Tag Archives: validation

Be Respectful, Don’t Spoil

If you follow our <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/marin8d&#8221; target=”_blank”>YouTube Channel</a> we often talk about parenting that doesn’t require spanking, punishment or threats. We don’t approach whining or throwing fits as bad behavior that need suppressing, but rather an opportunity to validate our child’s feelings so they can move forward and learn how to deal with life’s hardships. Many of our followers ask how this parenting approach can not only be done, but result in a cooperative and unspoiled child.

The Process of Validation:
I myself struggled with the concept when initially incorporating it into our parenting habits. It goes against how I was raised and what society has told me would only breed a spoiled and difficult child. My perception changed when the results of our determination came to fruition.

During the summer we started going to the pool after which we’d come home and shower. Love (our toddler) did not like this one bit. She put up a huge fuss about it. Why would she want to get wet again when she’s already been in the pool and gotten out?

The first day she rejected the shower. She didn’t want to take her swim suit off and she didn’t want to go near the bathroom. Instead of “forcing her” by picking her up and putting her in the tub, I followed her around and validated her feelings. She was whining the whole time. I would genuinely listen then confirm my understanding by saying things like, “You didn’t want to take a shower because you are already dry?“…”Did you have something else that you were planning on doing instead of taking a shower?”… “Did you not care to get wet again?”

I continue to validate her in this way without imposing any negative labels or emotions on her, almost in an asking kind of way. Eventually and amazingly, she responds. I’ll say, “Did you not want to shower?” and she’ll say, “Yes.” Or “Were you done being wet today?” and she’ll confirm, “Done“. Once she stops whining and starts responding, I know she feels like I understand her.

It’s important to really exude the energy that you want to understand, so they know you are aware and acknowledge their conflict, and are not only trying to manipulate them into your way.

Once she’s been validated I start to explain to her why its my preference that she showers, “I know it’s not very appealing to shower right now, but it’s important to me that you do because the chlorine on your skin is harmful if not rinsed off.” I continue, although it seems like she doesn’t understand. “It’s just something we do, shower after swimming.”

There is no fear (if you don’t…) or “fixing” (lets just do it real quick) nor bribing (I’ll get you candy if you do) involved. Just explaining why it’s important to me. This all took less than 10 minutes…

Before I knew it she grabbed her bath toys, threw them in the tub, pulled off her swim suit and got in on her own. The next day I had to do the same process for less than 5 minutes and we’ve never had any fuss since then. She now automatically goes to the tub every time we return home from the pool.

Kids feel energy more than we give them credit for. Just like if you were to have a problem and wanted to vent, you want your friend to tell you, “I understand, that must be difficult.” Instead of, “Well, just get over it.” or “You know what you should do…

We all need to feel validated. Once we do, it’s easy to feel cared for and open up to understanding and validating that other person’s point of view in return, even if it doesn’t coincide with your perspective.

Often this approach seems inefficient because we live such busy lives… Who has the time to follow their 18 month around explaining things that they don’t seem to understand? What I have found is that it only takes a couple times of genuine validation and then the “issue” is resolved without any more fuss, stress or manipulation. It’s been well worth the effort instead of having to fight about it EVERY time, resulting in a negative, uncooperative experience for both you and your child.

Validation becomes easier for both parent and child with practice. Eventually our daughter just knew when she wasn’t going to get her way. She’d whine about something once, as if she were on the verge of a full blown tantrum and all we’d have to ask is, “You really didn’t want to leave did you?” To which she’d respond, “Leave“, as she willingly allowed us to strap her into the stroller. We’d validate her, “I see. It was a lot of fun playing here, wasn’t it? We have to eat lunch though, so we’re going home for now.” Usually she’d confirm her understanding by repeating the words, “I see” or “home“.

Some last words on validation:
Try to change the perception of a disgruntled child being a spoiled child. With your loving guidance, they grow and learn to accept negative emotions and circumstances, learning how to deal with them and express them in a healthy manner, rather than suppressing them until the pot eventually boils over.  Remember that your child is new to this world and their understanding of it is completely different from you. Try to reassess your expectations of him and continue to persist with patience and acceptance as he goes through stages of testing, resisting, expressing, learning, growing and flourishing.

