How To Use Connection, One of Six Basic Human Needs, To Reduce T

Welcome to Part 4 of this six-part article series on how to apply Tony Robbins six basic human needs to reduce theimpacts of divorce on children. By way of review, in the previous article I shared with you the context of children needing Significance during divorce. Again, with all the basic human needs, there is a negative and a positive way of fulfilling the need. The purpose of pointing out some of the extreme negatives is to help you identify where needs are being met in an unhealthy way so that you can course correct and continue. Hopefully you have been able to develop a lexicon of supporting thoughts and phrases with your children that feed their need for significance is a healthy and appropriate way. It will make a difference in their lives, remember you are divorcing your spouse, not your children.

The fourth basic human need, and last of the personality ones which Tony Robbins identifies, is Connection. It is also referred to as Love. Recently I listened to an audio book called "The Power" by Rhonda Byrne. It is the power of LOVE that Ms. Byrne is referring to and it is truly the centre of all things. As humans, we need connection/ love to feel like we belong and the fastest way to get love is to give it first.

The need for connection/ love is closely linked to the need for significance. If your need for connection/ love is being over met, you are basically becoming assimilated and lack uniqueness. You will feel like what made you "you" has faded away and your need for significance is not being met. Conversely, when your need for connection/ love is not being met, you will feel alone in the world, which is a very common emotion with divorcing families.

I found it interesting that Tony Robbins consciously chooses the term Connection because people are afraid of the word love. No truer is the pain of this reality than with divorce and children. Divorce by its very nature is an attack on the heart because it represents not achieving the dream of "happily-ever-after". As divorcing parents we need to be cognizant of our of bruised heart and fear of love and not allow that to jade or spill over into our love for our children. We need Love and Connection and so do our children, especially now that they are children of divorce.

As divorcing parents, it's our responsibility and duty to positively influence our children's view of love and connection by showing them how. This means taking the high road and not saying slanderous things about our former spouse in front of the kids. Children are smart and they know that they are a product of the two of you. When you make attacks on your ex, your children will perceive this as an attack on them, either consciously or subconsciously, as they are half of you and half of your ex. Lose the "victim" label as fast as you can, only pain and suffering will be found in that theatre.

Show your children you love them directly by telling them you do. Or indirectly by holding hands on a walk, being present with them by responding when spoken to, give them a hug, nourish them by finding in you the part that wants to put them first, play tag in the park with them. There are so many ways to maintain and increase connection and love with your children, simply do what ever it takes to be the best parent you can be.

The need for connection for children of divorce is also expressed outwardly through their peer groups too. As divorcing parents it may be more challenging to get them to after-school activities, but remember that their need for connection includes their friends, teams, clubs and social settings. This is all part of their environment that needs to be supported by both parents, regardless of marital status. Their sense of belonging will be stronger if you are able to keep them in the same school and peer groups as before.

I have seen this in nature too and a good example is the wolf. It was Rudyard Kipling (Nobel Prize recipient in 1907) that famously quoted "For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack". The connection that wolves share is powerful. The gray wolf actually mates for life and when they have pups, they share the responsibility of raising them eventually teaching them to hunt in a pack.

One more twist to this basic human and girls feel Connection and Love totally different. An interesting, although somewhat controversial resource, for the difference between the genders is John Gray's 1992 book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus". Here is an example of the type of discussions that Gray presents: "men complain about problems because they are asking for solutions while women complain about problems because they want their problems to be acknowledged." Whether you agree with Mr. Gray's theories or not, the book provides more context for you to better deal with helping your children through divorce. This may be more relevant if your children are both genders. I have also found a nice counter balance to Mr. Gray's information from his ex-wife Barbara De Angelis such as "How Did I Get Here?" or "What Women Want Men To Know". Investing in yourself and reading a variety of perspectives is another excellent way to help your children through divorce because it will develop within you, your own context of connection and love with your children and help define a brighter future for all.

In my next article, I will enter the realm of the spirit and discuss the basic human need for Growth.