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How To Validate Your Child's Emotions

Parenting is like a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs. Sometimes, our kids feel big emotions they don't know how to handle, and it can be tough to help them through it. But there's a powerful tool we can use called "emotional validation" that makes a big difference. It's all about understanding and supporting our kids when they're feeling sad, mad, or even happy. So, let's dive into what emotional validation is all about and how it can help our kids feel better and stronger.

What is emotional validation?

Emotional validation involves acknowledging someone else's feelings or needs without passing judgment. You don't necessarily have to share the same viewpoint to validate someone's emotions; you simply need to demonstrate that you understand why they feel the way they do.

Why is emotional validation important?

Validating a child's emotions is crucial as it helps them feel like they are valued and understood. It can also help them to feel accepted, and can give them the skills to manage their emotions effectively, ultimately leading to the development of self-compassion. Individuals with self-compassion are better equipped to navigate life's challenges resiliently.

How can adults validate a child's emotions?

Showing a child you understand and care is key. Here are some simple ways to do it:

Listen attentively: Give your full attention to your child without any distractions. Demonstrate your active listening through your body language and tone of voice. Maintaining eye contact, leaning in, and nodding as your child expresses themselves indicates your engagement. Verbally affirm their emotions by saying, "I understand why you're feeling this way," or "I see how frustrated you are when your sibling tore your artwork after you put so much effort into it."Remember that

Be genuine: Kids can spot fake concern! You may not actually understand why a misplaced shoe deserves a huge meltdown, but you probably do understand the sentiment of losing something valuable. Remember that a child's problems are as real to them as yours are to you, and while something may deem small to you, it might be a very big thing to your child.

Let them feel their feelings: Trying to stop them feeling upset or angry usually backfires. Acknowledge their emotions, don't dismiss or suppress their feelings! Avoid phrases like "Don't be silly" or "Relax", as they invalidate the child's feelings. Instead, acknowledge their emotions empathetically. For instance, validate their anger towards a friend by saying, "It seems like you're really upset with your friend, which must be challenging since you spend so much time together."

Avoid fixing everything: It's tempting to solve their problems, but letting them deal with some feelings teachers them valuable skills. It's easy to want to protect children from having difficult feelings, but these feelings are a part of life.

All feelings are acceptable, but every behaviour is not: You don't have to agree with a child's feelings, but it is important to validate these feelings while reinforcing appropriate behaviour, ensuring a health balance between acceptance and accountability.

Incorporating these principles of emotional validation can enhance parent-child relationships and support children's emotional development. By fostering a nurturing environment where emotions are valued and understood, parents can empower their little ones to navigate life's ups and downs with confidence and resilience.

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