All three of the wellbeing toolkits I’ve created (the Little Wise Box of Emotions for 3-6 year olds and the Reframing Your Thoughts toolkits for 6-12 year olds and teenagers) talk about the important role of validating children’s thoughts and feelings. I’d love to take the opportunity to explore this area further in this blog.
Children and young people (C&YP) are like sponges, absorbing not only the world around them but also the big mix of emotions that come with it. The simple and yet powerful act of validation can play such an important role in helping to lay the foundations for positive mental health and wellbeing.
When we acknowledge and respect C&YP’s ideas, no matter how trivial they may seem, we are sending a message that their perspective matters. This helps them to build a positive self-image of themselves and grow up knowing that their ideas have value.
Big emotions and emotional Regulation
C&YP experience a whirlwind of emotions as they navigate the complexities of growing up. Validating their feelings teaches them that ALL feelings are OK and don’t need to be supressed. Instead, we can help them to learn that it’s how they react to these feelings that is the important thing and skills, such as reframing, provide valuable tools to help with this as they navigate the inevitable ups and downs. As explored in the toolkits, validating their feelings, and offering empathy, also helps C&YP to feel understood. And feeling understood can play a vital role in helping to calm down big feelings.
Validating C&YP’s thoughts can play a key role in encouraging open communication. By fostering an environment where they feel heard and understood, we nurture the development of effective communication skills. This not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also prepares them for successful interactions in all sorts of different social settings.
Trust and Connection
Validation plays an invaluable role in building trust and connection with our children. When they feel that their thoughts and feelings are acknowledged, this helps to secure a strong emotional bond enabling C&YP to have a safe space from where they can explore the world with a sense of security and belonging.
As explored in all toolkits, effective problem solving is such a valuable skill to start developing from a young age. Empowering children to validate their own thoughts and those of others helps to lay the groundwork for problem-solving skills. This helps to nurture collaboration becoming a natural part of their approach to challenges, teaching them to explore solutions and work through conflicts in a constructive and helpful way.
Life is full of challenges, both big and small. Validating C&YP’s thoughts and feelings provides them with the tools to face challenging situations and scenarios with resilience. They learn that setbacks are a part of life, but with the right mindset, they can bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. Reframing is an invaluable tool that can help with this.
The ability to validate others’ perspectives lays the foundation for positive interactions with others. This can play an invaluable role in helping C&YP to navigate the complexities of human interactions, fostering empathy, and cultivating meaningful relationships throughout their lives.
Validation can also play an important role in supporting a child’s autonomy, allowing them to develop a sense of identity and independence. When C&YP feel empowered to make choices and express themselves, this can play a wonderful role in helping them to embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
Validating C&YP’s thoughts and feelings is such a valuable investment in their mental health wellbeing. By creating an environment where every child feels heard and understood we are helping to lay a pathway that nurtures the growing and thriving young minds as they navigate their way through life.