No one likes to be rejected. It is uncomfortable, painful and can leave lasting emotional scars. Rejection is hard enough to deal with as an adult, but it can be even harder for children. What can we do to help our precious children deal with all of the emotions that come with feeling rejected? In today’s post, we discuss 5 Ways to Help Your Child Deal with Rejection.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I am simply a Mom and Grandmother with life experience and the opinions listed below are strictly my own.
1. HELP A CHILD UNDERSTAND THEIR SELF-WORTH
We all know that every single person on the planet is a uniquely created individual. Even identical twins have their very own set of fingerprints. No two of us are exactly alike. That fact alone tells us that we all have great value. But let’s take it a step further…
If you own an item that is worth $100 million dollars, how you would treat it?Would you place the item in a safe, or even let it out of your sight? You probably would look at it often to make sure it was okay, right? Maybe you would place guards around it? Would you treasure it and place great value on it? Or, perhaps you toss it under the bed or in the back of your closet and never look at it again?
I’m guessing that you would take great care of this special $100 million-dollar item.
Guess what? We, my dear friends, are not worth $100 million….. we are PRICELESS! So why do we let other’s determine who we are and what we are worth? God tells us in scripture that we are so precious to Him that He knew us BEFORE we were ever born, (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows the very number of hairs on our head, (Matthew 6:26) and collects all of our tears, (Psalms 56:8). God also sent his Son to this earth for us, (John 3:16)… just to mention a few scriptures. WOW! It doesn’t get any better than that! If the Creator of the universe feels that way about us then who are we to argue the point?
When a person, (be it an adult or a child), knows that they are important, valuable and priceless, it will be easier for them to deal with the feelings of “rejection” from others. They will not NEED approval from others because they KNOW that they have the stamp of approval from the One who created them, along with their closest family members and friends.
On a regular basis spend quality time with your children; taking every opportunity to tell our them how unique, valuable, special and priceless they are and that there is no one else in the whole world exactly like them. THEY are important, even if someone else doesn’t see it.
2. NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOU… AND THAT’S OK
Do you know someone that will do things just to try to get everyone to like them? They regularly take on responsibilities and commitments that they don’t want to do, simply to appease others and try to win their approval. There is nothing wrong with helping others; that is a very healthy thing to do. However, we get ourselves into trouble when we do things for all of the wrong reasons.
It is very unrealistic to think that everyone will like you. No matter how ‘likable” you are, there will always be someone out there in your world that will not care for you. Guess what? That’s OK. They don’t need to.
The sooner we teach our little ones that not everyone will be their friend, the sooner they will be able to deal with rejection. Simply knowing that it is normal, and perfectly fine, not to be liked by everyone will help your child develop their self-esteem and self-worth. We should encourage our children to be friendly and nice to everyone, however, they will not like everyone themselves and that is fine too.
Teaching our children that rejection says nothing about them as a person is invaluable because they need to avoid labeling themselves based on superficial interactions. We should encourage our children not to give someone, (who probably doesn’t really even know them that well), influence over their self-image.
Which leads me to the next point….
3. PEOPLE COME AND PEOPLE GO – DO NOT CHASE THEM
Through the years, whenever I was going through a tough time in my life, my Dad would tell me, “This too shall pass.” He was 100% right! Nothing stays the same. I know that when we are going through trials and heartaches it often feels like it’s the end of the world and that it will never get better. But that simply isn’t true. The circumstances will not stay the same forever.
Sometimes it seems that certain people have it easy. They never seem to struggle with anything and can simply glide through this world without a care. But the reality is, if a person lives long enough, they will eventually go through something painful. Whether it be sickness, the death of a family member or pet, financial woes, substance abuse and more… something painful will occur. It’s just a matter of time.
In my opinion, we need to teach our children this. They need to understand that people come and go in our lives and if one friend ‘rejects’ them they will eventually develop a friendship with someone else. We also need to teach our children not to chase people when they walk away. If they walk away… let them walk. If you have to chase someone and beg them to be in your life, then that relationship isn’t healthy and you don’t want it anyway. This is a valuable lesson for children to learn early on and will be useful, especially during the dating years.
4. SURROUND YOUR CHILD WITH PEOPLE THAT GENUINELY CARE ABOUT THEM
There is something to be said about being on a team, especially a good one. Team members can cheer you on, give advice, teach you skills and sportsmanship, help you to see your strengths and weaknesses, pick you up if you fall and even carry you across the finish line if needed.
Child deal with rejection much better if they know that they are surrounded by people that genuinely love and care about them. It is always harder to go through tough times if you feel that you have no one to help you. Therefore, it is important to place a team of caring individuals around our children to help support and encourage them. Just knowing that there is someone they can turn to will help a child deal with their pain. As parents, we should be our children’s biggest fans and cheering section!
5. THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM
Sometimes a situation appears one way but it reality it is entirely different. For example, one morning, while you are getting ready to walk out of the door on the way to work, you suddenly spill coffee on your blouse or shirt. You run into your closet and change into a different outfit and now you are going to be late for work. How frustrating! However…. later that day on the news you hear that there was a horrific traffic accident that involved a dozen vehicles and it was the direct route you take every day to work. Since you ran late, you probably missed being involved in the accident. Therefore, the very thing that was frustrating in the morning ended up being a great blessing in disguise.
So it can be with people. Sometimes, people are not what they seem – good or bad. Rather, it’s just the opposite! They may be experiencing tough times themselves and they are lashing out at others in an unhealthy way. Perhaps another child is acting badly towards your child because they just found out their Dad was just diagnosed with cancer. The child that is behaving badly isn’t probably going to express that verbally but will express it through their actions.
We should teach our child that rejection is not their fault. They should try not to personalize and take the blame for someone else’s behavior. There are many reasons why someone can be disinterested or appear to be rejecting them and very few, (if any), of them relate to our child at all. Therefore the behavior of another person is not an indicator of our child’s character or self-worth. Help your child to understand that there are many factors that may have contributed to the other person’s disinterest and this is not under our child’s control or their responsibility. Most importantly – we must teach our children that “rejection” from someone says NOTHING about them as a person and that the individual is responsible for the “rejecting” behavior, not our child.
Experiences of rejection are not easy. Helping our children think about, and internalize, the experience can help alleviate negative personal feelings. Whether one or several people have demonstrated rejecting behaviors towards our children, each time, place and person are distinctive. What is true for one is not true for all. The next person could be different. Help your child to not overgeneralize and try not to personalize or take the blame for other actions. If our children are doing the best they can with what they have, then worrying if people like them or not is a waste of one of their most precious resources: their energy. Finally, the more our children come to accept others for who they are, (while having compassion and patience), the easier it will be for them to have a healthy self-esteem, regardless if someone likes them or not.
Here’s to having a wonderful and healthy life! 🙂
Has your child been rejected? How did you help them?
More great ideas: