Children and Validation

islamic parenting Nov 09, 2022

We’ve all done it at some stage, and I am certainly no exception; seeking validation.


It is most likely because we did not receive it growing up. Or we have insecurities. Or we feel like we are not good enough. But scrape beneath the surface and we will know whose voice we hear criticising us and whose voice we wanted to hear actually validating us.


What is validation?


Validation in this context is when you want to feel seen, heard and accepted. If you are seeking validation, it means you have the desire to have someone else’s approval and agreement with what you say and do. Humans are naturally social beings and we thrive from validation; the sense of belonging to a community is important to us. Just like in the Turkish series Ertugrul & its sequel Osman, every person belonged to a tribe and were cared for and accepted by that tribe. Loyalty and acceptance played a huge role in this and belonging to a tribe set the precedence for how you were treated by others. That is very much like us; we need validation from our parents who are our primary caregivers.


What happens when you don’t receive that love, acceptance and approval from them when we are that wonderful blissfully sponge like era of childhood? We go seeking it when we’re older. We become what is known as ‘attention seeking’ but it really is, put simply, seeking approval & acceptance. 


It seems fairly harmless but if it continues being a pattern it can become tiresome and wears out relationships and friendships. If you want validation, most likely you will seek people who will give it to you and this can lead to unhealthy crowds. Or you may do something that doesn’t agree with you just for the sake of approval. Peer pressure is normal, but conforming constantly can create a cycle and this is unhealthy and even dangerous going forward. 


As Muslims, we want our children to be their own person and with Islam at the forefront of their interests. As they continue to further their studies, they will come across many people who do not align with our beliefs. To ensure your child stays firm on the path of Islam, starts from the tender young age as little as 2.


You have to love and approve them through your actions. And when they’re a bit older you keep loving and approving of them where it’s necessary. Especially if they are displaying beautiful Islamic adhaab/aqhlaaq (manners & etiquette) and if they are showing mercy and kindness towards others. If they disagree with something you do, be fair. If they don’t want to do something you would like them to, give them the choice and put the work in to make them try but don’t force and don’t say the statements that I have heard so often. ‘You didn’t do this, so you don’t get to sit with me. You’re not allowed to do this because you did this.’ And above all, stay patient and check your criticism. It is fair to give advice such as, ‘it works, I would have tried this way, but you did something different and it has a good outcome, well done.’ It is counterproductive to say, ‘why did you do this? I could have done this better and if you had listened the first time!’ This takes away their confidence and leaves them in a negative state.


More ways of validating your child?


Infants and toddlers:


  • Are you feeling wobbly and upset? That’s OK, sometimes I feel that too.
  • I can see that you’re angry, can I help you?
  • I can see you’re upset, what can I do with you to make you feel better?
  • This is lovely, mashaAllah so creative.
  • What a wonderful kind thing to do. Thank you.
  • I feel sad when I have to go to work too, but I know I’ll see you soon. Can we make dua for each other?


Actions do often speak louder than words. Make time for your child and really listen to them. This means staying away from the distraction of social media, gadgets and friends and really turning your body to them that lets your child know you are 100% in. This teaches them that they have your time, and attention and that you are listening. 

Another way of validating your child is through the 5 Love Languages which I touched upon in previous articles.


  • Positive affirmations
  • Touch
  • Quality time
  • Acts of service
  • Gifts


Gifts should never be just a sole reason for validation. You must combine it with other love languages otherwise you will have a child who does not know anything other than materialism. 


In older children, love languages are still a source of validation. However, some statements that hold weight with children are:


  • I can see that you’re trying your best and that means a lot to me. I hope it means a lot to you too.
  • It might not be the desired result, but you tried so hard and Allah swt blessed your efforts. 
  • You’ve worked so hard for this, I hope you recognise that.
  • I am blessed to have you.
  • I hear you and hear you’re upset. What can I do to help you through this?


Actions that give them validation:


  • Holding space for their emotions and outbursts
  • Healthy boundaries where they know what you will and won’t tolerate. Always deliver these with patience and assertiveness. You can be assertive whilst being kind; it took me awhile but I can now deliver a boundary without losing my voice.
  • Rewarding their good
  • Recognising mistakes as human and giving them the space to turn to you for help.
  • Giving them time to pursue their interests and passions. This allows them to grow and recognise who they are


My friend told me something interesting the other day. She said I had turned into a ‘chillax’ parent after being a helicopter parent. This had me in stitches initially, but when I recanted my journey, I found that I made more time to be with my child and spent less time trying to be the perfect parent. From trying to create things aesthetically pleasing for them, I started with simple things like allowing the children to climb into my space for reading and allowing them to revisit their day so they could work through anything that bothered them. This made me realise that to validate my children, I had to stop seeking validation myself. That meant:


  • Reducing time on social media.
  • Quieten the constant inner dialogue so I could fully focus on my children and being present.
  • Making to do lists to keep me focused on my goals
  • Making an intention daily to be the best me for Allah’s sake, so everything I do is seeking His approval only.
  • Keeping my goals realistic and not setting standards for me based on what others thought my standard should be
  • Recognising my own self-limiting beliefs and questioning the accuracy of them.
  • Constantly being mindful of my speech, actions and emotions. This kept me in top form for my children.
  • Writing down why I was grateful and what I was grateful for, especially centred around my children. This helped me voice myself in a more positive manner.


In turn, you will find that you are spending more time raising emotionally happy and resilient children who are centred morally and Islamically. At the same time, always pray your safeguarding aadkhars over your children so should they have any fears they feel comforted that you have done everything you can to help them. Also to keep them protected from the normal things they need protecting from.


Recently my daughter developed a fear of the dark. I prayed to her and I taught her the significance of handing the fear over to Allah swt and praying to Him first. It took her a few days but she settled and she is OK with the dark now. Not shaming her or berating her would no doubt have exacerbated her fear and made her feel insecure about voicing any setbacks to me going forward. However it would have, even worse, laid the foundation for her to ‘follow sheep’ instead of using her own gut instinct and common sense when she’s older. If something scares her, I want her to be confident accepting herself just the way she is.


What happens when you don’t validate your child?


  •  creates feelings of shame and worthlessness
  • they will constantly seek it elsewhere
  • unhealthy relationships
  • toxic neediness and codependency; the perfect characteristics for attracting narcissists or becoming one!
  • unhealthy boundaries or lack of.
  • unhealthy suppression of emotions for fear of being ridiculed.


If you feel your child is seeking validation from peers and it is getting out of hand, it is always best to try wellbeing sessions where someone who can recognise what is needed can mediate between parent and child. An Aafiyah Practitioner can help, or a child’s wellbeing practitioner.


Here are some books that helped me:


  • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read… Philippa Perry
  • The 5 Love Languages of Children Dr Gary Chapman
  • Happy Confident Me (wellbeing journal for kids)
  • The Mindful Muslim (Zanib Mian)


May Allah swt bless us in our journey in raising our Amanah and allow us to be a source of validation for them. May he forgive any shortcomings and allow us to heal so our children need not heal from our own traumas. Ameen.

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