How Important is Validation for a Child?

How Important is Validation for a Child?

Riddhi Doshi 03/01/2022
How Important is Validation for a Child?

Recently, I had done a poll to understand what parents feel about validation.

Find attached the results but there were many parents who wanted to understand the "HOW" and "WHY" of validation.



"Validating" means giving your child that all-important, and seemingly exclusive message that "Your feelings make sense. I not only am giving you permission to feel what you feel but I am also welcoming and accepting your feelings in a non-judgmental way.”

Validating your child shows deep empathy. This will help build your child's self-esteem and reduce his or her defiant behavior, which is often the language choice of children who do not feel understood.

A child’s ability to regulate emotions affects relationships with family and peers, academic achievement, long-term mental health and future success. Parents seeking treatment for behavioral problems often report that their child is overly sensitive or has big emotional reactions compared to siblings or same-aged peers.

When we validate the feelings of others, we put ourselves in their shoes to understand their emotional experience and accept it as real. Validating your child’s feelings does not mean you condone or agree with the actions your child takes. It simply enables your child to know that you understand their feelings and that it’s ok to have those feelings. It gives your child space to express their emotions nonjudgmentally, safely and without ignoring or pushing away those feelings.

How Does Validation Help?

1 -Validation helps de-escalate emotionally-charged situations, while allowing your child to feel heard, understood and accepted.

2 -Validation teaches children to effectively label their own emotions and be more in tune with their body, thereby increasing emotional intelligence.

3 -Validation helps children develop frustration tolerance.

4 -Validating children helps them feel more compassion and empathy towards others, which can enhance the quality of their relationships with others.

How We Deliberately Invalidate Our Children

It’s also important to understand how parents inadvertently invalidate their children. Invalidation is when a child’s emotional experience is rejected, judged or ignored. Every parent has unintentionally invalidated the feelings of their child. Many of the things that children get upset about seem trivial to adults or the emotions can seem disproportionate to the situation. It can be hard for an adult to put themselves in a child’s shoes at times.

Sometimes children are punished for their emotions or told they are an overreaction. Parents may tell their child to “just calm down,” which only serves to get them even more worked up. Dismissing a child’s emotions as “no reason to be angry” or saying, “you’re acting like a baby,” can make a child feel judged or rejected for their emotional experience, something they often have little control over. When a child is told that their internal emotional experience is wrong over and over, it makes them feel more out of control and less trusting of their own internal experience, which can have lasting negative impacts. It can also damage the relationship between a child and parent.

How Can I validate My Child?

Validating the emotions of your child can be difficult at times. This is especially true when a child is engaging in aggressive or destructive behavior, and in this situation securing safety takes priority. Validation can happen once safety is restored.

1 -Parents can try to validate their child anytime there is a strong emotional reaction to a situation or stimuli.

2 -Reflecting back their thoughts or feelings is another way to validate.

3 -Another way to validate your child is by normalizing their feelings. Just be sure not to immediately jump in with reassurance at this point. Instead you may say, “it’s ok to feel nervous.”

4 -Validate all feelings even if you don’t agree with the reaction.

5 -Lastly, don’t forget to validate yourself and model positive coping skills.

The Key to Proper Validation is Done in Two Ways

1. Validate feelings and not behavior.

2. Do not get stuck in a victim mentality.

When we only focus on validating and don't move on to empowering the child in regard to his/her emotions, we are in danger of giving our children a mentality of being a victim of life circumstances instead of helping them achieve all that they can.

When your child is hurt/ sad, "Yes, child, you are in pain, but you want to get out of it and you can and will." "Yes, child, things have gone wrong, but you have the power to change your circumstances."

The time to do this isn't when the child is hurt. The first thing we want to do is validate that hurt, but after things calm down, we can and must move from validation to addressing the situation. We do this by holding the child accountable for their actions and empowering them to take the steps necessary to fix what is within their control.

This is my small attempt to help parents understand Validation and the How and Why of it.

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Riddhi Doshi

Mental Health Expert

Riddhi Doshi trains and coaches corporate leaders, educators and parents on issues of mental health and behavior. She is an internationally certified Parenting & Behaviour Coach. In past 15+ years she has conducted 2540+ open workshops, delivered 87000+ hours of talks, 53000+ hours of counseling sessions covering 59000+ students and 62,000+ women from various fields. Parenting sessions conducted by Riddhi are housefull and recent;y she completed her 366th Parenting session. She has been a speaker and advisor at various institutions and organizations including IIM, Ahmedabad, Rotary Club, Tata Power, Larson & Toubro and The Time of India. She holds an MBA in HRD, LLM and numerous other professional certifications from prestigious international institutions including University of Cambridge, BSY University, London, City & Guilds, London, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and NMIMS, Mumbai. She has been awarded with “National Award for Cultural Activities by AVANTIKA- Delhi”, “Excellence in Wellness”, “Young Entrepreneurs Award”, “Self Made Diva Award” among various others. With a mission to “make corporate leaders, educators and parents empowered and more aware about mental health & wellness”, Riddhi regularly gives interviews on leading media platforms. She loves to interact with corporate leaders, educators and parents to discuss about women issues, child psychology and parenting challenges.


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