Supporting Kids Through Heartbreaking Rejection

Being rejected hurts. You love your kids and never want to see them hurt. Unfortunately you cannot prevent your children from experiencing rejection. Whether it’s not being selected for a team or not having a date for the dance, feeling rejected is painful.

Your response in these situations can provide a healing salve for your child’s wounds or deepen the pain. When you let them know that you value and love them regardless of what has happened, you provide comfort. Knowing they always have your love is a powerful antidote.

Threatening To Remove Connection

Everyone has a deep need for connection with others. When children want to hurt others, one way they do it is by threatening to remove connection.

Words can hurt. This is especially true when they are words of rejection. Even young children know the power of saying things like:

  • "I'm not your friend anymore."
  • "I don't want to play with you."
  • "You're not invited to my birthday party!"
  • "I hate you!"
Saying these things is often a child’s way of expressing anger or frustration. When you hear kids saying something like this, begin by acknowledge their feelings. You might say “You are mad that she won’t share that truck with you. It’s not ok to say mean things. What else can you say to let her know how you are feeling?”

Kids need lots of practice developing their interpersonal skills. When you hear kids saying something unkind, help them find healthier ways to express their emotions.

Experiencing a Crushing Blow

Trying out for a team takes courage. Unless your child is guaranteed to make the team, there is the risk of failure. Responding when your child makes the team is easy. The difficult part is how you respond when your child does not make the team.

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