Three Driving Needs In The Life Of Every Child

Every child is born with three driving inner needs, but not many parents can list those three needs.

God knows the driving needs of children. And so does Satan. Evil has been striving to utilize this empty space – the needs in the life of each human being – with the wrong answers. When you look around the culture, you can see how these three needs have been filled with the wrong things.

I learned about these three needs from the book, Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel, Before I reveal the three needs, I want to share a few thoughts:

Grace in parenting isn’t cut and dried. Much like our lives, isn’t it? But as parents, it’s more about how we do what we do, than what we actually do.

If we extend grace without truth, we risk having kids who don’t understand the benefit of boundaries, discipline, and the freedom that come with them. We watch our children take the crooked path in life; and we become exasperated and uncertain about what step to take next.

If we extend truth without grace, we’re missing out. Rules without relationship (and the grace that is required to be in true relationships) will backfire nearly every time when we are raising kids.

We must parent the way God does us. Abundant grace. Never forsaking. An invitation to follow. A desire for our lives to be whole, complete, and strong in Him.

It won’t do any good in this day and age to raise safe children. Christian parents must be resolved to raise strong children. This can only come through a relationship with Christ.

These are God’s children and we, as parents, are stewards. We do our best. We learn all we can. We shift when we see things aren’t working well. We’re building this plane of parenthood as we fly. And we know that in God’s great mercy and grace, the match of the child to the parent is amazingly right. So keep trusting, keep your faith strong, and have grace for yourself.

The Three Driving Needs

Now we get to the three driving needs for every child:

  1. A need for security
  2. A need for significance
  3. A need for strength

Helping to meet these needs on a day-to-day basis requires faith in God and confidence in God’s work through you as the parent.

Isn’t it interesting that these are the same needs you and I have? If we model a dependence on Christ to fill these needs in our lives, this will naturally expand into the lives of our children – no matter their age.

As the author of the book states: “Grace and truth appeal to the human heart because that’s the way God created us.” Let that grace work in your life and let it spill over.

Each of these three driving needs are different based on the age of your child. Here are some basic thoughts:


  • Love, touch, and affection.
  • Praying before bed.
  • Husbands, loving your wives well; and wives, loving your husbands well.
  • Attending worship and being actively involved in church.
  • Building relationships with others.


  • Helping your children open their lives to God’s purpose for them.
  • Showing and speaking affirmations; and giving your attention.
  • Confidently following where your children feel led in activities over following your own desires.
  • Growing the child you have.
  • Lovingly admonishing and directing.
  • Not being afraid of failure for your children.
  • Helping your children determine their loves.


  • Helping your children in their helplessness. Children grow strong as they experience this. You can never love your child too much in this regard.
  • Helping your children discover their God-given gifts and abilities.
  • Helping your children exchange dependence on parents to a dependence on God.
  • Helping your children experience a spiritual adventure.
  • Trusting in God as your place of our strength instead of making safety the priority.
  • Not being afraid of your children’s failures. When children discover what they are not, they begin to understand where they are truly gifted.

Blessings on each of us as parents!

If you are interested, you can get a copy of that book here.

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