Because people, families, and the environment constantly change, your
kids need you adults to re-evaluate their needs and status regularly.-
e.g. at birthdays or around New Years.
in Our Family?
Family feuds, cutoffs, divorces, adoptions, cohabiting, and remarriages
can cause confusion and disagreements over who belongs (is included in)
Consider drawing and
(diagram) of who comprises your current family. Do so from your kids'
point of view. If you have
significant membership disagreements, see
Who Will Participate, and Who Will Lead?
all adults in your kids' multi-home family will take part in this
factors can prevent this ideal. Your option is to accept that, and say
"Starting with all co-parents and co-grandparents,
how many of our
family adults are genuinely interested in helping with this important
If some adults are blocked
from supporting your kids by various
your options include
(a) ignore them; (b) appeal for their help for the
kids' sakes; (c) scorn, ridicule, and reject them; or (d) keep them
respectfully informed of what you're trying to do, why, and what's happening
as you progress.
parents and some new mates have trouble
maintaining co-parental respect and cooperation because of problems like
If this is so with your family adults, your kids need you all to admit
these problems and work to reduce them - for their sakes. To do
this, you all need to want your true Selves to
1) and to gain fluency with effective communication
Someone has to take responsibility for doing this assessment project or
it won't get done. The alternatives are leadership by consensus, or no
effective leadership. Do you have a leader yet? If so, what do you know of
this leader's primary needs and motives?
How does the
this family leader (authoritarian, democratic, dictatorial, decisive, inconsistent,
timid, empathic,...) affect the motivation and cooperation of your other
caregiving adults? Does s/he acknowledge being the leader? Is s/he
comfortable with that role? What help does s/he need from the rest
of you? From knowledgeable outsiders?
Which Kids Will We
I suggest evaluating the status of
each minor and grown biological, adopted, step, and foster child of each
of your co-parents,
Beware assuming that an apparently-happy,
"well-adjusted" child is mastering all their many concurrent needs! This
is because well-meaning
are adept at
and unmet needs from the host person
and other people.
Preparation Do We Need?
To be effective at assessing kids' status with their many needs (filled
/ partially filled / unfilled),
adults need to adopt a long-range view,
and study and discuss...
(or 7, if you're in a stepfamily); including...
symptoms of psychological wounds (Lesson 1),
how to judge if an adult is
by their true Self - and if not, how to
their Self; and...
of incomplete grief (Lesson 3);
the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
resolve most relationship
how to assess for
kids' developmental and
family-adjustment needs; and...
well with typical kids and teens.
Option - to gauge your
knowledge of these topics, take and discuss these
Once your adults have studied and discussed these, you're ready to draft a
meaningful long-term family
together as a framework to guide you all.
Pause and reflect: are you willing to prepare like this? Are your
other family adults and supporters? If not, some of you risk passing
psychological wounds on to your young people.
What Are We
The most important
thing to assess is whether each nurturing adult in your
guided by their true Self or not. Use
this for an initial
evaluation. If one or more adults is psychologically wounded, that raises the odds of
significant family dysfunction and wounding your kids. See
Lesson 1 for healing options.
Next, assess the recent
of your child's home/s and multi-home family (low to high). Use this
worksheet to do this. Option -
use this worksheet for more
perspective. Discuss your results together as teammates, with your kids
If you decide your nurturance level is too low (and your "dysfunction"
too high), take a long-range view and commit to improving your
level together with the resources in Lessons 1 thru 6 or 7. Your kids
will have an easier time filling their needs if you do, and your
parenting effectiveness and satisfaction will increase.
Next, assess and discuss the
status of each child with their set of ~25 developmental needs. Depending on each child's age and unique
abilities, you'll conclude "s/he is progressing well enough" with all
age-appropriate needs, or "s/he needs our help with (specific needs)
Finally, if a child's bioparents divorced or died, assess the
youngster's status on their set of these
family-adjustment needs. Because
all these needs are concurrent, you may want to prioritize them and
focus on the most important ones.
If this seems like a lot of work - it is. Keep motivated by
steadily imagining your end goal - feeling great future satisfaction in growing
a healthy, well-adjusted independent young adult guided by his or her
true Self. Option - imagine how
your life might be different if your family adults had regularly
monitored your needs as you grew up.
Do We Do With Our Results?
If all your kids' needs are filled well enough for now - congratulate
yourselves and keep doing what you've been doing. If some needs aren't
being well filled: Decide together...
which adults are best are
best able to fill the needs?
what help they need?
what may hinder them?
how are you all going
to monitor progress?
need to reduce psychological wounds and/or get educated use Lesson 1 to
evolve a meaningful personal recovery plan. Study Lessons 1 thru 6 or 7
to raise your knowledge and awareness. If you feel that another family adult needs to
psychological wounds and/or ignorance, see these
Use your assessment findings to evolve
to clarify and document your responsibilities
and goals. Also discuss your findings with any teachers, tutors,
mentors, coaches, and clinicians working with each assessed child.
Whatever you adults do, keep the end goals in minds: (a)
successfully-independent young adults with minimal wounds, and (b) a
stable, high-nurturance family system.
How Will We
Resolve Disputes in Assessing Our Kids?
Your needs-assessment process may be hindered by...
among your adults - specially between ex mates,
Follow the links to learn how to reduce
and manage these stressors. Also
refresh yourselves on how to
resolve typical relationship
problems. Use the seven communication
and share copies of these
worksheets to help you all stay focused and effective
The nurturance level (functionality) of your family depends on how well your adults fill
the needs of each adult and child over time. Kids of divorcing and re-partnered
(stepfamily) parents have many extra adjustment needs that require adult awareness and help.
Effective parenting requires your adults to assess each child's
progress with their many concurrent developmental and adjustment
needs. This Lesson-6 article offers specific suggestions on how to assess
your kids' status effectively, and what to do with your results.
Effective parenting is the main
defense you have to avoid passing the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
on to your descendents!