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Emotion Validation

In working and living with children, the skill of emotion validation is extremely useful and important.

To validate someone's feelings is first to accept their feelings. Invalidation, on the other hand, is to reject, ignore, or judge others' feelings, and hence, their individual identity.

When we validate someone, we allow them to safely share their feelings and thoughts. We are reassuring them that it is okay to have the feelings they have. We are demonstrating that we will still accept them after they have shared their feelings. We let them know that we respect their perception of things at that moment. We help them feel heard, acknowledged, understood and accepted.

Sometimes validation entails listening, sometimes it is a nod or a sign of agreement or understanding, sometimes it can be a hug or a gentle touch. Sometimes it means being patient when the other person is not ready to talk.

Painful feelings that are expressed, acknowledged and validated by a trusted listener will diminish. Painful feelings that are ignored or dismissed will gain strength.

Here are some simple ways to validate someone when they are talking to you and they are feeling upset, hurt, sad etc.
    "I hear you." 
    "That hurts"
    "That's not good"
    "That's no fun"
    "Wow, that's a lot to deal with"
    "I would feel the same way."
    "That is sad."
    "That must really hurt."
    "I know just what you mean."
    "It sounds like you are really feeling ____."