According to Katie Hurley, a licensed clinical social worker, "The teenage years are characterized by high vulnerability, which can make it difficult to recover from rejection in any form. Three key components to building resiliency in teens include: a supportive and unconditional relationship with parents, good communication skills, and effective problem-solving skills." Here are three types of rejection teenagers deal with most often.
Whether your child has been sent packing from the cool-kid's table in the cafeteria or excluded from a sleepover party at a friend's house, the damage may seem permanent. Friends become more important during the teenage years, as teens try and become independent of their parents. This makes the sting of social rejection even worse. Try and help your teen understand that the rejection isn't their fault and listen to them without making judgments. Help them find new ways to connect with other teens, whether through volunteering or a club activity. Staying social will help them learn that rejection isn't the end of their social life.
Young love can be both exhilarating and exhausting. When something goes wrong, teens may feel that nobody will ever love them again. Romantic relationships often dissolve in a very public manner, thanks to Facebook and texting. Try to resist the urge to speak in a condescending manner about the former romantic interest, which may make your teen come to their defense. Instead, focus on the qualities in your teen that draw people to her. Maybe she makes people laugh or loves to sing. Nurture these qualities and remind your teen that everyone is different. Some people will like you, some won't.
Club or team rejection
Your teen was counting on making the varsity squad or debate team, but the roster has been announced and he isn't included. A teenager's identity is closely linked to the groups and activities they join. Auditioning for the school musical or trying out for the track team means taking a risk, which is difficult even for adults. Praise your teen for the confidence it took to take that risk. Encourage them to focus on other activities that they enjoy, or to find new ways to pursue an interest. Give them time to process their feelings, then help them to move forward. Your positive spin on the situation models the resiliency they need as they move into adulthood.
Facing rejection doesn't have to be the end of the world. Help your teen cope with these feelings -- and with this you are helping them develop an important life skill.