Children's emotional needs

It's in the first 2 to 3 years of life that children's personalities are being most actively molded - by the attitudes of the parrents or of the others who provide most of their care. Whether children will grow up to be lifelong optimists or pessimists, whether warmly loving or cool, whether trustful or suspicious, will depend to a considerable extent on the attitudes of the individuals who have taken responsibility for amajor portion of their care in their first two years. Therefore, the personalities of parents and caregivers are of great importance. 
In the first year, a baby has to depend mainly on the attentiveness, intuition, and helpfulness of adults to get her the things that she needs and craves. If the adults are too insensitive or indifferent to serve her (within sensible limits- they shouldn't be submissive slaves) she will become somewhat apathetic or depressed.

Continuity in their caregivers

From the age of a few months they come to love, and count on, and get their security from the one or two people who take the major part of their care. Even at 6 months babies will become seriously depressed, losing their smile, their appetite, their interest in things and people, if the parent who has cared for them disappears.

Emotional needs after 3 years

The greatest gift from parents is love, which they express in countless ways: a fond facial expression, spontaneous demonstration of pysical affection, pleasure in their children's accomplishments, comforting them when they are hurt or frightened, controlling them to keep safe and to help them become responsible people, giving them high ideals.
Children gain trust in themselves from being respected -as human beings- by their parents. Respect from parents is what teaches children to give respect to their parents in turn.

Boys and girls, by 3 years, focus on their parents' roles

A girl's need of a father is not as obvious on the surface but is just as great underneath. Half her relationships througout life will be with males. She gets her ideas about what males are supposed to be primarly from watching her father.
A mother's personality will be copied in many respects by her admiring daughter. How the mother feels about being a woman, a wife, a mother, a worker will make a strong impression on her daughter. How she gets along specifically with her husband will influence her daughter's future relationship with her husband.
A mother will have great influence also in her son's first great love.

Text source: DrSpock's Baby and Child Care -Beanjamin Spock and Michael Rothenberg