Friday, March 13, 2015

Helping Our Kids Overcome Rejection

I was twelve the first time I remember being rejected or treated unkindly by people I trusted. I had fallen into a group of mean girls without really knowing it. Until I became their prey. I remember how I felt when I finally realized I was the butt of all their jokes. I remember that awful sinking feeling. I remember wondering if everyone else had seen it coming...or better yet, were they all laughing too. It was horrible...and not in the mom can take me to get ice cream and it will be all better then sense. The feelings were long lasting...and eventually influenced the way I made friends in the future.

So here I am 30 ....30 long years later. And I am beginning to face these same issues with my own kids. And it hurts almost as bad worse than it did back in 1984. And it isn't gender specific. In fact Tucker was hurt before Savannah was....which seemed a little weird to me. But it happened.

The thing is, I can't change the fact that the world is full of mean, unkind, careless and thoughtless people who do not filter their words. In fact, sadly, if I am honest, I've even contributed to that audience before. But what I can do is train/discipline my kids to respond correctly and Biblically when treated in a less than desirable way.

Here's a few things I am working on....maybe they will help you with your kids too:

1. Consider immediate forgiveness. If it's something that is trivial could I forgive them quickly and minimize damage to the relationship? Sometimes this can happen if it's a first time offense or if kids were just joking and took it a little too far. Sometimes we don't have to make it a big deal.

2. Consider the source. Is this someone who lacks self-control with their words? Were they showing off, trying to one up someone else? Don't feel like you have to correct a fool. They don't take it well.

3. Is there truth to what's been said? Even if said with hurtful intentions, sometimes we can grow if we can sift the truth from what's been said.

4. Is it habitual? Is the meanness a pattern that is present consistently in the person's life? Is that the type of person you want to be known with?

5. Process the words said to/about you. Is that what God thinks about you? What does His word say about you? His words are the most important the only ones that matter.

6. How can you communicate with the offender that He/She has hurt you? What if they don't care? What if they just continue? Sometimes they might not even know they hurt you. Sometimes they might not have been paying attention.

7. No matter how hurt you are, you can always be kind. Sometimes kindness is quiet and sometimes the kindest thing you can do is confront. But whatever you do, react is such a Christ-like manner that it is obvious you are coming out of great love for them. Sometimes your gentle spirit might be just the thing God uses to soften their hearts.

So many time I hear parents say, "Find new friends", or "We'll show them", or "Sticks and stones...", but the facts are that if we don't teach our kids how to process the world's actions on their lives, we will raise our own generation of "mean" kids....because they do not know who they are in Christ. They will retaliate with the same meanness and hatred and pride that mean kids do will look no different and the cycle will continue.

Let's take the time to invest in our kids the Biblical way God designed for us to handle our differences. His word is full of instruction on that. He has not left us in the dark.

I'd love to hear how you help your kids cope with rejection, mean kids, hurtful words....leave a comment if you've got a tip.

No comments: