It was April first, the day our daughter Susy was expecting her acceptance letter from the University of North Carolina to arrive in the mail. Unfortunately, the letter Susy received read something more like, "We regret to inform you "
The day the rejection from UNC came, our entire family cried. Susy should have gotten in; she had the grades, the scores, the family legacy. Still she was rejected. We didn't understand it; we'd prayed so hard. Our daughter was heartbroken, and so were we.
On a different occasion, our son John, then 11, came storming in the front door, angry and tearful. He'd been playing basketball with the neighborhood guys and Roy, an older boy, had repeatedly told him he wasn't any good.
"You can't shoot, pipsqueak," he'd taunt. "You're no good."
The agony in our son's face reflected pain and rejection. As his story came pouring out, I, too, felt anger at this older boy, a Christian leader in his grade.
Pain, anger, frustration. We've all felt these emotions when our children have been rejected. The reality is, rejection's a part of life. As much as we'd like to shield our child from rejection, we can't. Our job is to prepare our child for life, not protect her from the pain of it. But here are some hints on how to help children cope with the inevitable pain of rejection.
Consider the Reason for Rejection
Let's say your son doesn't get his homework in on time, and because of his falling grades, he's disqualified from participating in a sport he'd hoped to join. The rejection's valid, so resist the temptation to fix things for him. You'd be doing your son a disservice. As difficult as it may be, allow him to suffer the consequences of his actions, no matter how painful. Simply say, "I'm sorry, son." After some of his disappointment's passed and he's had time to reflect on the situation, ask your son what he learned from it.1