Rising above rejection isn’t easy at any age. However, for kids, it can be especially difficult. Whether or not we’re well-received by others plays a significant role in determining how we perceive ourselves. Although learning how to overcome rejection is an essential part of growing up, certain forms of rejection can be both unhealthy and serious. With the information below, you can raise balanced, resilient, and, ultimately, happy kids. Rest assured that non-acceptance won’t affect your youngsters’ self-esteem.
Don’t Encourage Your Child to Simply Brush Rejection Off
Science now shows that rejection causes the same response in the brain as physical pain. If you happen to be fairly adept in weathering the social angst and internal discomfort that rejection causes, it’s important to avoid placing the same expectations on your child. Even without visible cuts and bruises, rejections hurts children. For kids, the pain of rejection is very real. There’s also a very real risk of children internalizing the negative messages that rejection sends. This can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and diminished enthusiasm, engagement, and performance across all life areas.
Assess How Your Child Deals With Rejection
It’s completely normal for people to deal with rejection through escapism and indulgent behavior. Some people eat to excess when they feel rejected. Others immerse themselves in video games, books, or binge-watching TV. Despite being both normal and common, these responses to rejection aren’t healthy. Encourage kids to take a positive and proactive approach to assess rejection, process it, and seek ways to either advocate for themselves or improve their circumstances. If they aren’t encouraged to deal with rejection head-on, indulgent behaviors can lead to substance abuse, cutting, and even other, more severe forms of self-harm later in life.
Distinguish Between Normal and Extreme Rejection or Bullying
A time comes when your child doesn’t make the football team or selected to play first string in the school orchestra. These are normal, acceptable forms of rejection, and they can actually prove to be positive, motivating experiences if your child has the right outlook. Among some of the best ways to coach and encourage your child after normal rejection include:
Suggesting more practice and a solid improvement plan
Helping kids find areas in which they naturally excel
Finding less competitive groups
Kids who receive positive reinforcement at home tend to be less reactive to rejection. Tell your kids that you’re proud of them as often as you can. Tell them that their skills and performance are amazing and that they’re always improving. It takes far more effort and hardship to tear someone down if they are built up.
Bullying is by far one of the worst forms of rejection that kids can experience. There are no rules for this game, and there is no possible way for the bullied to win by playing. Never encourage resilience in a bullied child and then leave them to their own devices. Bullying without intervention can make kids feel desperate, hopeless, and downright depressed. When you can intervene, you should. You can schedule meetings with staff members, speak with parents, and coach your child on avoidance. However, in instances of severe bullying, avoidance isn’t always possible for kids to accomplish on their own. Sometimes the most successful strategy is changing schools or churches, and finding other ways to keep your child separate from mean-spirited antagonists.
Provide a Healing Environment
Provide a healing environment for a child that’s emotionally overwhelmed by targeted rejection such as bullying. Surround kids with friends and family members who value and appreciate them, and who reaffirm their worth. Helping your child find a group in which they belong can be a critical measure against self-harming behaviors and other unhealthy coping strategies.
Even with minor, normal instances of rejection, a healing environment that provides a sense of camaraderie can be soothing. Learning to use social connections for their mood-boosting benefits is an important step in growing up. Kids learn that when they hurt, it’s far better to be in the company of compassionate, understanding individuals than it is to internalize their negative emotions.
At Tenney School, we’re committed to helping kids learn their worth and protect their mental and emotional well-being. We foster an environment of understanding, empathy, and trust. More importantly, we work to ensure that our students don’t receive exposure to unhealthy rejection. To find out more about our mission, our values, and our program, get in touch with us today.