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I was sitting in a therapist’s office years ago when I picked up a pamphlet entitled, “What Every Child Needs” and had my socks blown off. I could not believe what I read, because it seemed impossible to reduce to a finite list, the things a child actually needs. Who was writing this stuff? My parents always urged us to make a distinction between what is needed and what is wanted, and in my mind I’d limited my needs to food, water, house and clothes.

Turns out that the Mental Health Association of Albany County, New York had a list of what every child needs for better emotional health and I doubt it has changed much since way back then.

Here’s it is:

love
security
acceptance
control
guidance
independence
protection
faith

When I first read this I was floored. I suddenly knew I’d missed out on more than I had ever imagined.

I love that little pamphlet.

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