Needs and Desires (Part 1)

by Scott Noelle

Parents commonly say things like, “You need to put your toys away and get ready for bed.”

Such statements put kids in a double bind if they don’t feel the need to comply. Who should they believe, their parents or their own feelings? It’s a loss either way.

“You NEED to” is really a euphemism for “you HAVE to.” It’s a way of cloaking coercion.

If you don’t intend to give your child a real choice, be honest and state your command as a command: “Put your toys away and get ready for bed.” If that feels rude, maybe your feelings are trying to tell you that you need a new approach. :)

Realizing that it’s about your needs is a step in the right direction, but don’t stop there... A shift in focus from needs to desires is the key that will unlock your creativity.

Originally published on 2006-09-05
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