Dads, do you INVALIDATE your daughter’s feelings?
What does that even mean? Of course I don’t Tony!
Well, I don’t mean to if I do. Is it possible?
Let me ask you this…..
Have you ever told your daughter to stop crying over something you thought was foolish or, in your opinion, wasn’t a reason to cry?
When she is angry or frustrated, have you told her she SHOULDN’T feel that way?
Have you ever told her that she should ALWAYS focus on the positive?
These are ways we invalidate our daughter’s feelings.
When we tell our daughters how they should feel or shouldn’t feel, we are telling them that their feelings don’t matter.
Over time, they begin to shut down and distance themselves. They hold in their feelings instead of sharing them in FEAR that they will be criticized or further knocked down.
They become bitter, angry, saddened. They begin to lash out, or release their feelings in some other way.
We don’t MEAN to do this. We only want the BEST for them.
But we are focused on the wrong area. We are focusing on their feelings, and not the situation that caused the feelings.
We have to learn to respect their feelings. They are real and true to them.
What we NEED to do instead is learn to understand WHY they are feeling the way they do, and determine if the REASON is valid. Determine if a solution is available.
Sometimes, our daughters don’t need a SOLUTION. They just need us to UNDERSTAND and LISTEN to them.
I work hard at lifting my daughter up, but recently I realized that in fact invalidated my daughter’s feelings.
We were doing math homework and she began to cry. I looked at her and said, “why are you crying, there is no reason to cry?” She replied, “it’s hard!” I replied back, “That’s no reason to cry, you just have to try harder and you will eventually understand it. Crying won’t help you understand it.”
I let her get up and go relax and calm down for a moment.
It was at that moment when I responded the way I did, that I invalidated her feelings. I was telling her she shouldn’t be upset because her math homework felt hard and to get over it.
She felt like her feelings didn’t matter. She felt wrong for feeling the way she did. She felt shame.
Truth is, her feelings do matter. She was right in feeling that way. I WAS WRONG!
I should have taken the time to really understand her feelings then help her walk through them, or maybe just listen to her and show her EMPATHY.
Doing so shows that she MATTERS. That she is IMPORTANT. That she is LOVED and APPRECIATED.
Most importantly, that I RESPECT her.
I realized the next morning what had happened and immediately apologized to her. I told her specifically what I had done and explained what I should have done instead.
I created a NEW BEGINNING that day as a dad with my daughter.
My daughter taught me a VALUABLE lesson and I wanted to share with you.
Your turn! Share what you struggle with regarding invalidating feelings, or one tip that works for you in making sure that you are validating your daughter’s feelings.
No one is perfect and we all mess up from time to time, that’s why it is important to grow daily.
As always, let me know how I can help.
Dads, remember, we are the STANDARD by which our daughters will not only view the world, but will someday choose a HUSBAND.
Let’s RAISE the standard together.
Your Daughters are watching, what’s your next move?
Every day is an opportunity to create a NEW BEGINNING as a dad to build a powerful relationship with your daughter.