How to Help Your Child Cope with Rejection

Learn how to help your child cope with rejection in this Howcast video about child anxiety issues.

I going to talk about how to help your child cope with rejection. As a parent you never want to think your child will be rejected from anything. You want everyone to care and love your child as much as you do, but in the reality that’s not always what happens. When a child is rejected or feels rejected it can feel terrible to you as well. So the first thing you want to do is monitor your own reaction when you hear or feel that your child is rejected. So you are going to be able to be there for your child. The next thing is you want to make sure to focus on two different things: one is how your child feels the other thing is what exactly happened to cause that feeling of rejection. So the first thing is talk to your child and just empathize with them about how they are feeling and show them that you understand and you are there to listen and support them.

Don’t pretend or assume that you know how they feel; you want to get them to label it, talk about it and really understand their feelings. Then you want to focus on what happened and get to hear a little bit of the story. Again, first listening to your child tell the story without passing any judgment or giving any reassurance or criticism to either side depending on what the situation was. And then you can go and problem solve and think through what happened and why and what to do to change it or prevent it in the future. The one thing you do not want to do is go swoop in right away and fix it for your child. First, you want to find out what happened and then see what needs to be done. A very young child of course needs a parent to help protect them and take care of them and go to other adults in that child’s world to make sure they know what to do to keep that child safe.

But when you are getting to the age of being an elementary school, middle school child, certainly a junior and a high school age child then you want to help that child deal with the rejection. It’s not enough to just say, “But I love you no matter what.” Kids hopefully know that from everything you’ve already done. It’s what to do when someone else doesn’t have that unconditional love for them. So you want to build their self-esteem, let them understand what they are good at, make them feel positive about themselves, not that you are just going to just go fix and take care of whatever it was that made them feel that way. Rejection, unfortunately, is one of those hard tough learning situations. One thing the kids sometimes do is they catastrophize and they globalize what happens, so one rejection turns into nobody likes me, everybody hates me, it’s always this way. And you want to make sure to keep it in perspective for your child as you’re problem solving and helping them understand the reality of the situation, as well as what their real strengths are and how to weather any rejection.

Unfortunately, as a parent, it’s hard to see your child rejected but eventually everyone has to learn how to manage and cope with the fact that sometimes things are not going to go the way they want and that’s a great lesson for you to teach your child.