two children sitting apart

When we experience knock-backs several times over we can find it hard to get back up and face the world. We need to be resilient. It is a life skill and it needs to be taught to children. We have to teach them not to run away but ‘get back on the horse’. I have been seeing several children recently who are finding this hard in relation to friendships. They have been rejected by a friend or a group and found tough dealing with fear of rejection and so worry about talking to their peers, breaking out into a new crowd, entering into conversations with peers they don’t know. They think what they may say is stupid or others will laugh at them and exclude them from conversations. So, they keep quiet and feel like they are alone and don’t have any friends. It is a very lonely place but by protecting themselves in this way they feel safe and their feelings cant get hurt. It is very sad and I understand why they are doing it. Who wants to be rejected by their peer group, who wants to be hurt yet again?

Children Dealing With Fear Of Rejection

So, how can we move them on? We need to help them see that their past experiences may not be their future ones. That these are not the same people. We need to go back to basics and teach them how to look confident and how to interact with confidence whilst at the same time protecting their self-esteem. We need to teach them small talk and how to interject when a conversation is flowing. We need them to smile and start off with a ‘hi’.

We don’t want to be raising a generation of children who are fearful of making friends so let’s start building children’s self-esteem and then work on their confidence.

There are some children who also fear rejection when they make plans with friends but they cancel them at the last minute. It can also make them feel unwanted. For strategies on help to your child deal with cancelled plans read this article.

If you would like to build up your child’s self-esteem have a look at the ‘WOW’ Board. It’s a simple but really effective tool.