A graduate of Michael Grinder’s UK’s Group Mastery program, Helen Oakwater, an adoptive parent, NLP Coach and Trainer, adopted a pre-school sibling group in the early 1990s and has first-hand knowledge of living with ‘the child who hurts’.
Her knowledge and perspectives are borne from her own personal journey, membership of adoption panels, books, numerous training courses and other adopters. Here she looks at the needs of both parents and our children and why knowing our values can help us to a better understanding of ourselves.
What do you need right now…
A cuppa, a hug, acknowledgement, dignity, a toilet, self-respect, grounding, fulfillment, warm socks, protection, importance or…? We all have needs which we strive to meet, sometimes consciously; popping to the bathroom is a conscious act.
Sometimes the need is satisfied outside of our conscious awareness. Maybe you prefer to sit with your back to the wall in a restaurant, because, at an unconscious level, it feels safer.
We adopted our children to fulfill our own personal needs. Even though our individual motivations may have varied, we all felt something was missing from our lives.
A need was not met and we strove to attain it.
What do all humans need? You, me, our children – everyone is driven to fulfill unmet human need. It’s what motivates us and drives our behaviour, every second of the day, every day of the week.
By understanding our own needs and those of our children we gain another perspective on the extraordinary task of parenting traumatised children. This article includes two theoretical models to help make sense of our feelings and the often apparently nonsensical behaviour of our children. Remember, children’s behaviour is their vocabulary – as adults we must learn to understand and interpret it.