Listen to your child and validate their emotions.

What is the first thing we say when a child is crying? “Don’t cry.” Our own difficulties tolerating our children’s pain may lead a parent to unwittingly invalidate their child’s feelings and experiences. It takes courage to ask “What happened?” and to validate by saying “I bet that hurt” or “You must feel so disappointed.” We worry that it will escalate their bad feelings or the negative situation. In fact, the opposite occurs, when a child feels heard and validated they are able to regroup and calm themselves more easily.