Validation is the recognition and acceptance that a person's feelings and thoughts are true and real for him or her, regardless of whether or t those feelings make logical sense. This seemingly simple concept can determine whether a child has self-esteem or t, whether a child will grow to become an independent adult or a dependent one, and whether a child will be able to process feelings in a healthy way or express his or her emotions by throwing tantrums and acting out. Children who are validated feel reassured that they will be accepted and loved regardless of their feelings, while children who are validated less frequently become more susceptible to peer pressure and are more likely to develop behavioral problems. The Power of Validation breaks validation skills into practical steps parents can use to respond to their child's internal experiences in healthy ways without necessarily condoning their child's behaviors. Readers learn to pay attention to their child, ackwledge the child's thoughts and feelings, and help their child through the process of developing an identity of his or her own. By validating difficult emotions, but disallowing negative actions children may take in response to these emotions, parents can help their kids develop essential self-validating skills for the future that will foster self-esteem and emotional intelligence in adulthood.
Karyn D. Hall, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in practice for over thirty years. Originally trained as a child psychologist, she now specializes in dialectical behavior therapy and is the director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, TX. Melissa H. Cook, LPC, is a dialectical behavior therapist in Houston, TX, specializing in eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.