How to Help a Tween Who's Facing Rejection

It's a part of growing up but rejection isn't fun

You can help your child deal with rejection just by listening.
You can help your tween cope with rejection and learn from it. Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

It doesn't matter how old you are, rejection isn't a fun experience for anyone. But while you may have learned how to cope and deal with the emotions that come with rejection, your tween may need some assistance should life not go his way. If your child is facing rejection you can help, and you can make it possible for your child to learn from the experience so he'll be better prepared when it happens again.

Listen and Acknowledge

If your child didn't make the soccer team, or wasn't cast in the school play he's going to be disappointed. Listen to your child and allow him to talk his way through the experience. Try not to downplay your tween's feelings by telling him that "it wasn't that big of a deal" or "why would you want to play soccer anyway?" To your tween, it is a big deal and that means that you should let him know that you understand why he's so disappointed. Let him vent to you, but don't allow him to take his frustrations out in an email, text or on social media.

Realize that your tween may be angry and disappointed, but he may not want to confide in you. If that's the case, don't take it personally. Allow your child the chance to talk with friends, a sibling or even a grandparent. He will likely confide in you eventually, if you give him the space he needs.

Don't Play the Blame Game

You may think your tween is the most talented athlete around, or the most qualified to be elected class president.

But if your child's expectations don't come true, it's important that you avoid blaming the coach, or anyone else. Allow your child the chance to sulk for a while, and then help him regroup so he can figure out what went wrong and how he can improve for the next time. Let your child know that you're proud he gave it a try, and that you're proud that he's willing to take a risk.

Help Your Tween Put it in Perspective

It can be easy for children and adults to take things too seriously. Help your child put his rejection into perspective by sharing a similar story that you experienced, or by distracting him for a while so that he can get over his disappointment. Also, it's important to remember that when a door closes, another one opens somewhere else. Your tween may not have made the soccer team, but he may discover that his talents lie somewhere else. Encourage your tween to use the experience as a way to expand his interests and passions, who knows, he may find something he likes even better.

Enlarge His Social Circle

If your child's rejection is by his peers, a friend, or classmates, the sting can be especially painful and difficult. Help your tween find new friends by enlarging his social circle. Consider finding activities out of school so that your child can find friends with a common interest. Consider clubs or service organizations, youth group, or even volunteer activities.

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