This past week, I was in a session with a parent whose child (in their early 20s) is struggling with all that comes with humanhood. My goal was to highlight with this parent a way to gain connection rather than directing their child with “shoulds.” 

As parents, we all want to be there for our children, to support them, and to help them navigate their emotions and challenges. But sometimes, it’s not enough just to listen or offer advice. What our children truly need is to feel deeply understood and connected. This powerful concept is known as “feeling felt,” and Dr. Daniel Siegel coined the term.

So, What Does “Feeling Felt” Mean?

“Feeling felt” goes beyond simple empathy. It’s about truly tuning into your child’s emotional state, validating their feelings, and resonating with them on a deep emotional level. When your child experiences “feeling felt,” they don’t just know you understand them—they feel it.

Here are some ways to foster this powerful emotional connection with your child:

1) Practice deep listening by giving them your full attention.

2) Validate their emotions with acknowledgment and normalization of their experience.

3) Show emotional mirroring that is measured by using your tone of voice and body language.

4) Create a safe space for emotions to be shared and experiences to be experienced without judgment but with encouragement to share.

5) Be mindful, patient, and open with your thoughts

What Are The Benefits of “Feeling Felt?” What is the point?

When children feel felt, they experience a profound sense of connection and security. “Feeling Felt” has numerous benefits, including providing emotional security, improved parent-child communication at any age, building a stronger relationship, and fostering better emotional regulation for all. 

At the end of my session, it seemed the parent left “feeling felt.” I hoped this would carry over to their next exchange with their child! I will find out at our next session if they did their parenting homework. So, can you practice this concept for your child or loved ones today? 


Happy Parenting!


Dr. Marnee