Sunday, February 7, 2010

Positive Discipline Tool Card - Validate Feelings

1) Allow children to have their feelings so they can learn they are capable of dealing with them.
2) Don’t fix, rescue, or try to talk children out of their feelings.
3) Validate their feelings: “I can see you are really (angry, upset, sad).”
4) Then keep your mouth shut and have faith in your children to work it through.

I really love this tool card. As a single dad, I need this reminder because feelings are not my strong suit. Often times the mother will be the one that provides emotional support for the children. Dad usually jumps in with something profound like "Rub some dirt on it, you will feel better in a minute."

This tool card is all about allowing our children to have their feelings in a loving, supportive way. The important part is allowing our children to have their feelings without feeling like they will lose our love.

I know there have been many times when I have actually told my children to stop having their feelings. "Stop being so dramatic." "That's nothing to be upset about." "Stop that right now! There's no reason to be angry!"

I like the line in this tool card..."I can see you are really (angry, upset, sad)." Obviously this line can be delivered in a condescending way, but if we sincerely validate our child's feelings, I think they will feel empowered. They may not even know why they are (angry, upset, sad). I know I've had days like that. Sometimes that's just how you feel. People (and kids) have different ways of dealing with their feelings. So it will be interesting to see what happens when we allow our children to have their feelings and deal with them in their own way. I would be interested to hear some of your experiences in the coming week.

The following is a music video with clips from one of my favorite movies "Peaceful Warrior". I have also included a quote from the author of the book by the same title.

"As leaves turn colors and Winter whispers from just around the corner, my thoughts turn to the changeable emotional weather inside each of us. Emotions are, after all, the weather patterns of the body; feelings rise and fall like waves crashing upon the shore; emotions pass through us like a parade of visitors, like clouds carried on the wind. We all have the power to influence our emotions, but not to control them: We can distract ourselves when we're feeling worried or anxious; we can try to see a person or situation from a more compassionate or humorous perspective; we can sit or stand tall, relax our body, and breath slowly and deeply. In this way we may influence our feelings. Such strategies may or may not work. That's why it's called influence and not control." Dan Millman


Jess said...

This is one I am working on at the moment too! Its so easy to say stop crying, stop being silly, esp when your tired, over the tears (over the day) and feel your stress levels rising with the rising noise levels. I have done it. But now I am really aiming to validate her feelings and allow myself to sit with those feelings instead of rush her through them. Ironically when I do try and rush her to resolve them by such comments she just gets more and more upset. thanks for the reminder. (:

Anonymous said...

What I'm learning this week is that it's important to validate feelings - even when dealing with a display of feelings that's stemming from the mistaken goal of undue attention (thanks for that pointer to the mistaken goals chart!). There's likely a real feeling underneath the annoying display.