While learning how to deal with rejection is a normal part of life, it can be painful for a parent to see their teen deal with the pain and confusion of it. While comfort and support are important factors in order to help your child feel safe and cared for, it is even more important to help him learn how to process and manage it in a healthy way. Whether your teen is dealing with social, emotional or academic rejection, there are some key points to keep in mind.
- During the adolescent years, social acceptance plays a large role in confidence and personality. Teens that feel as though they don’t fit in among their peers are setting the stage for future interaction. It is important to not downplay the importance of popularity during this age because your teen is not likely to believe you. Rather, talk to your teen to help him understand the reasons why some kids pick on others and the incorrect methods they sometimes use to mask insecurity. The more that kids understand that it is others and not their own shortcomings that is the problem, the better they cope.
- Teens need to learn the importance between mourning a lost opportunity, such as not making the team or getting the part in a play, and wallowing in misery. Validate his feelings and make sure he knows that it is ok to be upset, but that it shouldn’t change how he chooses to move forward and that moping for too long can actually make him feel worse.
- Help your teen move past his disappointment by taking action and coming up with a new direction for the problem at hand. For instance, a teen that doesn’t make the school team can still join a community league or attend special camps. The performer that didn’t get the part she wanted may benefit from extracurricular acting or singing lessons.
- Particularly driven teens may be hard on themselves when they do not perform as they would like, academically. Stress over grades, especially when perfectionist tendencies kick in, can spoil a lot of the fun of the adolescent years. It is important for you to, again, validate his feelings, but also make every effort to make sure he understands that there are other forms of happiness. A lower than expected test score can lead a teen to believe that the goal is more important than the journey. Make time for activities that you know your teen will enjoy and keep the lines of communication open with him in order to help him maintain perspective on the ups and downs of life, both academic and personal.
- Few teens make it through the adolescent years without some amount of romantic rejection. While your years and experience make you certain that the pain is but a small moment, your teen is feeling the full effects now, with emotions that he is just barely exploring. Be supportive of him and remind him that it is ultimately better to focus energy on people that make him feel happy and positive.
Taking risks is always nerve wracking, especially when experience shows you that things don’t always work out the way you want. However, parents play a particularly important role in helping their teens turn rejection into motivation and teaching them how to let their life experiences teach them how to be accountable for their actions and allow them to become better people. For more information on ways that you can help your teen visit us at Help Your Teen Now.