In order to begin to write this post, I “Googled” the word:If Google gives an example using healthy families, I must be onto something.
I started to use validation as key to getting along with my very opinionated three year old son, and it’s made him so much happier. Me, too! Here’s just one example: vending machines at the YMCA. Kids like to slide quarters into those machines like my 91 year old aunt in Atlantic City. Almost every time I take him to the gym, I’ll get a, “I want-” with his current obsession- pretzels, animal crackers, chocolate wafers…
Instead of me saying, “No,” which logically would set him up to reply, “But, I WANT it,” I say, “Wow! They do look really tasty. I can see why you like them. I’d like some, too. Right now, I don’t have any quarters. But we do have them at home. How about I give you a snack of pretzels after we leave here… in about five minutes. Can you be a good boy and be patient to wait until then?” He always agrees to be a good boy. I make good on my promise. He now trusts me to validate his feelings… and they have never escalated since validating him.
It’s really an amazing shift to observe.
It’s tied in very closely to the “L” of Love, “Listen.”
Kids — and people in general — just want to know that they are being heard and valued. That’s it. It’s why wives resent it when their husbands try to fix their problems, when all they wanted was a sympathetic ear. It’s why tweens resort to whining. It’s why customer service stinks half the time. We just want to be validated that we have a right to our feelings.
Make the #153Promise to validate your children’s feelings. Let them know that even if you’re not willing to buy that outfit at the mall, you understand why they want it. And then work together to find an acceptable alternative to both sides, rather than just saying, “No… because I SAY so!” The last thing you want to do is shut them down. They’ll only resort to either being sneaky or going to someone else instead who “Gets” them.
Try it this weekend. Make the #153Promise to validate each one of your children at least once when you catch yourself wanting to say “No” and watch what happens.
Then validate ME by coming back and posting a comment about how it went!