Scott Schimmel 0:00
One of the most important things that a kid needs is validation from peers and from adults. Welcome to another episode of The You School podcast. I'm Scott Schimmel. Last week, I was delivering this professional development training to a local, private high school, and the topic, for the entire year, has been around two key ingredients that need to exist inside of a school and a family. And that would be one connection. And the second would be belonging, students need to feel like they're connected to the adults, and the peers in their school in order to feel safe, to learn, to grow, to be engaged, a whole host of things. And connection, by and large from a student, if you're sitting there and you're thinking, if you're are a student- student connection, is your perspective, your experience of the other people. Do you know them? Do you know the adults, your teachers, your coaches, the administrators, and friends? Do you know them? Do you know who they are? Do you know what they're about? And their motivations and their priorities and values? Do you know them? Students who feel connected, feel that way because they know the people around them. So how do you resolve that, and this is other episodes, other professional development trainings- you want students to feel connected. So therefore you share, you reveal things, you share things with them, you tell them stories about yourself, and it'll lead to connection. Students who feel disconnected don't do well. On the flip side, would be belonging- student belonging. A lot of times I think, I've noticed that I've done this before myself, we can use those terms interchangeably. Connection and belonging. Connection. Belonging. They're actually different. Belonging from again, from a student standpoint, would be the experience that you know me. So connection is about me knowing you. Belonging is you know me. Now you might feel connected, because you know the people around, you know the players, the stories, you know who they are and what they're about, but you're not going to feel like you belong until you feel accepted and known. So how do you do that? That's what we're talking about in this episode- validation. All kids need to be validated. They need it primarily because you want. we want them to connect and belong to their family, and to our classroom, but because of identity formation, the predominant the primary task of adolescence is to figure out who you are and where you fit in this world. In order to do that, kids, all of us, try on different personas. We we and it's the negative version of that would be we pretend we act. And that's not what kids are doing in order to be deceptive. Kids are doing that, because they're searching for something that resonates within them, and expresses who they really are in the outside. So they'll try on different personas. And that can be different personalities, different values, different styles, different interests, different dispositions, different senses of humor, different ideas about the world. But actually tried them on for size, almost like a costume. And they're not doing it again to be deceptive or malicious or anything, or to hide. They're doing it because they're trying to figure out what fits; because they understand that where they come from, the little nest that they've been raised in, has an expiration date. And they need to go figure out where they fit in the world, outside of this nest. When a kid doesn't receive the necessary validation for the persona that they're trying on, In other words, they don't get the feedback, they don't get the the opportunity to triangulate from people that can look at you, look them in the eye and say, yep, I get it. That is you. When kids don't experience that they're unsettled in the identity that they're trying on, they don't ever get a chance to test it or prove it. And so they go into the adult years, still with these big unresolved questions, which is not helpful. It's not a good way to go into adulthood. And it doesn't have to be that way. We can validate them. We can. And this is what we're gonna get into in this pretty short episode. What isdoes validation look like? And I got a big caveat at the end. Because you should be if you're listening or watching, you're gonna have your hands gonna be raised. So we're gonna get to that. What does validation look like? It looks or sounds like this- when someone, a kid, is talking, again, you're a parent, you're a teacher, you're a coach, and what they're sharing, you say something like, "Oh, that makes sense. That makes sense." And it doesn't have to make sense logical sense, but it can make sense that you feel that way. Or you would say that- that makes sense. I get it. Just that little, those kind of verbal cues, can actually do quite a bit to help a kid connect dots inside their brain; integrate different concepts, problems they're wrestling with, questions that they have- to have verbal affirmation, verbal, verbal validation that what you're saying makes sense. I understand it is actually a gift. Second, looks like this rejoicing, and there's a sneak peek, rejoice and mourn. It's an ancient proverb, this kind of wisdom saying, "rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn." That's what validation looks like. When you, when a kid has something to celebrate, from their perspective. We to validate them, we would rejoice with them. Even if we don't find that thing cool. Even if we don't think it's that important, even if we don't get it. Kid has something important to share- a new season of Outer Banks is on, a new Taylor Swift album