Lastly, if validation doesn’t seem to work, check yourself. Sometimes there are underlying issues that need to be solved when on the surface it simply looks like an unhappy, bratty child. Other times a child is not given enough autonomy. Often it is something the parents overlook or are not consistent with.

An example of this is our two year old’s extreme whining. No matter how much we validate, her whining persists. First, it’s important to remember that whining is not a bad thing, but when it appears her whining about spilled food isn’t halted after some validation and cleaning, there must be an underlying frustration. What we found is that she had subtly tried to tell us the food had spilled, among many other things that went unheard. Whining was the only way to get our attention and though we validated her upset, we still asked her to use her words to let us know. How frustrating must that feel for her when she attempted to let us know, but we were the ones not paying attention?

She may not talk, but she certainly understands when we don’t understand. Work together with your child as a team. We have found when there is no ranking, “I’m the boss cause I’m the parent“, there is no power struggle, only caring and teamwork left to make it through.


Terrible Toddlers

Assuming you have raised your child with love, there is no reason why they would Want to upset you. I am making this statement today with the upmost emphasis because I for one, struggle at times not taking my child’s acting out personally. We, the grown ups, live in what we often perceive as a dog eat dog world. Whether or not that is partially true is another topic, but one thing is for sure, our children don’t have that perception yet. Not, at least, until well passed 5 or 6 years of age. They start off with needs, learn preferences and wants, and then develop a sense of their interaction and influence on the surrounding world. Needs are easily met with a little adjustment to our lives, and I am far too naive, with children too young to speak of developing self awareness in this modern environment.  I would like to comment for now on the often troublesome period involving wants.

Desire hits us smack in the face like the sweet smell of freshly baked bread. At a particular point we realize that we have options, choices, a plethora of outcomes awaiting us. Suddenly our simple needs of mom and dad’s affection and care have been flooded by an overwhelming sense of desire. Of course they seem to be in the same general category as our original needs and so they are treated as such. This is where the confusion sets in. As parents we do not recall that transition and hence aren’t very understanding of our child’s seemingly brattish behavior. We try to suppress their outbreaks, condemn their upset rather than validate it, and worst of all, we take their acting out personally, forgetting that they are dealing the best they can with the myriad of forces pulling at their psyche. The ludicrously funny thing is that if we stopped our futile attempts of deflecting their emotions and took a few minutes to grasp their perspective and recognize the underlying needs of affection and care that still exist, we would find ourselves well equipped to live harmoniously with our little ones as they attempt to find that self awareness in the world that often evades even us “grown ups”.

Rest assured my patience with this understanding is tested often, especially when my 25 month old wants to shake my 2 month old’s hand vigorously, something we have repeatedly explained not to do.  Using the dog as a bed, pulling out toilet paper, and screaming playfully at the top of her lungs while others try to sleep, my child clearly is trying to upset me right? Wrong. She wants something. More often than not, she’s looking for attention, someone to explore HER world with. And rightly so. At her age kids are primed for development, skill building, and social interaction. What I have to choose is whether to condemn her for making my life harder, or work with understanding to reach common ground on which we can mesh our lives peacefully. Luckily at this age they also gain an understanding of time and simple concepts, at least in my experience, that can aid you in arranging agreements. Please realize though that it is not for us to expect them to understand or like a given scenario, though they often will if you give them sincere validation of there perspectives. How else is a child to develop such skills except through our example?

On a final note, find patience for yourself. This is not an easy perceptual shift for us dogs fighting for the perceived scraps day in and day out. If you find yourself about to boil over, take a few minutes to inwardly explore what preconditioned judgements you are putting on your little bundles of joy. Once the blame is removed from your mind you will be able to address them in a manner that empowers their growth into conscious, loving beings.

Thank you for your perspectives on the matter, as I dearly love to hear other’s experiences,