Parents must accept that children will be rejected by peers at some point in their lives and that there may come a time when their child is the one doing the rejecting and excluding. Having a long-term plan to help kids develop social/relationship skills that are inclusive and compassionate along with communication skills that invite and show respect for all parties involved will help parents and kids work together to successfully navigate any and all relationships now and into the future.
5 Ways to Help Children Rejected by Peers
1. SHOW FAITH -It is the parents’ responsibility to show faith and to trust that their children will recover from hurt, disappointment, fear, rejection and failure and do not need to be saved from them. After all, life gets harder from 18-years to 80-years-old, not easier and the ability to develop a deep sense of courage, a bit of grit and a resilient nature comes from learning that life is an ebb-and-flow of experiences and more often than not, we land on our feet.
2. BUILD MENTAL MUSCLE - When children feel supported by parents who have faith in their ability to recover, they develop the “mental muscle” necessary to deal with life’s complexities and challenges. Talking with your children after an upsetting event, listening to their perspectives, validating their feelings or interpretations and allowing them time to process the experience with a level-headed adult, will confirm for you and your kids that they have what it takes to move beyond a negative experience and recover fully intact.
3. SUPPORT INDEPENDENCE – In order to fully develop the skills necessary to overcome upsetting and challenging situations, children must be supported in their desire to become independent and self-sufficient at every turn. The more in-control a child is of her life, the more confidence she has to successfully navigate the social stage, which will make up a good portion of her life. An overprotective and over involved parent only serves to slow this process down and raises children who are dependent on the parent rather than themselves. These children tend to lack the confidence to deal with the challenges of everyday life.
4. MODEL – The most powerful tool any parent has at their disposal is modeling. What you hear and see on the playground sounds and looks very much like what you hear and see in a typical family – yelling, demanding, shutting people down, fighting for your position or to be right or to be heard. Kids take what they hear and see at home and try it in the classroom, the playground and the sports field. If we don’t like what we hear and see from kids, changing the dynamic at home will inevitably instill a new set of social skills our kids will try out in their own microcosm of the world.
5. GO SLOW – Developing social skills and the ability to overcome disappointments, rejections, exclusion and hurts take time. If you remember to look for improvement, faster recovery times, a more resilient nature and a child who gravitates towards kind individuals and stays open to all, you can rest assured that you will have raised a well-balanced person who is both inclusive and able to rebound from any exclusion or rejection they may experience.
Question: Have you aided any children rejected by peers? How did YOU handle it?