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  • Sarina Shirazee

Validating your child's feelings

You might not be able to validate your child’s feelings all of the time (not without practice anyway, and that’s okay) - you may slip back into dismissing them because this is what has been done generation after generation, before we had the science and evidence behind what this actually does to a child. ⠀

Let’s consider how this feels for them. If they are upset, their physiology changes - their heart rate is likely going faster, they’re breathing faster, they’re feeling hot and bothered. Not only are they thinking something is wrong, their body is telling them something is wrong. And it could be something as trivial to an adult as not receiving the kind of cup they wanted. ⠀

To then have an adult tell them there’s nothing wrong, e.g. “I’m sure you’re fine”, “Don’t be silly”, is confusing. It sends them the message that they shouldn’t trust their body’s signals. ⠀

Their reaction may seem over the top to you. That’s because their brains haven’t developed enough and they haven’t had enough life experience to tell them that what they’re experiencing isn’t a big problem. So it is a big problem to them. This needs to be acknowledged and empathised with. ⠀

An over reaction might also be a child’s way of trying to connect with you. If they’ve bumped into something and reacted as though it’s hurt, when you know logically it probably didn’t hurt, this is their way of saying they need you. They need that cuddle or time with you. They’re asking for you in ways that aren’t logical to an adult, because children don’t have adult brains.


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