Monday, November 29, 2010

Child development and RAD

Above you see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. It shows the order in which our needs are developed and build upon one another.  First our physical needs: food, clothing, shelter.. must be met before we can go on to the next level.

After our physical needs are met, we need to feel safe. Can we think about anything else if our lives are in danger or we are afraid? If you are stuck on the railroad tracks in your car with an oncoming train, will you sit there and read a book? Of course not, and so many of our children live with this sense of fear 27 and we want them to do "normal" activities like the other kids. Many of our children are stuck right here on this level.

Next are social needs, a need to belong, feel a part of a family, a group.  Remember, first the physical needs and need to feel safe must be met before a child can feel like they belong. We get frustrated they don't believe us. We try to prove our love over and over....maybe we need to back up and help them to feel safe first.

The next level is esteem needs. Our kids have felt rejected often not by one family but by several.  They feel it is their fault they are moved. They have an overwhelming sense of shame due to past neglect, abuse and moves. They want to love this new family but do not feel safe and can't. "What is wrong with me?" is often their inner cry which comes out "There is nothing wrong with me." I don't know how many times I have heard my boys say this. I assure them there is nothing wrong with them. They have healing hearts.  They have been told by people they are "foster kids", they were a mistake, they are trouble. I assure them they were planned by God. He has a plan for them and values them far above rubies.

The top level is self actualization. Wikipedia (who knows all things) defines this as "motive to realize one's full potential". I'm not sure any of us can actually say we do this, but many of us have it as a goal.  Our children have difficulty here, mainly because they are stuck on lower levels.  Their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological development are stuck.

I don't know if this gives anyone a clearer understanding of how our kids get stuck but I like the visual for myself.

Have a healing day!


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Integrity Singer said...

i refer to maslow often in my own self process. it is startling how easily you can figure out where you are lacking when you look at the diagram. Getting all anxious with the spouse? Ah, yes, there it is on the pyramid. I'm feeling unsafe.

Erika said...

I like using Ericson's developmental sequences - once I can figure out what developmental task they are stuck on, I can think about how to help a child at that approximate social/emotional developmental age. My oldest seem to struggle with issues of autonomy v. shame and doubt. When opportunities come up to praise for autonomy and to redirect/reframe feelings of shame, I try to approach the issue as though I am talking to the 3 year old inside.

Brenda said...

Erika~So interesting you should say that. I was just reading Erikson's stages of development today while studying for my state licensing exam. Also Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Maybe those would be good for me to share tomorrow when I am not quite so sleep!