It stings and changes kids inside. Teach your sweethearts grit in order to handle life's ups and downs.
Rejection hurts. Deeply. Following the loss of her daughter’s life after the most recent Texas school shooting, a mom revealed her girl had repeatedly rejected the shooter. While we don’t know more than that, the sting of awareness rings true.
From the time a young child begins socializing, connections with friends matter deeply. As children, we innately know our parents love us. We are kissed and hugged repeatedly by those who love us. But when we enter the world of strangers, love doesn’t come so easily. And sometimes it doesn’t come at all.
Kids learning to navigate socially need parents to help them make connections and to talk them through complicated situations. The good news is, kids are naturally resilient and don’t make big deals out of things unless their parents do — so careful on that one. With all areas of life that deal with your child’s inner life, keep it light and breezy because your child takes all of her first cues from YOU.
TRY OUTS and MORE
So many nerve-wracking events happen to kids as they grow up. Try-outs for sport’s teams, play auditions, cheerleading, no birthday invite. There are school grades to achieve, different teachers to please. Social statuses and on and on. Some children receive praise more than others, seeing their names in stars on the wall and other kinds of special recognitions. NOT being noticed or singled out or making a team stings.
In Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World by Mitchell Prinstein, parents are smart to teach their children coping skills in order for them to develop grit. Here are tips:
COPING SKILLS FOR:
HANDLING HURT FEELINGS: Try not to minimize your child’s feelings when he is disappointed. Depending upon what has happened, say something like, “That’s so disappointing. I know you were really hoping to be invited to that birthday party.” HOW TO HELP: Validate him. Your child needs comfort, understanding and time before he will feel better again.
HIS NEED FOR ACCEPTANCE: From a young age, children look to friends for cues on how to dress, act and more. Some children can handle social issues easily, others cannot. No matter what, all children are vulnerable. Children will experience teasing for wearing pants too short or having braces or even a speech impediment. They will go out of their way to avoid a teasing situation. Teasing creates stress, loneliness and a hostile way of seeing others. HOW TO HELP: Explain to your child that people who may tease others are insecure themselves. When they learn that peer rejection doesn’t have to do with their own shortcomings, they handle it better. Find other ways to meet new, supportive friends by keeping him involved in a team or other kind of fun activity.
OPPOSITE SEX REJECTION: Romantic rejection ranks among the most painful — especially thanks to the gossip mills on Snapchat, Twitter and the like. A devastation scars a person for life — we all remember who hurt us when we handed out our heart. HOW TO HELP: Explain the universal truth to your child that some people will like us and some people won’t and that’s OK. Point out to him the qualities that make your child a catch: his sense of humor, his many gifts and talents, his handsomeness. It is important to identify — out loud — the wonderful traits your child has and to avoid harsh judgments of people who may reject your child.
MORE WAYS YOU CAN HELP
- Offer perspective. Share a personal story of a time when you overcame a hurtful snub.
- Don’t be petty. You can’t teach your kid to be the bigger and better person when you resort to name-calling yourself.
- Encourage your child to talk.
- Keep trying: If your child says he doesn’t want to talk about it, try again later.
- Provide encouragement: Watching a goofy movie or do something fun with your child you know he loves.
- Seek outside help if your child doesn’t bounce back from low feelings after a two-week period.