As a parent, there's nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing your child in pain. Whether they are feeling sad, frustrated, or angry, it's natural to want to do whatever you can to make them feel better. But sometimes, our well-intentioned attempts to fix their problems can actually do more harm than good. In fact, one of the most invalidating things we can say to our child is 'I'm sorry you feel that way.' Instead, it's important to practice being present with our child amid their emotions and simply letting our presence be validating. Read on to learn why this approach is so important and how you can put it into practice.
"I'm sorry you feel that way"
Saying something like "I'm sorry you feel that way" can be well-intentioned, but it can also be perceived as dismissive by your child. It's important to remember that your child's emotions are valid, no matter how you feel about them. Simply being present with your child and allowing them to express their emotions can be incredibly validating.
It's also important to practice staying with your child amid their emotions, even if you don't understand what they are feeling. This doesn't mean matching their emotions, but rather listening and hearing them in the midst of their big emotions. This can be difficult, especially if your child is upset or angry, but it's an important part of being a supportive and nurturing parent.
Just be There in the Moment
By showing up for your child in this way, you are showing them that their emotions are important and that you care about how they feel. You are showing them that you are holding space for their feelings. Their feelings matter and are important. This can help your child feel seen and heard, which is crucial for their emotional development.