came out. They one of their teachers was home sick today and they're stoked about it. They're excited about it. Validation would look like us, celebrating with them. No way. That's awesome. My fist bump, high five. That we celebrate, we go with them rejoice. And on the flip side, we mourn. Something didn't go our way. That friend that we thought was a friend said somebody behind our backs. We didn't get to 87 instead of the 90% that kid thought they'd get on a test. And we're so it's so easy to miss both of those one kids often understate things- understate how excited they are, understate how bummed they are. And it can be really easy to miss them. Again, because we don't have the same value system, we don't get it, we don't understand. And missing the opportunity to celebrate or to grieve is a disservice to the kid. Again, they're going to stay wandering until they get somebody validating their emotions and their reactions and their experiences. I can go on and on on this. But hopefully this is making sense. It also looks like mirroring. And this is what I would encourage you to try. Next time you're having a conversation with a kid be intentional to mirror what they're saying, their tone of voice, the words, facial expressions, body language, mirror that to them. Mirror it back. Be a mirror. They say a sentence, repeat the last three lines, the last three words of the line. A new Outer Banks season came out. A new Outer Banks season came out?! This teacher is so stupid. Your teacher is so stupid? And in again, there's kind of this interesting neuroscience that I've learned about- that mirroring can actually help again, make sense of things, relieve some agitation, it can help you connect dots. It's actually pretty amazing what it happens when we mirror back to a kid what they're going through. And then finally to name, to help them name the feeling and the emotion. The feeling the kind of like maybe the the feeling word- Sounds like you're feeling. Sad sounds like you're feeling frustrated. Actually to ask that, and maybe even guess. So am I getting this right, are you disappointed? Are you feeling...? And then the emotion would be more around the actual how does it physically feel? To help them name these things. I'm seeing that you're really upset right now. It looks like you're really excited about this. It sounds like you're feeling and then to, and you might be wrong. No, no no, I'm feeling... No, no, no, I'm not feeling disappointed. I'm feeling mad. I'm feeling pissed. Okay, so tell me that. Why, what are you feeling pissed about? What does it feel like in your body? Validation increases, accelerates self awareness drastically. If you can validate- mirror, name, rejoice, mourn. Ah, that makes sense. You can help accelerate this identity formation so that they don't stay wandering, unresolved questions into adulthood. You help them answer the questions. Help them figure out who they are. And that's where we get to the caveat. Do we validate everything? No. Do we validate dumb ideas, dangerous ideas, mean spirited things, contempt, violent? Of course not. Racist ideas. I mean, we don't we do not validate everything with kids. That would be absurd. Validation also has a way of mirroring back some like some realistic, sober, that's not right. Because again, in the bigger context of identity formation, kids are experimenting with ideas and perspectives and values. And they're saying things out loud to see if they work, see if they fit, resonate- to figure out and feel the reaction that they get. So when we're able to say no, that's not, that doesn't sound loving. That doesn't sound true, that doesn't feel good.
You know, even dismissing somebody, "they're so stupid." That doesn't feel good in your body. That's not, that's not a great way to treat people like that validation that feedback that mirroring back is also what they need. They might not like it, they might be irritated, you might say you don't get it. But validation isn't all positive affirming. It is also mirroring back truth in reality, you could say, "Hey, this is my perspective, this is my experience, you have come up with your own ideas" That helps. This is just hey, I might be old and out of touch but or, you know, I know when I was your age, I thought this but I learned a few years later that. So there's a way to pivot. It's not necessarily extremely confrontational. How dare you. That's crazy. That's wrong. But it can be firm and clear and direct. That's not helpful. That's not a helpful idea. That idea is going to take you to someplace I don't think you want to go. They need that. They need that feedback, that back and forth to figure out themselves. Every kid needs validation. You have the opportunity to do it. Validation can change a kid's life 13, 14, 15, 18 year old kid who's trying to make sense of themselves and the world, your words of validation, your facial expressions, your listening for what's underneath the surface, your mirroring back can make a gigantic impact that might be unseen. But it's it doesn't go unnoticed to me. So every kid needs to be validated. Hey, thanks for joining in on The YouSchool podcast, we'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at the euskal.com not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcast episodes. But specifically, you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it'll guide you to get clear about who you are in a great story you could tell with your life. So go register for a free account and get started on The Real Me course today at theyouschool.com That's the you school dot com.US school of.com