self actualization vs. parenting

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Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

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It doesn't leave out homosexuals. Homosexuals have children these days too you know.

[deleted account]

Tanya, I guess I feel it leaves out those homosexual people who do not desire to have children as well as those people pursuing religious lives of dedication and celibacy (monks, nuns, priests etc), heterosexual people who feel no desire to have children and well, anyone else who does not believe that parenting is the highest achievement in life. Are those people expected by this pyramid to feel wholly fulfilled by mate acquisition and retention and be less "actualised" than those who go on to bear and raise children? Even the concept of mate acquisition and retention seems limiting and excluding for those dedicated to spiritual pursuits who forgo relationships; I suppose as many consider themselves "married to god"/or other deity (which for them is the ultimate in mate acquisition), that must fulfil the criteria, but it seems that the previous hierarchy had more flexibility when it used the terms love and belonging as a need on the path to self-actualisiation. I know that for me personally I feel that parenting has taken a role in my own self-actualisation, but I would never consider myself more so than friends of mine who have no children and have achieved aspects of their own self-actualisation through other pursuits.

And as others have mentioned, it gives little consideration to the lives of parents once the children are grown and the 'task' of parenting is lessened. I know parenting is a life-long relationship, but as parents our role is lessened/changed as our children mature and develop their own independence. Is the self-actualisation achieved during parenthood to carry us through the rest of our lives, ie: through the role of becoming grandparents? Does it indicate that only by self-actualising through being a parent we are then able to engage in other self-actualising aspects of life? It doesn't seem to incorporate the self-actualization people achieve through pursuits unrelated to parenting.

I don't know if I'm making sense, i haven't had breakfast yet and I feel scrambled. mmmm... scrambled eggs, back later.

Petra - posted on 09/08/2010

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I think Maslow would be pretty pissed if he saw this, lol. I think rather than imposing new theory onto his model, they should just go the route of all new schools of thought. Feels like they're trying to gain some quick attention by using a "revamp" of the pyramid. That being said, for sure parenting helps us self actualize - if we truly enjoy being parents, we have no choice but to transcend ourselves & put something else first, thereby realizing our true potential and doing away with the unnecessary.

Jessica - posted on 09/07/2010

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Well Maslow was basically coming from a humanistic perspective. It seems like they are just trying to take his ideas and make them fit into the evolutionary/biological model. I think both perspectives of psychology have good points though they differ.

Parenting could be considered a part of self-actualization. Many people realize their full potential in becoming parents. That fits nicely into the evolutionary model. But then, some people never have a desire to have children but still lead fulfilling lives and can be said to reach self-actualization, but that wouldn't fit into what they're trying to do.

I do like how they make the levels coexist rather than one replacing the other- that makes more sense.

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[deleted account]

Which was exactly my point in both of my posts. That it is not representative of a comprehensive perspective for all people and does not effectively incorporate everyone. Thus it is not a very useful psychology tool in describing human motivations.
You may note that I mentioned all people who do not feel the need to be a parent as well as those who forgo mating and relationships in the pursuit of other interests. As for people who love and nurture other people's children, this is not what the creators of the new model seem to be describing, they mention parenting more as a facilitation of the reproduction of genes through the generations, something not achieved simply by being interested and involved in the raising of other's children.

Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

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Then it leaves out people who don't want children in general, it has nothing to do with whether they are homosexuals or not. And people who don't want children often like to play with and mentor and nurture other people's children from my experience they just don't want any of their own. I think this is an interesting theory. Maybe not 100% correct for everybody though.

[deleted account]

Yes, Emma I know that for many homosexual couples having children is an important part of their lives, but there are many who do not wish to have children, just as there are many heterosexual individuals and couples who also do not wish to have children. Are those people less able to achieve self-actualisation than those who do have children?

[deleted account]

Maybe go back to self-actualization as the top hierarchy? Because for some (maybe most) self-actualization is reached once they become a parent.

Tanya - posted on 09/08/2010

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Fiona why do you feel it leaves out Homosexuals?

I have to say that for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom. I do realize that the new model leaves some people out. I am not sure how I would fix it.

[deleted account]

I like that they overlapped the levels. That makes much more sense than saying once a need is met, it is then forgotten. But I like the old hierarchy better because not everyone feels that parenting is top priority. This new hierarchy leaves a lot of people out.

Johnny - posted on 09/07/2010

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Parenting is pretty high up on my hierarchy right now. From a completely selfish perspective, it has improve me. I am becoming less self-conscious, less ashamed of myself, more assertive, I've got more initiative, and I have more courage. I'm also less judgmental. All of those were things I noticed about myself that I wanted to fix, as I did not want my daughter to pick up my bad habits. So in that sense, parenting has been a self-actualizing experience. However, I do not wish to have it be that way for my entire life. I have many other needs to attend to when my parenting days are coming to an end. It is a phase, an experience, a life passage. It is not like eating, drinking, sex, which one needs throughout one's life.

Stifler's - posted on 09/07/2010

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Oh I get it now. Parenting is in no way the most important thing to me. What happens when the kids leave home? I want to do something else with my life other than just kid myself that all I've ever wanted to be was a mum.

[deleted account]

oh, poor old Maslow... his hierarchy of needs, once one of the corner stones of psychology and sociology now outdated, in need of a revamp. I'm not convinced they've gotten it right in regards to a comprehensive perspective for all people as not everyone feels the need to be a parent in order to realise self-actualisation, in fact not everyone would prioritise mate acquisition and retention so highly either but maybe they are in the minority and so are excluded from this, it certainly doesn't incorporate homosexuality very effectively. There was always a failing of the original hierarchy of needs as well, that one needed to encompass/fulfil needs of love and belonging (among the other needs) before self-actualisation, but at least the original was broad enough to encompass the many human interpretations and expressions of love and belonging, not just limiting that to mate acquisition and retention. I think this new pyramid can also seem to be interpreted as saying that parenting can only equal self-actualisation if one has acquired and retained a mate prior to bearing offspring and should the meeting of that need fail (ie: loss of the partner) then parenting can no longer be seen as self-actualising until that need is met again. I agree with Jessica that they seem to be attempting to fit this into an evolutionary model.

As for my own situation, I guess it could be seen that parenting is an aspect of self-actualisation. For me and my partner, becoming parents was a very conscious decision that we made once we felt we were in a stable position. So to speak, we had made sure that all of our other needs on the hierarchy (either model would apply to us) were met and able to be maintained before we embarked on parenting, but parenting itself is not the sole aspiration we held in terms of self-actualisation. As well as being able to devote ourselves to the raising of our children we are also able to continue to devote ourselves to many of the other 'higher pursuits' of self-actualisation and realising our inner potentials.

Stifler's - posted on 09/07/2010

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None of that made much sense to me. But I think parenting is the most important because it teaches all the other things.

Tanya - posted on 09/07/2010

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I feel that for me personally parenting is my self actualization. I have never been more at peace with myself. I feel more comfortable sharing my jokes, poems, and even silly old pictures of myself.
I have more to say about it I just want to wait until I hear from some others.

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