Contrary to what movies may make you believe, rejection is not just a part of high school romance. Life is tough. And that too in all of its stages in various ways for everyone. Which means instances of rejection can arise for anyone. Age no bar. Circumstances no bar. In fact, sometimes it is entirely unavoidable.
However, as parents, your goal should not be about becoming the idol of perfection. Rather your heart should be in the right place, always treating your kids well so even if there’s a case of rejection, it is not too bitter a pill to swallow for your child.
Let us do a deep dive into the impact of childhood rejection and what you can do to counteract it.
But first, what is rejection when it comes to children?
Unlike a heartbreak or not being selected for your dream job, rejection can take a lot of different forms in childhood. And it does not happen overnight. For example, refusing a second scoop of ice cream after dinner is not rejection.
In fact, major rejection is something that happens overtime. When your child repeatedly feels denied. Or neglected. Truth be told, the effect of this can be pretty bad. We mean kids who are used to being rejected will likely face rejection in other aspects of their lives as well. And that is not good for their growth and development on any level.
That is the thing about childhood rejection. It manifests itself very subtly (no strong “I do not like you, you are no kid of mine” there), but it affects quite dangerously.
Here are a few examples of childhood rejection:
- Showing preference to one kid over the other in a two or more child household
- Being unfair when extending privileges between two or more kids
- Allowing more freedom to one kid over the other (not including anything age-appropriate that is)
- Not giving your child enough attention by constantly doing something else
- Not following through on your commitments towards your child
- Being an absent parent
- Not spending enough quality time together bonding as parent-child
- Being cold
- Poking fun at your own kid regularly, especially in front of others
- Not giving your kid the chance to speak or interrupting them frequently when they do
- Not being interested in your child’s interests
- Being scathingly sarcastic with them
- Not offering them compliments or praise regularly
- Not showing up for their school events
Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to childhood rejection. Just so you get an idea of what it constitutes.
Did you know that perception is actually reality for kids?
If they repeatedly feel rejected by you, it becomes their reality. Not something they just feel. Hence, you want to put the brakes and really listen to what your child is saying. Do they often tell you things like “you do not love me” or “you like my brother more than me”? Chances are sentences like that are stemming from the impact of childhood neglect. Childhood rejection effects can make your kid feel like an unwelcome presence every time they try to come close to you.
The emotional consequences of childhood rejection are long-lasting
Think of it like a wound that never heals. Because repeated rejection is really that awful for your child. In fact, one of the major childhood rejection effects include a massive hit in a child’s sense of self-worth. Their confidence drops dramatically. And they can even develop an identity of rejection, which can hamper the development of their personality in a wholesome and healthy manner.
Learn how to prevent childhood cases of rejection
One of the best ways to do that so you can eliminate the impact of childhood neglect is to sort out things in the moment. You cannot let such negative emotions pile up in your child’s heart. They will grow. To the point where they can become unmanageable. If you try to sleep over it, chances are your child will perceive it as an issue that is unimportant to you. Something you are merely sweeping under the carpet.
You need to pick up your child’s cues and see how they handle things. Which means let your anger take a backseat and just talk to them. If they tell you they feel unloved, gently ask them why instead of blankly refuting that.
You would rather sit down and patiently explain to them that sometimes you will make mistakes too. You may say things that are hurtful or act in a way that makes your kid feel bad. Let them know that you are human too. Imperfect. That will help them realise that you are not rejecting them. You merely had a moment of lapse.
Keep an eye on sibling relationships
By that we mean do not let your kids be mean to each other. Deal with meanness strictly. Actively discourage it. Just like you would any other serious wrongdoing, like stealing for example. Moreover, you should also be strict in dealing with sibling bullying. Rejection by siblings is just another form of childhood rejection. So you want to be watchful of that.
Accept your kids just as they are
The best way to mitigate the emotional consequences of childhood rejection is to accept your child just as they are. Because they are imperfect too. Just like you. They will fall short of your expectations sometimes and that is okay. You may scold them for it and that is okay too. As long as you maintain a healthy and simply accept imperfection with all your heart, your child will never feel neglected or rejected, thus saving them a lifetime of hurt and emotional as well as psychological issues.
Be emotionally available to your kids always. Even if that is not in the moment, make time to be available later. To sit down with them and just talk. Other than that, here are more ways that you can use to make your child feel loved and accepted for who they are:
- Be proactive in talking to them everyday
- Really listen to what your kids tell you as they want to be heard
- Give them the space to pour out their heart to you
- Take what they seriously, never just shrug it off or joke about it
- Spend some good time together everyday, indulging in activities both of you enjoy
- Be genuine
- And always be emotionally, mentally and physically available for your kids
Impact of childhood rejection is entirely preventable if you keep your heart in the right place and do what needs to be done as a parent. That is the key to raising confident, empathetic and emotionally healthy kids.
Another way to ensure your child’s wellbeing is to enrol them in the right preschool. Trust us, a good school can make a world of difference when it comes to their emotional health. Fortunately, EuroKids offers a nurturing and supportive environment to kids where they can learn and grow freely and holistically. For more, visit us!