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Author Topic: Validation and Teens  (Read 695 times)
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we can all evolve into someone beautiful

« on: March 07, 2015, 06:00:16 PM »


*Excerpted from"I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better"

By Gary and Joy Lundberg

How Validation Works with Teens

It's never too late!

If you did not use validation skills with your children when they were younger, you may think it is too late.  Not so.  Any parent can begin today and enjoy the satisfying rewards it will bring--almost immediately.  Even if your teen seems to in that common category of "troubled," your use of validation can cause his or her self=esteem and feeling of being understood to rise dramatically.  Too often the thing that leads a teen into inappropriate activities is his need to feel accepted and loved for who he is, as he is.  Through validation, parents have the power to give teens what they might otherwise seek from misguided peers.  Start now, their future may depend upon giving the teens the attention they so desperately need.

If we want our children to listen to us, we must first be willing to listen to them. "It's amazing how much better we hear with our mouths shut."  Our anxiety level seems to increase when a child becomes a teen, and we feel duty bound to preach almighty sermons to them with even greater intensity than when they were younger.  We need to relax a little, reinforce values in the right way and at the right time, and mostly listen a lot.

Help them to start talking

Some teenagers don't seem to want to communicate with their parents.  If they have not been brought up knowing it is safe to express feelings, it can be difficult to open the communication door. Instead of constantly criticizing start making positive comments wherever and whenever you can. When communication begins and validation is used, problems can then begin to be resolved by the child.

When talking to our teenagers we often begin by asking them a question.  We need to remember that sometimes their first answer is given to test the waters... .to see if it is safe to share feelings.  When they find that they are listened to, they can proceed with the real answer to your question.

It is important to realize that teens, like all people, need to be able to talk at their own speed.  Many times parents ask questions with anxiety or anger in their voice.  That does not create a safe environment for the answer to come out.  

Parents need to learn the value of silence while they wait for an answer.

Reinforce Values

Validation does not change family boundaries or values.  To the contrary, it strengthens and reinforces them by opening the way for the child to express feelings about them without criticism. It is a vitally important process for a teenager in gaining his own personal value system.  Throwing out PMA (positive mental attitude) statements at an upset teen is not the way to go.  Imagine telling your son who just had a fight with his best friend to "cheer up son, things can't be that bad". Instead ask validating questions and be willing to listen, endure silence, validate even his most shocking expressions such as "I'd like to just punch him in the face".  Haven't most of us had that feeling before?  We can validate that we understand how he would feel like doing that.

Avoid the lectures... .they don't work. Teens eyes glaze over and they don't register any incoming information during a lecture--no matter how many times you repeat the same information. When a teen recalls an occasion when he was lectured what he is going to remember is that he didn't feel heard and it was just another time when mom and dad didn't listen.

Believe in them

Teens will express ideas and views that appear to be in opposition to family values.  :)on't start defending or "selling" the family values all over again, thinking they need to make a strong case against your teens opposing viewpoint. You don't have to agree with their thinking--just listen and try to understand where they're coming from.  In the process of speaking their minds they will often see the folly of their own thinking... .even if they don't express their realization, they are likely to act upon it.  When we argue our case they must switch into defense mode, which only strengthens their views, however far from accurate they may be. The more we preach the more they will feel compelled to keep defending that point of view through their actions.  Validation shows that we believe in them and their common sense.

Sometimes we push so hard to get our children to behave the way we think they ought to that we drive a wedge between them and us.  We are so afraid they are going to make a wrong choice that we immediately  instruct them.

It is important to remember that everyone has the right to choose.  When we take that "right" away by telling them what to do before they even have a chance  to consider what is best for them, we literally force them into choosing the opposite.  They are not going to give up their right, even if it means making a wrong choice.  


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we can all evolve into someone beautiful

« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 09:49:27 AM »


*Excerpted from"I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better"

By Gary and Joy Lundberg

Discipline with validation

You may be thinking,"... .but what about our family boundaries and rules?" There is no question that they are vitally important and can be enforced right along with the use of validation.  Effective boundaries are set by being kind, gentle, respectful, and firm.

Consider this situation: Your teen, John, comes home after curfew.  You are concerned about his safety and whereabouts because he did not call. You have waited up and are worked up over all things you imagine could have happened to him so we fail to validate the child.  Ideally, we would like John to validate us when he finally walks in the door by saying "Oh, Dad, you must have been so worried and tired.  I'm sorry to keep you waiting." Give it up... .it won't happen. At least not until they learn how to do it by experiencing our validating them.

So how would you validate John in this situation?  How about "I've been worried about you son. What happened"... .said in a calm and caring tone.

Then give him time to respond, and listen. You care about John and you want him to know that. It doesn't mean you do away with family values or rules to appease him. No. That would be the opposite of caring.

Suppose John says "After the game we went to Joel's house to watch a video.  I just didn't realize it was getting so late." You could validate by saying "I understand you were with your friends having a good time; nevertheless, the rule is you are to be home by the agreed upon time. Do you understand?" He will likely answer, "yes" and may even apologize. Conclude the conversation by saying "I'm glad your home safe, Good night son."

