I see a trend in my thinking right now. So, I’m just gonna go with it.
I love the in-humanness of Websters. It’s always cut and dry in the definitions of English terminology. Unfortunately, it’s lacking in HUMAN understanding. I’ll do my best to fill in the gaps..
Validation: The act of understanding and accepting one’s own or others’ deep emotional well-being. The process where-by a person is able to deal with and accept their own emotions caused by grief, mistreatment or abuse. To validate another’s emotions, means to allow them safe-haven when needed and keep from laying blame on the offended party. Recognizing that there are REASONS for bad behavior, allowing for the core of the problem to be safely expressed.
I know that doesn’t quite do it, so please feel free to list what your own personal definitions of validation, are.
If a child is misbehaving or throwing temper tantrums, this should not be allowed! They need to understand what respect is for others, and that included outrageous expressions whether in public or in the private home. This brings an imbalance between the roll of parent and child, by which the child gains authority over the parents, eventually, and not the other way around. Teaching self-respect and self-expression in non-violent ways, is important. You can validate a child without allowing for violent outbursts or screaming at you. That said…
It’s important for young children to be validated. In my previous post “Perfect”, I outlined some abuses I went through as a child. The one thing that echos throughout the entire post is the LACK of VALIDATION, and it’s effects on the rest of my life. To invalidate a child’s emotions or blame them for any abuse done TO them, creates such hell for even the young child. They learn, early on, that they don’t matter in this life. To a young child, this creates inner turmoil that their young minds can’t understand. Life is supposed to be safe with their parents, not threatening or even dangerous. The effects can go a couple of directions:
1) The child learns to be silent, allowing for abuse to befall them, because they feel there’s nowhere to turn for help. The abuser is the one that matters, to the young (or older) child. Or,
2) The child resorts to violent outbursts and acting out, in order to be validated.
In both instances, there is much anger in the child.
In the first example, that anger is directed INWARDLY at themselves, without fully understanding why. In the second example, the anger is directed at EVERYONE in and around them. It’s the only way they can be heard. Even with violent outbursts causing the child to be reprimanded and punished, they still act out, violently. It’s the only way they can express the grief and anger they have, inside. Understand, however, there is anger being directed INWARDLY, in both examples.
For older children who have learned these things, many go on to alcohol and drug abuse. Many become violent in society and find themselves in and out of the court system. They are looking to find validation that they matter in this life, that we see their worth. There comes a time that these children are responsible for their behavior, yes, but to understand WHY the behavior is happening will allow us to help them where possible.
Parents who come from abusive homes, might have a difficult time processing mistreatment of their children. It’s easier to ignore the mistreatment than it is to face it and protect the child. This continues one part of the cycle of abuse. It allows the victim mindset to grow in a sweet pliable mind of a child. It doesn’t belong there, people! In ignoring the abuse and dismissing it, entirely, without validating the child’s need to be heard, understood, loved and protected, parents inadvertently continue the abuse for the child. There is no where they can feel safe. For the introverted child, this can manifest in many ways. These are clues into what is happening to that child.
1) A young child might harm him/herself in different ways, included in that but not limited to, are: Hitting, biting, gouging at face, picking at skin, banging their head onto floors or walls. These might be accompanied by inexplicable bouts of rage, and NOT that which is being brought about by being told “no”. One is an expression of severe inner turmoil, the other is just a normal child-like temper tantrum. It’s important that parents keep from confusing the 2…
2) A Child who is past the potty-training stage might willfully urinate him or herself while in the presence of the parent. Some will also defecate. This is not to be confused with the occasional “accident” where by the child has been playing and waited too long to make it to the bathroom.
Too many times, parents are too quick to INVALIDATE the child’s only avenue to process the abuse, or to try to get someone to notice them. For the young child, these outward expressions are all they have to tell us that SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE, IS GRAVELY WRONG! For example: When a child has an inexplicable bout of rage, and in turn bites him/herself, the parent might choose that the BEHAVIOR isn’t wanted, and bites the child themselves, in order to curb that behavior in the child. The parent invalidated the child in doing so, without recognizing that HUGE warning sign that should NEVER be ignored or punished. There is something WRONG! The parent needs to #1, PROTECT THE CHILD by investigating the cause. Sometimes a child-psychologist will be needed to make the causes known.
Understand, folks, THERE MOST DEFINITELY IS A CAUSE!
Do the child a favor. Stop the abuse. Recognize the warnings that your child is giving you. Validate your young ones and make sure they know beyond a shadow of a doubt they are SAFE!