Validation is letting your teen know that you ‘get it.’ It means you’re taking her feelings seriously, not judging her, and can see things from her perspective.
Unknowingly, parents often minimize their teens’ feelings. They may say something like, “Don’t worry about it,” or “Calm down, it’s not really that big a deal.” And while in their hearts they’re trying help, it may make her feel like her feelings aren’t important and she’s not being heard.
If you’re teen is angry, acknowledge the angry feeling. You can say, “I can see you upset. I know you really want to go to that party.” Validating doesn’t mean you agree with being said. You’re simply saying I hear you.
Let’s say your teen is upset because you won’t extend her curfew and allow her to come home at 1am like her friend’s parents. You validate by saying, “I know you really want to hang out with your friends, but 1am is just too late for your to be out.” You are saying, I hear you but I don’t agree.
Is she going to be upset or disappointed? Probably, but you may have diffused the situation a bit by at least hearing her point of view and letting her know you understand how she can be upset.
Here is a beautiful scene from Disney/Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ that demonstrates validation: