Happy Friday! Hopefully you are enjoying your week so far and continuing to have a wonderful summer. This week I decided to change things up again and send another resource rather than "Inspiring Instagram" account because of the huge positive response from parents.
So this Friday, I wanted to share one of the best-kept secrets in supporting teenagers--validation. As I've been supporting more and more teens, I've realized that many parents and educators are missing this one really simple tool when connecting with and supporting teens who are upset or emotionally charged.
Most adults have a tendency to immediately try and fix the situation for their teenager. And in many ways this makes sense. As adults, we have more experience to draw from and often can see the bigger picture whereas teens can't. We also don't want our children or students to be upset about a situation and we want to help. Moreover, it's how most people react to each other anyways. If you are upset about something at work and share it with your partner or friend, most of the time people will first respond with advice or how it relates to something they have gone through.
However, when you immediately begin to try and fix an emotionally charged situation for your child or student, this will often result in your teenager shutting down, not wanting to talk to you, feeling more disempowered, or blowing up even more.
Many adults miss the number one step in talking with teens who are upset about a teacher, a peer, a rule, or some other situation. This step is tovalidate their emotions first and foremost. Before giving them advice, trying to fix it, or telling them what you think and how you would handle the situation, validate their experience. This can look and sound a few different ways, such as:
"I hear that you are really frustrated/angry/upset"
"I can see that you seem to be really frustrated/angry/upset"
"I can understand that you are frustrated/angry/upset"
"Yeah it sucks and I don't blame you for being frustrated/angry/upset" etc
Watch the video below to find out more and I invite you to practice validatingthe teens in your life this week!
One of the most difficult things in life is being the parent or teacher of a teenager so know that you are amazing and I honor all that you are already doing. I hope this helps and would love to hear your thoughts, if this was helpful, and how it goes.
I am a teen-empowerment coach. I work with teen girls, ages 14-17, who struggle with self-acceptance, perfectionism, seeking attention from others, and deep sadness or anger.