Validation for Valentine's Day
Contributor
Written by
Karyn Hall
February 2010
Contributor
Written by
Karyn Hall
February 2010
One of the most important skills for parents is the ability to validate their children's thoughts and feelings. It's also one of the most important skills for spouses. Validation means recognizing that that another person's internal experience is true and has value even if we don't see it the same way. For example, your husband is grumpy and irritalbe because his favorite football team lost. Saying it's just a game won't bring you closer together. A child screams for candy, saying that he must have it or his day is ruined. No adult would think that way. In fact, the child probably sounds spoiled to most people. But feelings and thoughts aren't wrong to have. Acting on them is a different story of course. Validation means saying to your husband, without sarcasm, that it is disappointing when your team loses. Or saying to the child that you get it that .he wants the candy desperately and believes his day will be ruined because he doesn't. At the same time, you're not going to buy the candy. You've just scored mega points on psychological parenting and helped your child develop his sense of self. Validation is the way kids learn to trust their own internal thoughts and feelings. When they are repeatedly invalidated they learn they don't know the right way to feel or think and turn to others instead of paying attention to their own internal guide. This means a higher vulnerability to peer pressure and influence. Validation with your partner is a way of saying you understand them and accept them. Remember it's not about parroting words--it must be genuine. If you do it authentically, it builds your relationship. Validating doesn't mean you agree. It just means you acknowledge their experience. Like telling your best friend you understand why she hates her ex-husband's new bride even though you think the woman's pretty together. Provided it's the truth. Validation is always the truth. For Valentine's Day, think of validations you'd give to those you love. What is the truth about their personality, their infuence on your life. That's a gratitude validation. It's powerful. What validations would you most like to receive? Or give?

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