Children have their own thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes these are overshadowed or ignored by the adults in their lives. Just as adults want to be heard and acknowledged, so do children. It is possible to validate a child's feelings, while still maintaining discipline in the home or classroom. The book The Power of Validation by Karyn Hall and Melissa Cook teaches you how.
Validation means teaching children to be comfortable with their own emotions. You have to take a step back and look at the whole situation, really listen to what is going on. Even if you don't think your child should feel the way that she does, you have to accept it. It does no good to tell her to not feel that way or that she shouldn't feel that way. The fact of the matter is she has her own set of emotions and you have to deal with them as is. To do otherwise invalidates her and can cause psychological harm.
Reading this book can feel like a big “duh” moment at times. Of course this is how you should respond to your child's emotional moments! But at the same time, we often forget how to communicate with our children in a heated situation. Our own feelings get in the way and we want to impose them on our children. We forget that they are also people with their own thoughts and emotions and deserve to be acknowledged. At the same time, we have to impose limits on their behavior and teach them how to properly express themselves.
This book goes through the process of validating children's emotions as a part of discipline. The concept is fully defined with numerous real-life examples. It also demonstrates how parents invalidate their children's emotions. Exercises throughout the book allow you to examine your own life and parenting style to determine when and how you validate or invalidate your children. Using a notebook to take notes or to journal as you read throughout his book is a great way to interact with it.
Parents will benefit from reading this book and should notice a change in their relationship with their children as a result. I also recommend this book for teachers. Sometimes we also forget how to validate our students as we go through our hectic days. In Montessori, we aim to validate our children on a regular basis. This book can give us more tips on how to do so, without feeling too “hippie” or “New Age-y.” It is an easy read, well-divided and in familiar language.
I received a complimentary set of galleys from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my review.