Beginning to Meet the Emotional Needs of our Young People: General-Expert Considerations

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Many parents are health conscious! Still, we encounter familial concerns that lead to diagnostics, therapy and/or advisement for medication for family members. In this article I'd like to address what I consider more comprehensive health considerations.

Consider: prescription drugs are pricey and create a commitment for families. Sometimes this commitment is unreasonable in more way than one. All of us want to address concerns, and many turn to ‘green’ resources to provide wellness. As a result, this means educated, diligent and resourceful considerations.

As a Counselor Educator, I would like to suggest some of the following perspective-taking, whether choosing a green lifestyle or going the medicine route.

I believe I state the obvious when I say, to be healthy we all need: nutrition, exercise, sleep, support systems*, and caring family relations (Breggin & Earley Goodman, 2001).

*Our support systems need to include, communities that involve us with wisdom and understanding. These concepts (wisdom and understanding) may mean being in spiritual communities, beneficial hobbies, recreational skills. All of this builds resourcefulness.

Our tall order: Everyone needs to effectively build a career, a hobby and a home. An Adlerian (Adler, 1979), Individual Psychology trained individual would know that!

Sir Richard Bowlby, the United Kingdom's emotive guru (2007) purports that

young children need:

Their native language: PLAY

Emotional attachment: CARE

Take healthy risks: ADVENTURE

Children’s experiences become the repertoire that they draw upon to self-define. That defining permeates their character.

I believe, young people want for purpose, power, privileges in life (Petro, n.d.). They go about getting by either behaving or misbehaving (Dinkmeyer et al., 2008). Dr. Alfred Adler purported that ALL behavior, good and bad is purposeful.

As parents, we wonder how to steer our children on their path toward success with positive behavior and outcomes that make that evident. We try to aim them toward careers, hobbies and homes. We build important lessons, values and relationships into their lives.

Parents, students and teachers need to agree at some level about misbehavior and it's many forms:

Revenge Power Attention

or they may Display inadequacy.

It is my personal contention that not only are people prone to one form of misbehavior. But, that when we “misbehave” in some way, it is not necessarily a misbehavior that needs punishing. After all, discipline is more than punishment. Maybe the child has a problem we need to take responsibility for, as she/he has a need for resolve.

Still, their misbehavior needs to be cared for and calmed. They’ll need to contend with their temperament while they grow. Most people want us to act with positive behavior. Fortunately, according to Dreikur's (Dinkmeyer et al. 2007) all purposes of misbehavior have a positive behavior as its counterpart. It’s flip side:

Fairness is revenge’s flip,

Independence is power’s flip,

Involvement is attention’s flip,

Encouragement is displaying inadequacy’s flip.

Young people and adults alike struggle with automatic processing and defense mechanisms. Albeit, adults are expected to be more refined. Reactions we have, generally, are:

Flight, Fight, or Freeze

(Bowlby, 2007)

Freeze is infrequently mentioned, yet a third cord of fight vs. flight.

We contend with neurobiological impulses. There are many way to control our impulses. Still, our emotions respond to being cared for, satisfied, or given credit. If they are not satisfied, cared for or given credit, it is more likely a child may:

Fly causing risk Fight causing harm

or Freeze causing detriment.

Much like Alfred Adler, Sir Richard Bowlby’s concepts have a flip-side, namely:

Adventure is flight’s flip

Intimacy if fight’s flip

Care is freeze’s flip

We want to walk into, talk about, and deal with what brings to pass success for our children. Laden with behaviors and emotions, we all need dialog and discipline. We want resources to be adventurous, time to be intimate and connections to be caring.

To want for them with the above considerations may develop their careers, hobbies and homes (solving the riddles that may have otherwise been "solved' by others).

This is to encourage parents to dig in, to dialog, to discipline. There is so much to know, to grow with as your children ask or depend on you for your wisdom and understanding.


Adler, A. (1979) Superiority and Social Interest. Penguin Books, Markham, Ontario.

Bowlby, R. (2007, April). Love and Fear in Disrupted Attachments presented at The Centre for Child Mental Health Conference, London, England.

Breggin, G. & Earley Goodman, B. (2001). Group Counseling for School Counselors: A Practical Guide. J. Weston Publisher.

D. Dinkmeyer, G. McKay, D. Dinkmeyer, (2008) Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. STEP Publishing, USA.

Sunderland, M. (2016). The Science of Parenting. DK Publishing, NY, NY.

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