their needs in order to not have to feel the lack of our own needs being met in our lives.

Giving from a site of depletion, hoping someone recognizes and gives back to you, can have a backlash effect–over time, making our children feel responsible for meeting our needs, because we aren’t taking responsibility for meeting our own. 

Track resentment

Resentment is an emotion that is actually a function of envy. You might not be mad because your kids have so many needs, you might actually be envious that they are so comfortable with owning their needs. 

In these moments, it might be helpful to ask yourself: what do I need that I feel fear/judgment about asking for? Who can I sit with to help me work through the barriers to getting my own needs met? 

Quality over quantity 

It’s not the amount of “yeses”, it’s how those yeses feel to you and your kid. Research shows that for young children, just 5-10 minutes daily of child-directed play can strengthen the bond between parent and child. 

It might be helpful to refocus on the quality of the experiences, versus the quantity of them (every waking moment!). What really matters to you and to your kid? How do you make space for ways of delighting in one another in the relationship?

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