According to the Oxford Dictionary, validation is defined as the “recognition or affirmation that a person of their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.” So why is validation an important tool for parents and caregivers? Your validation shows your child that they and their feelings or opinions are important for you to listen and understand. As your child gets older and they start making their own choices that have real consequences to them such as substance use, using validation will help your child by reducing their emotional reactions and increase their willingness to talk about their feelings or opinions.
One way to practice validation is to stop what you are doing and think about the situation your child is in. As parents and caregivers, it is crucial that we do not react or respond with strong emotions. Instead, we need to take a moment with a few deep breaths and think about what conversation goals we want to achieve during these tough conversations with our children.