As a former victim of bullying, I have had my fair share of rejection. It’s a part of life that some people learn earlier than later yet at some point everyone has to deal with it. Teaching your children how to handle it is a whole different story.
As a parent every time my kids hurt, I hurt. They cry, I cry. They’re happy, I’m happy. They have a break-up, I feel the pain. And on and on. So when one of my daughters faces rejection in any form I feel their pain. But rather than wallow in it, it’s my job to teach them how to move on.
As a kid, I was rejected in many ways. Prior to high school I was never a “popular” kid; never one of the “in crowd”. I didn’t get chosen for teams, I had crushes on boys that never, ever returned the affection. But for some reason, I knew in my heart that if I let the rejection get to me, I was the loser everyone said I was.
I am a rose colored glasses kind of gal. I always have felt that for every missed opportunity there is another one around the corner. But I had many years of training to adjust to rejection. My kids however, have not. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Both my girls have had the good fortune to be blessed with little rejection in their lives. This may sound braggish but believe me it’s not. I always feared that their good luck would someday run out. That the first time they had to face rejection would be that much more devastating.
The less rejection you face, the more you are accustomed to everything working out perfectly. When it finally doesn’t, handling it is foreign.
There are those parents that just assume their children are perfect at everything and there is no room for rejection. That includes whether they are actually good at something or not. Like the sports parent who has an uncoordinated kid yet can’t believe when that kid doesn’t make a team. They convince the kid that it’s the coach or the judges. They are playing favorites, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They convince the child that there is no reason for being rejected. What a crazy way to really mess up your kids.
I have always taught my girls to prepare themselves for the real world. That includes learning how to deal with rejection. You can coddle your kids and make them believe they can do no wrong but being rejected doesn’t mean they ARE doing something wrong. Just that maybe another person did it a little better. AND THAT’S OKAY.
My older daughter graduated from college and had a tough time finding a full time job. That’s not unusual in today’s world but this is a kid that didn’t go through alot of rejection prior to that. The worst thing that had happened to her was not getting in a sorority when her three best friends did. She cried. She went through a period of wanting to quit school. It was our job to teach her that there were many other much more horrible things that could happen to her; that in the grand scheme of things it just wasn’t a big deal. She saw the light, moved on and enjoyed college as much as a person can. It took her three or four jobs to get settled into something she loves but she persevered. She did not allow rejection to get her down.
My youngest just told me this morning that she did not get accepted for something she had applied for at school. She is devastated today. I understand. My only comments were that I am sorry and sad for her. I did not tell her that the staff who makes the selections are jerks and don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t feel that way. There is a reason that someone else was chosen. It doesn’t mean she is not worthy; life will offer her other opportunities that she will go after. Opportunities she WILL be granted. Yes, I am dying inside because she is hurt and upset. I am sick that I am not there to hug her and take away some of the pain. But through talk and support she will get through it.
I always say that I miss having small children. When I really think about it, I don’t. Raising kids is the hardest, most rewarding job on Earth. And it’s exhausting. We only get one chance to raise them and we best do it right. We have done everything in our power to prepare our girls for the real world. The best one can do is teach their children that when they face rejection they have two choices. They can wallow in self pity and let it get the best of them. Or, they can get up, dust themselves off and move on.
It’s the dusting that builds character.
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