How to Teach Your Child Rejection-Coping Skills


Every child at some point will face another child, a sib­ling perhaps, or even an adult, who will say, “Go away. I don’t want to play with you. I don’t want you around.”

Giving your child some skills to use in coping with rejection is a way of saying to your child, “You are a great person, and you have value even in those mo­ments when you feel other people aren’t recognizing you for the fine child you are!”

Explain to your child the reasons why others may reject him or her.

A child may be rejected because the other person or group is engaged in an activity or game. The child may actually be interrupting. He or she is not being rejected as a person but is just being asked to wait. Teach your child to recognize feelings of rejection that arise when he or she tries to draw someone’s attention away from something already in progress. Teach your child to say, “Sorry. I’ll come back later.”

A child may be rejected because of his or her own bad behavior. Encourage your child to admit the fact that his or her misbehavior has alienated others. Teach your child to say, “I’m sorry.” When an apology is offered, children are usually forgiving, and play frequently re­sumes after a few moments.

“But, I didn’t do anything!” That’s a phrase parents hear frequently. “Perhaps you did and you don’t know it” is a good reply. Encourage your child to ask play­mates: “Did I do something wrong?” Encourage your child to admit wrongdoing when he or she has hurt another child’s feelings.

A child may be rejected because of jealousy on the part of the other child or children. Having someone reject you out of jealousy may be hurtful, but such rejection is usually related to an award you’ve won, praise or an honor you’ve received, or new possessions. Such rejec­tion is not usually a rejection of who you are. In many cases, rejection that stems from jealousy is based on something your child has done “right,” not something he or she has done wrong. Help your child to recognize this fact.

A child may be rejected simply because the other child is in a bad mood. Something may have happened to throw the other child, or children, into a major snit hav­ing nothing to do with your child. The rejecting child may just have been punished, heard bad news, or been rejected him or herself. Encourage your child to give the other child some time and space to regain self-con­trol.

A child may be rejected because another child has been taught incorrectly. A playmate’s parents may have in­stilled prejudices or taught false premises or incorrect facts. A child can generally tell if rejection is based on factors such as race, religion, disability, or income level. Explain to your child that some people are ill-informed, and that the best thing your child can do to teach the rejecting person the truth is to continue to do his or her best, stay cheerful, and be kind.

Your goal is to encourage your child not to internalize rejection. Help your child recognize that some rejec­tions are temporary, some are not your child’s fault, and some can be resolved with an apology. Separate rejection that is related to something your child does from something that your child is.

Teach your child that not all people have the same tastes, likes, dislikes, opinions, valuations, or styles. People are different. Some people will click with your child’s personality, creations, and likes and dislikes. Others won’t.

One way of helping children cope with rejection is to encourage your child to pray for the offending child or group. Prayer is something positive your child can do in a negative situation. Not only does this type of prayer help a child to feel better emotionally, it provides a more positive framework in which your child might ap­proach the other person in the future.

By giving your child a framework for understanding rejection and skills for coping with rejection, you’ll be boosting your child’s confidence level. You’ll also be helping your child to retain his or her self-esteem when it comes under attack.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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