"Validating" means giving your child or teen that all important, and seemingly elusive, message that "Your feelings make sense.I not only am giving you permission to feel what you feel but I am also welcoming and accepting your feelings in a non-judgmental way.” Validating your child coveys deep empathy.This will help build your child's self-esteem and reduce his or her defiant behavior, which is often the languange choice of children who do not feel understood..

To help your child feel understood, it means you keeping your ego and desire to lecture in check.

Validating your child's feelings also means that you don’t judge him or her.

Instead, you simply acknowledge his or her feelings. As I share with my clients, the best discipline you can give your child is having the self-discipline to be patient, empathetic, and loving---especially when he or she is not acting lovable.

Contrary to what many frustrated parents may think, particularly during those stressful times of conflicts, validating feelings is not condoning bad choices or giving in to defiant behavior.

• Being sensitive to, and acknowledging how difficult and even embarrassing it is to be “different” when he/she wants to be like everyone else.

• Acknowledging the problems in his/her life and that they matter.

Many children and teens I counsel repeatedly share that their parents minimize or dismiss their struggles.

In my book 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child, I wrote, and continue to strongly believe, that understanding your child is just as important, if not even more important, than loving him or her.

Just as there are many divorced people who may still love their ex-spouse but never felt understood by him or her, there are many children and teens who feel loved but not understood.