Parenting Tips for Kids Who Feel Socially Rejected
anxiety is usually about kids fearing interpersonal rejection. No one likes to
feel like they are excluded or being treated unfairly. Most kids like to feel
part of a circle of friends. They want to believe that they are included in a
group. If for example, they are rejected by being excluded at recess or not
being invited to a party, they will come home in a down cast mood.
The more kids are able to talk about these
experiences, the sooner they feel calm enough to be able to do something about
feeling they belong again. But how do you help a rejected child want to talk
without feeling humiliated?
Tips for Helping Rejected Kids
observe your child seems to feel down and out. Ask if they feel like talking
about it. Probably, they’ll feel embarrassed and brush you off, but tell them
when they’re up to it, you’re ready to listen.
on your own if there is a pattern in your child or teen getting excluded
frequently. If your child is young, touch base with a teacher to ask if your child
is having stress socially so you are aware of the difficulty.
if there are stressors at home that may be acted out in school such as marital
tensions that affect your child in such a way that he is isolating himself at
school because he’s so sad and confused.
your child comes home and is curt with you or throws a back pack down abruptly and
doesn’t feel like following usual routines of snack and homework, tell them you
are guessing that something didn’t go right, and can you help? This is better
than chastising them for not following routines. Take their actions as a
message indicating something is wrong.
kids are less guarded than teens and may right off tell you what happened.
Listen without judgment or interruption and let them blow off steam. Then try
and help them recreate the incident in detail including how they handled it.
Before giving advice, ask them if they wish things had happened differently.
Slowly lead to could they or others have handled things in other ways, so they
see there might be options they haven’t considered.
your teen is moody, be careful to keep your distance. Give them time to cool
off and be on their own. Later, give a quiet knock on their door and gently
ask, “What’s up?” If they say, “nothing much” you can offer that you’ve noticed
today they seem out of sorts. In other words, slowly enter your child’s world
so they can discuss whatever has hurt them.
casually at first, maybe about your own day, and then slowly ask about their
day. First discuss nonessentials as a pathway to discussing more important
matters. Let your teen know you can sense something is up and whenever they
feel like it, you’re open to listening.
important key is not to chastise a sullen kid for not doing their homework
right away or beginning to text and email their friends instead. They may need
to find their own way out of their feelings without your interference. Respect
that need by giving them space. When they are calmer, you can suggest that it’s
hard to do homework when something is upsetting. Can you help?
a time when you felt rejected by friends or out of the loop. Your experience
may help you get in touch with how your child or teen feels. This
self-reflection may help you know how to approach your
individual child or teen in a way they can accept your guidance.
Personal rejection is part of growing up with peers
but when it happens to your son or daughter it feels momentous to them. They
won’t feel this can happen to anyone, but they’ll feel unlikeable and at worst,
self-loathing. Try to ease their burden by not having high expectations of
following rules or chores that day but giving them leeway to sort themselves
out. The ultimate goal is to help them help themselves by reviewing what
occurred and considering other alternative outcomes should they be able to
consider the incident from different perspectives. If you are sensitive to
their experiences, they will sense your compassion which in itself may be