July 16, 2012 · When a child expresses disappointment over not making the team, many parents will try to comfort them by saying “you shouldn’t feel that way, you’ll make it next time.” The better way to handle the situation says Melissa Cook, a counselor and author of “The Power of Validation” is to acknowledge the child’s feelings.
Cook says that validating or acknowledging the feelings of a child may sound like a simple concept, but that it’s difficult to put into practice. Cook says that when we tell a child that they shouldn’t feel sad, disappointed or angry; we are unintentionally telling them that there is something wrong with them because they feel that way. Instead we should help the child talk about their feelings.
Teaching children to trust their own feelings helps give them the strength to stand up against peer pressure.
Cook is a certified counselor, and her co-author, Karyn Hall is a certified psychologist.