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Parenting Tips: How to Help Your Child Deal with Rejection
By Jean Tracy, MSS
Parents can teach children to handle rejection in 3 steps: compassion, insight, and self-talk. Find out how these strategies can lessen the pain and help your child bounce back.
All kids experience snubs, slights, and insults. Yours will too. Their tears can tug at your heart when they tell you,
“Jessica, my best friend, won't play with me. She said he likes Tanya better.”
“My class laughed at me when I gave the wrong answer.”
“The neighborhood kids won't play chess with me. They said I'm not smart enough.”
You know their pain. You want to help. Now you can.
First Step – The Compassion Tip:
The best way to show compassion is to listen with a sympathetic ear and say, “It hurt when Jessica chose Tanya, didn't it? Tell me about it.”
“How did it feel when the class laughed at your answer?” Let him talk it out.
“You're upset that the kids don't think you know how to play chess. What else are you feeling?”
Give your boy or girl all the time they need. Don't offer them answers or tell them what to think or feel. A word of caution, this step can be difficult for parents who want to solve problems quickly and make their children feel better faster. Listening well first paves the way for insight.
Second Step – The Insight Tip:
To help your child avoid sinking into the quicksand of dark thoughts, lift him up with the truths about his real self. How? Discuss and list some honest facts about his inner goodness.
Start by asking your child if the following questions fit him. Then ask him to name a few specific situations when he acted that way. Finally, ask him to write down those that are true. If he can't spell yet, he can either copy your printing or draw a picture of them or both.
An insight example:
1. “Are you a good person? Tell me about some times when you acted well.”
Make sure he tells you events that are completely good. No ‘buts' like, “I let my sister ride my bike but I pulled her off when she wouldn't give it back to me.”
When he gives you his positive evidence, ask him to write, “I am a good person,” on his list.
Continue with the following questions and ask for his examples:
2. Do you help others?
3. Do you try to do your best?
4. Are you kind to animals?
5. Are you a loving person?
6. Do you forgive others?
7. Do you choose to think kind thoughts?
When you're done, his list could look like:
1. I am a good person.
2. I help others.
3. I do my best.
4. I am kind to animals.
5. I am a loving person.
6. I forgive others.
7. I choose to think kind thoughts.
Suggest he put the list next to his bed and read it each night before he falls asleep.
Assure him that we all make mistakes and fail from time to time. When that happens all he has to do is pull himself up and try again. In this way, he'll let his inner goodness shine.
Third Step – The Self-Talk Tip:
End by helping him breathe in self-love. This will remind him that others may reject him but their actions can't hurt his inner core of goodness. After he reads his list at night, advise him to take 3 deep breaths inhaling love. Perhaps a little poem will help him remember like:
“I'm breathing in my love for me.
One loving breath, then two, then three.”
Ask him to write his self-talk or poem below his list to remind him how to end it.
Conclusion for Helping Your Child Deal with Rejection
Help your son or daughter to express their hurt about the snubs, slights, and insults they receive. Guide them with compassion. Lead them with insight. End with loving self-talk. In this way, they'll fill their minds and hearts with the truth about their real goodness. Rejections will lose their power. And their characters will strengthen.
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