Friday, April 23, 2010

A Child's True Needs by Alice Miller

Excerpt taken from The Drama of Being a Child: The Search for the True Self ~ Alice Miller.

1. The child has a primary need from the very beginning of her life to be regarded and respected as the person she really is at any given time.

2. When we speak here of 'the person she really is at any given time,' we mean emotions, sensations, and their expression from the first day onward.

3. In an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for her feelings, the child, in the phase of separation, will be able to give up symbiosis with the mother and accomplish the steps toward individuation and autonomy.

4. If they are to furnish these prerequisites for the healthy development of their child, the parents themselves ought to have grown up in such an atmosphere. If they did, they will be able to assure the child the protection and well-being she needs to develop trust.

5. Parents who did not experience this climate as children are themselves deprived; throughout their lives they will continue to look for what their own parents could not give them at the appropriate time - the presence of a person who is completely aware of them and takes them seriously.

6. This search, of course, can never fully succeed, since it relates to a situation that belongs irrevocably to the past, namely to the time right after birth and during early childhood.

7. A person with this unsatisfied and unconscious (because repressed) need will nevertheless be compelled to attempt its gratification through substitute means, as long as she ignores her repressed life history.

8. The most efficacious objects for substitute gratification are a parent's own children. The newborn baby or small child is completely dependent on his parents, and since their caring is essential for his existence, he does all he can to avoid losing them. From the very first day onward, he will muster all his resources to this end, like a small plant that turns toward the sun in order to survive.


shasha said...

it is always rational that we go back to the basics; as a child's every need mirrors that of us as adults.nice post!

Noreen Barron said...

Thanks for your comment Shasha, that's so true.