Parenting: 6 Tips for Helping Kids Handle Rejection

parentingages and stages

Whether struggling with family, friend, or work relationships, adults are used to the sting of rejection. However, many, in their parenting years, have forgotten how often kids also experience rejection—and just how hurtful it can be. Just as parents need to help their kids develop physically, they also need to help them with their social and emotional development, including dealing with feelings of being excluded and feeling rejected.

Child Development: 6 Tips for Helping Children Get Over a Birthday Party Snub

One of the most common rejections that occurs in child development is the birthday party snub.

Kids playing with hula hoops on the grass

Kids often find out that they've been left off the birthday guest list after the fact when all their friends are chatting about how much fun they had at the latest party. They may also make the discovery when all the other children are being given invitations. It is incredibly hurtful for a child to realize that everyone else has snagged an invite. The full sting will only disappear with time, but as a parent there are a few things you can do to help out:

1. Be Willing to Listen

If your child comes home crying about a missing invite, bite your tongue and listen before jumping in with advice. A lecture is the last thing children want when they have been rejected by their classmates.

2. Don't Bash The Party Host

Children are quick to pick up on signals from their parents. You might feel defensive of your kid, but if you badmouth the birthday child or parents hosting the party, your child will notice and is likely to copy you in other situations. You may be frustrated that your son or daughter was not invited, but don't let that frustration out through foul language.

3. Call the Parent of the Birthday Child

Children at birthday party This tactic is not always advisable, as nobody wants to be the child of the extremely overbearing parent. But occasionally, calling the parent of the birthday child can be a good way to clear something up. When you do make this call, be sure to refrain from sounding accusatory. There's a good chance the lack of invite was a genuine mistake. If you've ever tried to order a cake, birthday supplies and other party necessities in addition to writing out invitations, you'll know how easy it is to flub up. If there's another reason behind the snub, listen to it carefully. There may not be anything you can do, but just knowing the story behind the situation could be helpful.

4. Share Your Experiences

It's easy for kids to feel alone when they don't get invited to parties. But everyone has been rejected at some point. Share a story of a time when you felt rejected as a child and how you dealt with it. This could lead to a valuable conversation with your child and may prepare him or her for some of the rejections that are sure to come with adolescence.

5. Make Other Plans

If your child has other exciting plans in store, he or she will feel less let down at the prospect of not attending another child's birthday party. Let them organize a sleepover or a trip to the movies with friends. If anything, you can help your child get started on planning his or her own next birthday. You could also visit extended family or go on a special day trip.

6. Provide a Special Reminder

When you've been rejected, your self-worth tends to plummet. This is the same for young children. If your child is feeling down about being left out, provide a gentle reminder of what a great person he or she is. This is a great way of showing that you care and that you are always there to help your child.

What tips have worked for your children when helping them deal with a birthday party snub?

Amanda Harrison is a Gen Y-er who worries that her generation doesn't care enough about saving money. She writes advice columns for young people to try to help them understand the complexities of money and investing.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.


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