Validation is the process of acknowledging and accepting another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences as valid and important. It involves actively listening to someone and reflecting back on what you hear to show that you understand and respect their perspective. Validation is important in building positive relationships because it helps people feel heard, understood, and valued. It can help to reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, and shame, and can promote positive emotional growth and self-esteem. Validation can be particularly important in the context of parenting and caregiving, as children often rely on adults to validate their experiences and emotions as they learn to navigate the world around them.
I have seen firsthand the impact of not being validated on children. Validation is an essential aspect of a child’s emotional and social development. It involves acknowledging and accepting a child’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences without judgment or criticism. When children are not validated, it can have a range of negative effects on their mental and emotional well-being. One of the most significant consequences of not being validated is that children may feel ignored or dismissed. They may think that their feelings don’t matter or that they are being irrational or overly sensitive. This can lead to a sense of shame or self-doubt, and over time, it can erode their self-esteem and confidence.
Children who are not validated may also struggle with regulating their emotions. If they are constantly told to “just get over it” or “stop being so dramatic,” they may not learn how to express their feelings in a healthy way. This can lead to emotional outbursts, anxiety, and even depression. Children may also start to feel disconnected from their own emotions, which can make it difficult for them to form close relationships with others.
Another consequence of not being validated is that children may learn to seek validation in unhealthy ways. For example, they may try to please others or seek attention by acting out or engaging in risky behavior. This can lead to a range of problems, including substance abuse, poor academic performance, and even criminal behavior.
Ultimately, the lack of validation can have a profound impact on a child’s overall well-being. It is essential to help parents understand the importance of validation and to provide them with tools and strategies to help validate their children’s feelings and experiences. By doing so, we can help children develop a sense of self-worth, emotional regulation skills, and healthy relationships with others. Here are some things to consider…
Validation is a basic human need: Humans have a fundamental need for validation and acceptance, and children are no exception. When children are not validated, they may feel rejected or invalidated, which can negatively impact their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Validation is not the same as an agreement: It’s important to note that validation is not the same as an agreement. You can validate a child’s feelings without agreeing with their behavior or actions. For example, if a child is upset about not being invited to a friend’s birthday party, you can validate their feelings by saying, “I understand that you’re feeling left out and disappointed. That must be hard for you.”
Validation helps children feel understood: Validation helps children feel heard and understood. It lets them know that their feelings are valid and that their experiences matter. This can go a long way in building trust and strengthening the parent-child relationship.
Validation encourages emotional intelligence: When children are validated, they learn to identify and express their emotions in a healthy way. This can help them develop emotional intelligence, which is essential for healthy relationships and overall well-being.
Validation promotes resilience: When children are validated, they develop resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges. They learn that they can trust their own feelings and experiences, which can help them navigate difficult situations with more confidence and ease.
Overall, validation is a critical component of a child’s emotional and social development. When children are not validated, they may struggle with regulating their emotions, seeking validation in unhealthy ways, and developing a strong sense of self-worth. The science behind validation lies in the relationship between emotions and the brain. When a child experiences an emotion, such as fear or sadness, a part of their brain called the amygdala is activated. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotions and preparing the body for a response. If a child’s emotions are not validated, the amygdala can stay activated for longer, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
Validation, on the other hand, can help deactivate the amygdala and promote a sense of safety and calm. When a child’s emotions are acknowledged and accepted, it can help them feel understood and supported, reducing their stress levels and promoting emotional regulation. At this point, they are able to move from their limbic system, to their frontal cortex, where they can access the higher parts of their brain. The science behind validation shows that it is essential for parents and caregivers to validate their children’s emotions. It promotes emotional regulation, improves self-esteem, increases emotional intelligence, strengthens the parent-child relationship, and builds resilience. By validating their children’s feelings, parents and caregivers can help their children develop into emotionally healthy and resilient adults.
Are you interested in learning more about specific phrases and how to use validating language in day-to-day experiences? Please check out the Hub’s Handout Section Don’t miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your communication skills and build stronger, more supportive relationships.