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  • Writer's pictureMirka

The Power of Emotional Validation: Supporting Your Child Through Upsets

As parents, it's natural to want to swoop in and solve our children's problems the moment they arise. After all, we want to see them happy and thriving. However, Ned Johnson, co-author of "What Do You Say? How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance and a Happy Home," offers a valuable insight: sometimes, logic isn't the solution.

Johnson suggests that our reflex to problem-solve when our children are upset may not always be the most effective approach. While our intentions are good, trying to rationalize or fix the situation immediately may not address the underlying emotions our children are experiencing.

Instead, Johnson recommends a different approach—one rooted in emotional validation. Rather than rushing to offer solutions, take a moment to acknowledge and validate your child's feelings. Let them know that it's okay to feel sad, frustrated, or angry, and that you're there to support them through those emotions.

But why is emotional validation so powerful? And how can it benefit both you and your child?

The Importance of Emotional Validation

Emotional validation is the process of acknowledging and accepting someone's feelings without judgment. It communicates to your child that their emotions are valid and worthy of attention, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

When you validate your child's emotions, you create a safe space for them to express themselves authentically. This can strengthen your bond and build trust between you and your child. It also helps them develop emotional intelligence and resilience, as they learn to recognize and navigate their feelings in a healthy way.

How to Practice Emotional Validation

So, how can you put emotional validation into practice? Here are a few tips:

  1. Listen actively: When your child is upset, give them your full attention. Listen attentively to what they have to say without interrupting or trying to offer solutions right away.

  2. Reflect back their emotions: Repeat back to your child what you're hearing them say, and validate their feelings. For example, you might say, "It sounds like you're really frustrated about not being able to play with your friends today."

  3. Offer empathy: Show empathy and understanding towards your child's feelings. Let them know that you understand why they're upset and that it's okay to feel that way.

  4. Avoid minimizing or dismissing their emotions: Resist the urge to downplay or dismiss your child's feelings, even if they seem trivial to you. Remember, what may seem small to you can feel like a big deal to them.

  5. Problem-solve collaboratively: Once your child feels heard and validated, you can then work together to find solutions to the problem. By involving them in the problem-solving process, you empower them to take ownership of their emotions and actions.

The Benefits of Emotional Validation

Practicing emotional validation can have numerous benefits for both you and your child:

  • Improved communication: When your child feels heard and understood, they're more likely to open up to you and communicate their feelings more effectively.

  • Stronger parent-child bond: Emotional validation strengthens the connection between you and your child, fostering a relationship built on trust and empathy.

  • Enhanced emotional intelligence: By learning to recognize and validate their own emotions, children develop greater emotional intelligence and resilience.

  • Reduced stress: Emotional validation can help diffuse tense situations and reduce stress for both you and your child.

While our instinct may be to solve our children's problems right away, sometimes what they need most is for us to simply listen and validate their feelings. By practicing emotional validation, we can support our children through their ups and downs, helping them develop the skills they need to navigate life's challenges with confidence and resilience.

Remember, it's okay to not have all the answers. Sometimes, just being there to listen and offer support is enough.



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