Considering: Why is trying to talk children out of how they feel a bad idea?


My son started kindergarten and doesn't like writing his name. How should I think about this?

I do not agree with the current trend of validating every single feeling a child might have. I think it leads to entitled adults who think that their feelings are above everything else, adults who think they have the right not to be hurt or offended, ever.

There's a difference between acknowledging a child's feelings ("I understand how you feel and why you feel like that"), and telling them it is OK to feel like that when it isn't.

It is OK to feel hurt when someone insulted you. It is OK to feel sad when your friend moves to another town. It is OK to feel anger when you see someone abusing somebody else.

It is not OK to feel envy of your friends toys. It is not OK to feel rage because you didn't get cake for dessert. And it is not OK to feel apathy because you had to write your name 5 times back at school.

Sure, it's not easy for a child to discern when it is OK to feel some way, and when it isn't. That's why we parents are here: to help them learn.

What about the "bad" feelings of the child? Should they be mirrored or not? What do studies say in this regard?

  • What do you mean by mirrored and what do you count as a "bad" feeling? A bad feeling could be aggressiveness and rage or feeling sad and powerless.
    – skymningen
    Feb 7, 2017 at 9:40
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    @skymningen in this case, I'm guessing OP means sad and powerless, as is implied by clicking on all the links provided. Feb 7, 2017 at 9:54
  • I think this could be an interesting question, but the exact wording isn't clear enough as it stands.
    – Erik
    Feb 7, 2017 at 12:40
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    OP's "quoted OP" here. It seems like @AquariusTheGirl is of the opinion that parents need to mirror their children's feelings, as explained in the accepted answer for OP's first linked question ("Why is trying ..."). I am of the opinion that children's feelings are sometimes justified and sometimes not, as explained in the quoted part of my answer (you can check the full answer to the second question "My son started..." for context). OP is asking if the concept of mirroring applied to children, makes this kind of distinction.
    – walen
    Feb 7, 2017 at 17:35
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    Goggled this definition which fits my knowledge. // Mirroring is a therapeutic technique where you repeat back to a client, usually in your own words but sometimes word for word, the idea that has just been expressed. It can literally be as simple as: Client: “I felt hurt and confused.” Therapist: “You felt hurt and confused.” // So mirroring doesn't imply that you approve of the feelings just that you acknowledge what the feelings are. It basically is a technique to show that you are listening and not just dismissing the conversation out of hand.
    – MaxW
    Feb 7, 2017 at 19:52