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The Need to Nurture


Explanations > Needs > Nurture

Need | Example | Related to | Discussion |  So what?




We have a need to care for others, particularly our children, in order to to support and sustain them, and to help them grow.

Basic nurturing involves protecting others and we quickly leap to defend our family, friends and those with who we empathize. More sustained nurturing includes teaching and helping the other person develop, grow and achieve their potential.


A rough-tough man is tender and gentle with his children.

A person gets a lot of satisfaction from a job in social care.

A person falls over in the street. A complete stranger immediately comes to their aid. 

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Part of Related to
Identity Defend, Connect, Mate



The basic drive to nurture is in the care and development of our children. To propagate our genes, we need them to grow and spread them further. We also will help friends and even complete strangers for the good feelings we get from doing so.

Sometimes we also want to be nurtured, particularly when we are hurt or sad. In such times we seek the support of our wider family and friends.

Nurturing others is good for society. When others improve, the tribe gets stronger, and we benefit indirectly from our kindness. Helping others is also good for ourselves as builds trust and leads to reciprocation and friendship.

So what?

To get help from others, you take on the persona of a child, appearing vulnerable, pleading and looking unable to help yourself. Beware, however, as they may continue to consign you to childhood and so do not take you seriously.

When others play the child, decide whether this is just a ploy and respond accordingly. A way to do this is to respond as if they are an adult, effectively ignoring child actions.

With your children there is a danger that they play to your nurturing instinct into their teens and adulthood. One of the jobs of a parent is to wean them off dependent action such as this.

See also

Transactional Analysis


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