Do you ever go home upset about something and your spouse tries to tell you what to do? His/her intent is to make you feel better but inside you want to scream. This is how children feel when they are not given true empathy and validation. Here is an example: “you really wanted that ice cream cone.” It is that simple. Empathy is mirroring (repeating) a person’s feelings or statements about how they feel (even if you think it is the silliest reason in the world to be upset). When we do this, a child is able to process her feelings and move on. She doesn’t carry the resentment — She feels heard. Here is another example – “you were really upset when that boy said that to you.” You didn’t try to fix her problem or even make it better – you validated her feelings in the moment and allowed her to feel. You also sent out a vibe that he is capable and competent to handle this feeling and situation, instead of seeing him as a “victim.”

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