Acknowledgment is very important. It’s the difference between a full rage argument or a civilized conversation. It can be acknowledgment of emotions, thoughts, or ideas. When someone vents about a situation and they just go on and on and almost seem to get stirred up in their emotions, just a little acknowledgment can go a long way. “Wow, that sure seems like it can be frustrating.” *sigh* “Yes, it was frustrating.” The other person was able to express their emotion and now everyone is on the same page. Validation comes next. “If that happened to me, I probably would have done the same thing.” “Your reaction was totally normal.” Validation let’s the venter know that they were not overreacting and that they aren’t alone in feeling this way. Every action or reaction is normal given the circumstances of that person’s situation and upbringing. This is great with building up emotional intelligence in children. Kids are experiencing all of these emotions. At first they don’t understand what’s happening then parents tell them to act a certain way which might lead these kids to fear or shame their emotions. “There’s no reason for you to be mad/sad.” “Don’t be scared.” “Shh shh shh you’re ok.” Let the kids feel their emotions. What they need to know is that their emotions are normal and that you as a parent will still love them even if they feel a certain way. “I understand that you’re mad/sad right now. It’s ok to feel that way. I still love you. I’m here when you are ready to talk about it.” “It’s ok to be scared of something. Don’t let that fear control you. Feel it for a bit then you choose what to do next.” Try this out during your next friend gathering or with your kids and just take note of the reactions. Things will start to feel more calm or lean more in a positive direction.