We come back here on a concept already discussed: the validation of feelings.
A fundamental concept: justified or not, the mere existence of a feeling validates its existence. There is no way one could say: “No, you don’t mean that!”, “It’s nothing…”, or in fact “You shouldn’t take it like that” or “There is no reason for you to be angry / sad.”
The mere fact that the person is sad validates that there is a reason to be. Period.
And this is true as much for children as it is for adults!
Recently, I heard someone talking over the phone about a difficult situation she was living. Obviously the person she was talking to was trying to reassure her, by minimizing the issues, telling her she would make it anyway, etc… I don’t know exactly, but what I know is that after a while, the one I could hear cried: “Now, would you just let me share my complain?”
She only needed to be listened to…
Besides, accepting the feeling of the child, recognizing it, is also teaching him to have faith in how he/she feels. And if you think long term, it is fundamental. That might be what enables him to resist pressure from the group, when he feels that something is not right, instead of thinking he’s “wrong” to feel uneasy when others seem ok…
I am going ahead in my comment here, since this is more discussed in Chapter 4.
On the other hand, the limit there is the physical expression of feelings.
Rule: Any feeling is allowed, action is limited.
We have already seen methods of validation of feelings in the first chapter of How to talk so kids will listen... The next chapter of this book complements these methods, offering possible variations in situations…