Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Validating Your Child's Emotions

Validating Your Child's Emotions

Overview

Emotional validation is recognizing someone else's feelings or needs without judgment. You don't have to agree with someone's perspective to validate their emotions. You just have to show the person that you understand how they could feel the way they do.

Why is it important to validate your child's emotions?

When you validate your child's emotions, you can:

  • Help your child feel seen, understood, and valued.
  • Help your child learn to identify their emotions and work through them.
  • Show your child that you're someone they can trust with their feelings.
  • Teach your child to be more accepting of negative feelings. This can help them stay calm and handle those feelings when they happen.

Validating your child's emotions can also help your child learn self-compassion. When people have self-compassion, they are more likely to be able to deal with adversity and setbacks in a healthy way.

Validating your child's emotions

It's important to show your child that you understand how they're feeling and that you're willing to listen. Here are some things you can do to validate your child's emotions.

  • Really listen.

    Show your child that you're interested in what they're feeling and why. Here's how:

    • Focus only on your child, without distraction.
    • Show that you're listening by using your body language and voice. You can sit at eye level with your child, lean in toward them, and nod your head as they talk. You can say things like "Mmmhmmm," and, "Oh, I see what you mean."
    • Tell your child that you understand what they're feeling and why. You can say things like, "I see. You got angry when your brother ripped your drawing. That must be so frustrating since you worked really hard on it."
  • Remember that your child's problems are as real to them as yours are to you.

    Something that seems small to you might be a very big thing to your child. For example, fitting in with the crowd might seem less important to you now as an adult. But for your child, being seen as "different" or not fitting in may feel like a big problem.

  • Be genuine.

    Kids can often tell when adults mean what they say, versus when they're just saying the "right words." You may not actually understand why a misplaced sweatshirt deserves a huge meltdown. But you probably do understand the frustration of losing something that's important to you. Focus on that.

  • Let your child feel the emotion fully.

    Telling someone to "stop worrying" or to "relax" when they're upset usually doesn't work very well. Plus, telling your child not to feel a certain way is like saying, "What you're feeling is wrong or not acceptable." It doesn't help your child learn to recognize and deal with difficult emotions. Instead, it teaches them to avoid and suppress those feelings. Try this:

    • Instead of saying: "Don't be silly. You don't hate Eli! He's your best friend!"
    • You can say: "Wow. You must be really mad at Eli. I bet it's hard to feel so angry with someone you play with every day."
  • Try not to "fix" the problem to make the emotion go away.

    Help your child learn to identify and work through feelings and problems on their own. It's easy to want to protect your child from having difficult feelings. But these feelings are a part of life. When you don't try to spare your child from them, you are helping your child learn skills for handling them.

  • Remember that every feeling is acceptable, but every behavior is not.

    Validating your child's feelings doesn't mean you have to give in every time your child wants something. It also doesn't mean allowing your child to behave in inappropriate ways. For example, it's helpful to show understanding for your child's anger at a playground pal. It's not okay to let your child express their anger by pushing the friend or saying mean things.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details