“I’m never going back to school.”
My son said this to me one day as he came home from school. I asked him what happened, but without even looking back, he stomped to his room and slammed the door. He was 14 at the time.
All through his life, I’ve worked to help him through difficult situations. As a highly-sensitive child, he feels things greater than most. Where this can bring a lot of joy as he has fun or uplifting experiences, it can also make the lows that much harder for him.
I try to keep the focus on him.
As I’ve learned over the years, when it comes to my son’s emotions it’s best to let him take the time to manage them himself and wait for him to come to me when he’s ready. Waiting was challenging because it wasn’t always in the time frame I imagined it should be.
But it’s not about me.
As it happens, he had experienced rejection in science class. The students were asked to partner up, creating their own study groups. He took it really hard when no one reached out to be his partner.
Rejection is a part of life, and as unfortunate as it is, we can’t prevent our children from experiencing it.
When it does happen to your child, it’s important to keep your cool. As a parent, our instinct is to relate to their pain with our own painful experiences. This, however, can make them feel worse about the situation, compounding their own feelings.
When helping your child work through their feelings of rejection, it’s important to:
●Avoid jumping to conclusions and wait until you have the whole story.
●Tell stories of your own experiences with rejection to share empathy, but only if you can cast them in a good light and explain how you got over it.
●Instead of telling your child how they should feel, ask them how they can make themselves feel better.
●If they’re having a hard time of it, remind them of the times they rejected others to help understand the need for empathy.
After listening, I helped him talk through how he felt about the situation. Together, we pinpointed what had happened, and though sometimes high school can feel like a popularity contest, that’s not always the case.
Helping our teens to work through rejection can take time and communication. As much as we want to make the hurt go away as easily as we can, we have to work on our patience and help our teens work out the situation on their own.
Contributed by Tyler Jacobson: Tyler is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin