Teach junior ways to find strength in their anguish. Plus, learn four easy tips to instil grit!
Rejection and disappointment are some of the most difficult challenges junior will have to deal with at some point in their lives.
It can also leave uncomfortable and painful emotions in its wake. As parents, it’s even tougher to see your offspring experience such depressed feelings, knowing you can’t you can’t prevent it.
Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, notes that parents often struggle between worrying about their child and making sure they don’t over-react or get too involved. “The majority of the time, parents need not interfere when their child is rejected, most will learn to accept and [recover] from the situation.”
That said, it doesn’t mean you should take it easy and neglect your child’s well-being. Dr Lim advises that you should emphasise to junior that your door is always open if and when they need help, even if they simply need someone to talk to.
“The majority of the time, parents need not interfere when their child is rejected, most will learn to accept and [recover] from the situation.”
“In general, if the child continues to be low in his mood, has disturbances in his sleep or his appetite, has no energy, and is irritable for more than two weeks or if he complains of suicidal thoughts or have acts of self-harm, please seek professional help.”
Dr Lim offers tips that will help your child overcome common causes of rejection:
SCENARIO #1: REJECTED BY A CHOSEN SCHOOL
WHAT The school posting results are out and your tween didn’t get into the school they’d hoped to go to. What makes it worse is that it’s the same school you or their siblings studied at previously.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Avoid showing your disappointment and remind them you are proud of their achievements and no matter which school they go to, you’ll love them the same, notes Dr Lim. Reassure them that there is no shame in failing to enter the school, either. “Help your child learn to be proud of his new school by looking at its strength and other advantages of the school,” adds Dr Lim.
SCENARIO #2: REJECTED BY SCHOOLMATES
WHAT Your kiddo has problems making friends.
HOW YOU CAN HELP As it’s unlikely that your child will open up about their inability to make friends in school, get them to talk about their school day instead. These conversations will give you insights into how they feel about school and if they are facing any challenges.
If you do learn that they’re experiencing some emotional turmoil from being rejected by their schoolmates, Dr Lim says it’s necessary for you to offer them a listening ear. “Listen to your child and allow him to ventilate, it’s also useful to [help] identify the causes of his social rejection.” Pay close attention to the things they say as you may be able to pick up hints such as their body language or the things they say or do that their peers may find off-putting. However, Dr Lim notes that if the child has difficulties with social skills, seeing a professional — such as a therapist or child psychologist — will help sort through these issues.
SCENARIO #3: REJECTED BY A CHOSEN CCA
WHAT Your young ‘un has been practising hard, so that they’ll be able to enter a co-curricular activity (CCA) of their choice. Even though they feel confident about their performance at the try-outs or auditions, your kiddo later learns they didn’t make the team.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Praise their courage in trying and that there’s no shame in not being selected, shares Dr Lim. You could also help them discover what other passions and interests they may have. But if they are passionate about the sport, Dr Lim says to allow them to continue training. “Emphasise that if they had true passion for the sport, they should continue to enjoy it even if they’re playing it leisurely.”
SCENARIO #4: REJECTED BY THE OBJECT OF THEIR AFFECTION
WHAT Your child has been gushing about someone they admire/has a crush on in school. During Valentine’s Day, they even plucked up their courage to profess their interest, only to learn that their feelings weren’t reciprocated.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Dr Lim advises it’s best that you observe the situation and not interfere in this matter prematurely. “Most times, if the child has good support from friends, they will recover in no time.” And if your relationship with your kiddo is good ― they’ll approach you. So, offer a listening ear and give your child the support they need to grieve and recover.
“If success is [tied to] the child trying his best and his self-worth is [determined by] his efforts and not the results, he will not feel like a failure even if he has poor results.”
HOW TO BUILD YOUR CHILD’S RESILIENCE
While confidence and resilience may not soften the blow of rejection and disappointment, it can toughen your child, so that they are unfazed. Dr Lim has advice on how to instil resilience in junior…
#1 Don't be over-protective; allow your kiddo to fail If you’re over-protective of junior, being too sheltered will not prepare them for life beyond childhood. Dr Lim says, “Only by learning to accept failure will they be able to tolerate the many tribulations of life that will come their way.”
#2 Let them learn about delayed gratification Children who can resist immediate rewards for better ones that come later will fare better in life. They are more likely to sacrifice pleasure and satisfaction now for what they really want and attain better self-control, shares Dr Lim. “A great way to [inculcate delayed gratification] can be making junior work for rewards. For instance, getting them to read ten books before getting rewarded with playtime.”
#3 Teach the importance of getting support from friends and family A person who has a good social support is more emotionally resilient, notes Dr Lim. You should emphasise empathy, the importance of friendship and encourage your child to help their peers as these are the qualities that found in strong relationships.
#4 Emphasise the process and not the results This is especially true when your child is unable to enrol in a school of his choice because of their poor results. Dr Lim explains, “If success is [tied to] the child trying his best and his self-worth is [determined by] his efforts and not the results, he will not feel like a failure even if he has poor results.”
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