Having grown up in an Asian culture where emotions are hardly spoken about, the topic on ‘validation of emotions’ did not come naturally for me. It was only after knowing social workers, a psychologist, and reading Dan Siegel’s ‘The Whole-Brain Child’ was I introduced to this whole notion.
The opportunity came for me to apply this strategy was when my 2.5 year old boy avoided me after he got scolded for deliberately screaming when he did not get what he wanted. When emotions were settled down the next day, I spoke to him while he was playing in his mini bathtub. It is easier to speak to a child when he’s engaged in some activity (strategy from ‘The Whole Brain Child’).
“Are you angry with Mama?” I asked (naming the emotion to tame it). He paused. I could clearly see his brain gears were turning. Then he nodded his head. I went on to say sorry if I was unable to meet his needs back then, and he could have been tired, hence the tantrum (recounting the story is another strategy).
“Mama angry. Didi angry.” He replied. Then he chuckled and smiled at me. I inferred he was telling me we were both angry with each other, and maybe he avoided me out of fear of my anger.
After that simple conversation, things were back to normal. The relationship was restored. Validation of emotions – it really works!