Everyone wants positive feedback from other people. We’re living in a social media society where “likes” and positive comments can make you feel validated in an instant.
Unfortunately, our children are growing up in this world, where that kind of need for validation is everywhere. It’s all they will ever know.
All children want validation—that’s nothing new. A toddler will keep building tall block towers to see if you have a positive reaction. A child on the baseball field will look your way when they hit a double to make sure you’re cheering the loudest. A teenager who brings home an “A” paper will anxiously await your reaction and want you to beam with pride.
While some validation is important (even as adults), it can also become addicting. In this tech-filled social media society, being aware of that addiction as a parent is incredibly important.
Why is Validation Addiction a Problem?
Validation addiction can lead to a variety of problems in adults and children alike. However, when your kids grow up with a constant need for validation from others, the effects can be even worse.
First, needing that kind of positive praise for others can lead to feelings of anxiety. If your children are constantly looking for validation in everything they do, the moments in-between can be tense and cause them to be fearful that they might not receive the praise they want or need.
Unfortunately, that kind of anxiety can spiral into other negative characteristics.
When children feel anxious over receiving validation, their thoughts can start to swirl. If they don’t receive the validation they want or think they deserve, it might start to affect their self-esteem.
It’s not uncommon for both adults and kids to struggle with low self-esteem and poor confidence when they have a validation addiction. That’s because their self-worth doesn’t come from within.
What’s the Answer?
Children need to learn how to self-validate, rather than relying on others to feel like they’re worth something. As parents, encouraging self-validation is important when it comes to raising kids who trust their “inner voice.”
Children who can self-validate are often more confident in their own beliefs and aren’t afraid to speak up. Not only will they share their values, but they’ll live them, too, without looking for some kind of green light from other people.
How to Fight Back Against Validation Addiction in Children
One of the best things you can do to combat validation addiction in your children is to be a positive role model yourself. Show your kids that you have a high level of self-esteem, no matter what others think or say.
Aside from showcasing what self-validation looks like, you can help your children with their own by encouraging them to try new things and build new skills. That’s a great way to boost their confidence, and it will also provide plenty of teaching moments. They might struggle with certain things, or even fail. Helping them learn and grow from those struggles will help them see they can overcome almost anything.
Finally, encourage perseverance. It’s never easy to “get back up” or keep going when things are hard. However, if a child learns the importance of persevering through hardship at a young age, they’ll know their worth without having to hear it from others.
If you’re concerned your child might be dealing with validation addiction already, you’re not alone. It’s hard to avoid in today’s society.
As you can see, however, there are things you can do to foster a healthier, more self-sufficient environment in your home. Keep these ideas in mind to help your child learn how to self-validate, and you’ll set them up for a more confident future.