The next time John is going out make sure you both understand what time he is to be home.  If he is late again you may want to try what I did. When he didn't come home well beyond the designated hour, I decided to go get him.  I didn't know where his date lived (my mistake). I called one of his friends and got the information.  I drove there and found him and his date sitting in his car in front of her house.  I walked up to the window, tapped on it and gently yet firmly said "Come on home now, son." He quickly took the girl to the door and followed me home.

When we got home John said "How could you do that? I'm so embarrassed." I calmly validated and reaffirmed the rule by saying, "I understand that's embarrassing.  I hope I don't have to do it again.  The rule is that you will be home by the agreed upon time.  :)o you understand?" He answered "yes" and we said goodnight.  No grounding, no shouting.  He was rarely late after that.

When something important comes up your teen must understand that he/she must call well before the curfew to extend time.  Otherwise you will assume there is a problem and you will go find them. Keep in mind that to reinforce boundaries effectively you must be kind, gentle, respectful and firm.

If breaking curfew becomes a habit and you'd rather not go searching for your child you may want to establish a consequence--some ordeal that is unpleasant and has a good outcome.  An ordeal is a task that is extremely inconvenient.  It is not a punishment. Punishment has no good end in and of itself, whereas, if a child is assigned a purposeful task or consequence of misbehaving, he not only overcomes the misbehavior but learns something or accomplishes some good from the ordeal. An appropriate ordeal from breaking curfew might be that he must wash, dry, and wax the car at 6:30 am the next morning.  The ordeal must be inconvenient and difficult enough to exceed the degree of disobedience.
<br/>:)o not mention the ordeal earlier as a threat.  If you let him know in advance what will happen if he is late, he may decide it will be worth the ordeal.  Only after he arrives late and you have listened to him with understanding and restated the rule about when he is to be home will you tell him about the "ordeal": "I understand, and to help you remember the importance of being home at the agreed upon time,  you are to wake up at 6:30 in the morning and wash, dry, and wax the car." When he complains about the time he must get up... .validate... "I know that's early and it will be tough; nevertheless, it must be done at 6:30".  The inconvenient hour, as well as the labor, will make the impression. If he asks "why so early" repeat your earlier statement "this is to help you remember the importance of being home at the agreed upon time."

Punishment, such as grounding, rarely works. The "ordeal" will accomplish something good... .a clean car.  Just remember to validate his feelings, be kind, gentle, respectful, and firm.  Always clearly state the rule, ie., "The rule is, you are to be home at 11pm."  Will it be inconvenient for you to get up at 6:30 to make sure it happens?  Yes.  It is worth it in the long run to not worry and be frustrated with your child's continued disobedience. He will learn discipline that will help him become a responsible adult by learning responsibility while gaining self worth.

Control Yourself

Validation improves the relationship between parents and teens.  There is a mistake parents make as they begin to use validation. They think that after they have given their child the chance to express their feelings, and they have validated those feelings, they can bombard the child with a volley of verbal virtues.  That is not the time to teach. If necessary, calmly and concisely restate the family rules, do not give sermons. Remember... .all the validating you do will be lost and meaningless if the conversation ends with a lecture.

Silence can be validating

Different validating approaches can be used for different situations.  Loving silence, not just matter-of-fact or indifferent silence, silence accompanied by a visible physical expression of concern, warmth, understanding and love can be highly effective.  If your daughter is sobbing... .sit next to her and hold her hand while she cries, stroke her hair, gently rub her back, wipe away her tears... no words are needed.  If she feels cared about, not judged, and validated through your presence and touch she may decide to talk to you about what is causing her to cry.  You can then verbally validate.  If she doesn't want to talk about it... that's ok... .she has been validated already.

They can make wise choices

Teens need our expressions of confidence in their ability to think a problem through and make a wise choice.  Get in the habit of asking "what do you think?".  :)on't slip and tell your teen what you believe the wisest choice to make will be. That will almost always push your child back into defending an unwise choice.  The values and lessons you have taught through the years are inside. Your teen just needs a chance to think about them and even challenge them.  Most likely, if your child is not forced by you into defending his or her thinking, he or she will be able to process the pros and cons and make better choices.

Teenagers are intelligent people, and given the chance, they can come up with good ways to solve their own problems. The process of validation offers them the chance to think a problem through by talking about it freely without interruption, criticism, or lectures.  It is interesting to see what good ideas and solutions they can come up with when they don't have to defend their position because a parent is interfering in their thinking process. Allowing them the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills will go a long way toward helping them become responsible adults.

Begin today

Sit down at dinner tonight with your teen... .start a conversation regarding a current event... .ask them their thoughts about it.  Validate their thoughts... ."Hmmm, that's an interesting perspective I hadn't considered." Refrain from giving your own opinion, listen and validate. Genuinely consider what he is saying even if he doesn't open up and continue the discussion. If feeling heard and understood by you is a new feeling for him it may take a few times before he realizes your sincerity. It will happen if you keep validating and trying to understand.  It is only in this kind of atmosphere that he will begin to value your opinion.

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