Helping your child manage their feelings with acceptance and validation
Development of emotional intelligence.
What is acceptance?
What is validation?
Importantly, validation of emotions does not mean you are validating and accepting how they might be behaving at that moment. Let’s say something happens and your child becomes upset, is crying and starts hitting you. You can send a message that accepts and validates their emotions, while also sending a message that their hitting behaviours are not ok. For example, you might say something along the lines of ‘I know it’s sad/disappointing/upsetting that …happened. It’s not ok to hit though’.
Then depending on their age, how they are coping at that moment, you might implement a consequence for the behaviour, help your child calm down and/or use it as an opportunity to teach your child what to do in such a situation.
How to accept and validate emotions.
Acceptance and validation can be done by noticing and being curious about a child’s feelings, and this can help us to help them understand their emotions. Below are just a few examples of validating and accepting emotions, and for most of these examples, you can simply interchange the feeling depending on what emotion you think you are noticing or is likely based on the situation.
“I notice you look worried”
“Could it be you’re worried about…”
“You seem to be sad”
“I bet you are disappointed… happened”
“I’m wondering if you might be anxious”
“I’m wondering if you are anxious because…”
“I can see how angry you feel right now”
“You look frustrated”
By using acceptance and validation you will be helping your child to develop their emotional intelligence and coping skills that will help them better navigate life’s challenges.
Written by Dr Rachael Sim, Clinical Psychologist.
If you would like to learn more about acceptance, validation and how to build your child’s emotional intelligence or book an appointment with one of our experienced clinical psychologists, contact our friendly client team by calling 6143 4499 or email via our contact page.
Monday to Thurs 8:30am - 7:30pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
Saturday 8:30am - 2:30pm
6 Outram Street
West Perth, 6005 WA
36 St Quentin Avenue
Claremont, 6010 WA
In the spirit of reconciliation, Lawson Clinical Psychology acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
Lawson Clinical Psychology celebrates the extraordinary diversity of people’s bodies, ability, genders, sexualities and relationships that they represent.