I have heard several variations on the topic of our kids greatest emotional needs.  As I have read, pondered and also experienced the needs of my own kids, I have come to the conclusion that all of their basic emotional needs can be summed up in two primary needs:

  • To be fully known
  • To be fully loved

To be fully known – Going back to the Garden, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed”.  God knew them completely and they knew one another completely before sin entered the picture.  Once they chose to disobey God, immediately they recognized that they were naked and began hiding and feeling the need to cover up.  They no longer fully trusted God or one another.  They felt the need to hide who they really were.  God designed us to be fully known; by Him and by those closest to us.  Sin has led us to feel ashamed and to put on masks to cover up who we really are.  Fully knowing our kids means that we not only know them intimately, we understand them in a way that the rest of the world doesn’t.  They develop a sense of confidence and self-assurance that God has created them divinely and uniquely as individuals with gifts to be used in His service fulfilling roles that only they can accomplish.

To be fully loved – Only God is capable of loving fully and unconditionally.  As parents, we are charged with loving our children no matter what they do or what has happened to them.  This type of unconditional love requires one to let go of selfishness and control over our kids.  Our kids have free will just as Adam and Eve had free will and chose to disobey God.  God never withdrew His love for them; in fact, His love would have to be demonstrated even more as a result of their disobedience in offering His son, Jesus Christ, as an atonement for their sin and our’s.

These two needs are essential for all of us and were instilled in us by God.  We were created by God for this very purpose; to be in relationship with Him, fully known by Him and fully loved by Him.  Fully knowing our kids means getting inside their world and understanding who they are in a way that no one else does.  Fully loving them means loving them with the kind of love that God loves us with; unconditional and eternal love.