Children and the pain of social rejection


Children and the pain of social rejection

"Rejection is not fatal; it is merely someone's opinion" - Unknown

Do you recall any social rejections from your teenage years??  I can imagine how you wish you could protect your child from that feeling!! But rejection is a part of life.

According to the Wikipedia, a social rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from a social relationship or a social interaction. Feelings of being left out, not included in a whats app group or not being invited to a party can really cause pain and influence the well being of children.

Have you ever reflected about the social behaviors that are responsible for peer rejection? Are boys and girls both affected in the same way?

-Physical disabilities are a major cause of peer rejection. Children who usually lack compassion and empathy towards others have difficulties in accepting other children with physical disabilities.

-Aggressive behaviors: Some children regularly behave in ways that make it hard for others to accept them. Researchers have found that most of rejected boys are usually physically aggressive. Girls generally show less aggressiveness, but they are in fact more socially and emotionally rejected than boys.

-Being bossy is another common cause of having difficult relationships with peers; such children often have the desire to dominate everything and thus make others feel inferior and unable to give their opinions.

-Being shy and withdrawn is often seen as odd and socially awkward by others in a society where being open and sharing are crucial for social interactions.

-Children who do not “fit in”: Kids who don’t share same interests, talk about the same topics or even have the same grades at school!

-Other children are simply rejected because of peer pressure.

What are the consequences of peer rejection on the emotional and social development of children?
We are social beings and it is important for us to feel accepted. We all need to belong to a group, feel loved and appreciated as it increases our sense of significance and connection.

Children who experience peer rejection tend to have lower self-esteem, show aggressive behaviors, and have lower grades at school and report loneliness and depression.

How can you help your child overcome such difficult relationships and deal with rejection? As a parent, you need to:

- Teach social and communication skills such as how to begin a conversation and ask to join a group or to take turns and wait. Parents can teach this behavior by role playing scenarios.

- Encourage positive self-talk and thinking: Children who experience rejection usually engage in negative self-talk, such as “no one likes me” or “I am not good enough”… Instead, let them say “if I do ever get rejected, I hope the power of knowledge will empower me. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword”!

- Tell them it is okay to be different in a group or community where they feel they don’t belong. Living in alignment with their truth and values are more important than “fitting in”.

- Encourage positive interactions with new people, making new friends.

- Reinforce their self-confidence, as children with higher confidence rarely care about the approval of their peers.

Understanding the reasons behind your child difficult relationships with peers is important. As a parent, you may want to learn about your children strengths and weakness in order to be able to help them. A healthy child-parent relationship improves their ability to deal with any kind of difficult relationship and supports in building more resilience in their future life.

If your child is facing any kind of social or emotional rejection, any sort of peer pressure and you think you need support in building his or her resilience, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a free strategy session to see how our youth coach can help you best.

Haifa Dada
Youth, Parent and Family Coach

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About the Author
Linda Chaccour is a passionate Life Strategist and Happiness Coach, a Certified Youth, Parent and Family Coach, and the founder of Emerge Coaching in UAE and in Lebanon. A graduate of the NeuroLeadership Group, the World Coach Institute, and the Robbins-Madanes Training school (RMT), Linda has had the honor of being trained by the International Coach Federation and the motivational guru and success coach, Anthony Robbins.