What is Validation:
It is natural for everyone to want to feel heard and seen. Everyone wants to know that their thoughts and feelings matter to those around them. This is true for children as well. As their parent, they most likely look to you for guidance and validation in their thoughts and feelings. When you let your child express their feelings to you, you can provide them with the assurance that their thoughts and feelings are important, even if they seem to be insignificant to you. Here are our three tips for validating your child’s emotions and making sure they feel heard.
Talking with your child without judging or blaming them can help them feel more at ease about their feelings. If you let them know you won’t judge their feelings, they will know you are a safe space for them to express themselves. Simply expressing your support for you or stating “I understand why you might feel that way, how can I help?” would go a long way in making sure your child feels heard.
Many of us lead busy lives, and it can be tempting to multitask while talking with your child. However, one of the best ways to ensure your child feels validated in their emotion is to be present in the conversation. Giving your child your full attention will make them feel important and make sure that you fully understand their needs.
Asking your child follow-up questions about how they are feeling can help them know you are listening as well. A good example of this could be “from what I understand, you are feeling X way because of X reason. Is that right?” Even if you get the situation or emotions incorrect, this allows them to feel listened to and gives them the chance to provide more insight into their thoughts and feelings.
Your child may feel embarrassed by their emotions; they may feel different from others or aren’t sure why they feel the way they do. It’s vital in these situations to be sensitive to your child’s feelings. This can take the form of normalizing their emotions with an “everyone gets angry sometimes” Or an “It’s ok to be nervous before a big speech”. These statements affirm the fact that emotions are ok to feel and can sometimes be tricky to navigate.
Overall, children who have felt emotionally validated are more likely to listen to those who validate them. In addition, they will become more emotionally aware and more capable of handling more complex emotions in the future.