How to Help Your Child Cope with Rejection and What to Say to Make Them Feel Better


As a grown up, rejections in our workplace or relationships are pretty hard to and deal with though we know by now thatthey are inevitable and morethan often rear their ugly heads in front of us. Ourmaturity, network of friends and experience helps us to cope with them.But just imagine how devastating rejection can be for achild who has been rejected ina selection for a choir, ballet group, or basketball team try outs.It hits their confidence and ego and as a grown-up we have to help them cope with it using our own experienceand wisdom so that they are stronger for the harsh life ahead. Here’s how you can help your child cope with rejection.

1Help your child calm down their nerves.

Getting rid of negative emotions is extremely important when it concerns children. Many believe that diverting the kid’s attention to physical sensation work miracles to d dilute their disappointments. You can calm down the child first by making them hold an ice cube in their hands and giving them soothing remarks like they did their best. Do not overreact yourself. Ask them to take deep belly breaths.

What to say: “It’s OK, honey, nothing bad happened. We both know you tried hard.”

Help your child calm down their nerves.

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2Divert their attention

Divert the child’s attention from the disappointments and make them motivated for many other chances lying ahead. If the child is relaxed and calm, they will themselves start to think about where they went wrong and they will self-correct themselves which will turn out fantastic development. In this way a child isn’t faltered by mistakes but learns from them to become more resilient later. Tell them that they are just in the beginning of the race called life and there would  be innumerable chances where they could prove their worth and shine.

Divert their attention

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3Help them analyse the situation.

After your child has calmed down ask them calmly what has happened and analyse the problem from theirperspective. Do not belittle their problems. Instead teach them failure is not personal. You can also contact the school or the day care centre to get a clearer picture and aske them for suggestions and guidance on how to manage the situation. If you are rational, then the kid can also concentrate on the objectivity of the problem not the emotional aspect of it.

Help them analyse the situation.

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4What to say

Speak to them and help them realize why the outcomes may have been so. Perhaps there were other factors involved and it had nothing to do with the child’s abilities.

“What happened? OK and what happened after that? Why do you think you didn’t get on the team?”

What to say

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5Show them different examples of coping with rejection, including your own.

You have to make your kids realize that rejection is normal and regular in life and not to be fussed about. You can watch reality TV with your kids and show the sheer amount of people getting rejected who take their failure with grace equanimity.

Show them different examples of coping with rejection, including your own.

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6Give them examples

Give examples from your own life and experience where you have failed multiple times and dusted yourself and started off again and got your target. It will give immense help to your kids to know they are not alone getting rejected.

What to say:  “you know this happened to me too when it was in school, I was not selected for the ballet group and I moved in to sports and cheerleading instead!”

Give them examples

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7Show them alternatives.

Sometimes rejectionsmake us look for different avenues which ultimately turn out to be far better decisions for us. Many parents are adamant and single minded themselves and force their kids to slog onto the same thing again after the rejection, instead they should liberate them by saying there are other options as well. Ifthey are not selected in their dream college there are other good colleges too where they can apply.

Show them alternatives.

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8Do not pressure them too much

When we are dejected, we do not think of these other alternatives in front of us and as parent it’s our duty to make then see that and keep their hopes up. Under no circumstances should you make them feel guilty or pressured to do better or slog harder for the same test or college entrance again as this will make the matter worse and you would lose their trust.

Do not pressure them too much

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9What to say

Try to make the child understand that a particular choice isn’t the centre of the universe. It may be important but there are other options equally good that can cater to what they may have been expecting from their first choice.

You can say:  “I know it makes you sad that they didn’t accept you at that college, but why don’t you try a different one? Remember the college we visited last month? What a great campus they have, don’t they!”

What to say

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10Help them find their own way to overcome rejection.

You have to make your child feel strong enough to handle the rejections and the upsets by themselves by boosting their ego and self-confidence. Ask them what they would want to do better the next time they try out? They will brainstorm and come out with innovative ideas by themselves without your help. This will make them internally confident that they can achieve whatever they want no matter how many setbacks they face.

What to say: “I know you’re feeling bad because they didn’t take you on the team this time. What can you do to feel better right now?”

Help them find their own way to overcome rejection.

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11Give them options and suggestions

You can make them feel that you completely understand how they are feeling right now because you too were not selected in the school annual play, so what would they like you to do to make them feel better right now? They will have some idea to get out of the morose mood and look forward to some fun activity which will take their mind off the bad experience and freshen up  to face the world in a happier spirit.

Give them options and suggestions

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About the author / 

Andrew Alpin

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