When you validate others, it means that you express and understanding of them and share how their thoughts and feelings make sense in the situation. It does not mean that you agree with them, just that you understand. Validation is one of the building blocks of engaging in effective relationships.
Use the following guidelines to validate others.
Seeking the inherent value in others is essential to validation. Adopt an attitude of acceptance toward others. Demonstrate your caring and concern, and let others know they are important to you.
We ask questions to help clarify others’ experience. Ask specific questions about what others are feeling. Ask about thoughts and beliefs. Be genuinely curious about what is behind behaviors. Use questions to draw out others’ experience.
Listen and Reflect
Listen to others’ answers to your questions and reflect back the major themes. Invite others to confirm your understanding (or lack of understanding). Continue to question, listen, and reflect for clarity.
Identify with Others
Work to see the world through the eyes of others. How do relationships and the world make sense to them? Seek to understand others, identifying when you can and accepting differences when you cannot.
Talk about others’ feelings and how they affect them from their perspective (not how it affects you). Acknowledging the impact of others’ experience on them demonstrates understanding.
Attend to Nonverbals
Notice others’ nonverbal communication to give you information about their experience. Do they look open or closed? Are they making eye contact? Read facial expressions and body language to identify feelings, and then check out your observations with others for accuracy.
You don't have to agree to validate!
Some parents hesitate to validate because they don't want to condone or agree with an unhealthy teen behavior. But, validation is actually about communicating that you understand WHY your teen FELT a certain way so that you can open the door for communication and problem-solve HOW to respond in a more healthy way to a difficult situation next time.
Validation is the #1 key to communication success!