“The focus of tolerance education is to deal with the concept of equality and fairness. We need to establish confidence with children that there is more goodness than horror in this world.” ~ Morris Dees

Your little boy wants to play soccer so badly. The others on the team consistently choose him last. Your son ends up sitting most games out, watching hopefully from the sidelines. It’s painful for you to watch the pain in him from not being selected. Your empathy for his plight can hurt.

You think it’s unfair, isn’t it? You know that your child is vibrant, fun, and whip-smart. Everyone should want to play with him! But children don’t seem to exercise a real sense of fairness until a later age, so you’ll have to teach your child how to deal with unfairness and his feelings of rejection because of it.

It’s so wonderful for you to be able to discuss his feelings of rejection and point out to him that compassion toward those other children because they don’t see his strengths might be appropriate. Or, if you can see that his skills really aren’t up to the level of the other kids, you might need to practice more with him to bring them up a level or two.

Below are seven more ways to help your child cope with rejection by teaching resilience and understanding. (As a bonus, as you help your child through his rejection, you will also be helping yourself through their rejection!)

• Acknowledge their feelings fully. Be willing to address the subject with your child and listen to him more than you talk.

• Elicit empathy for the other children. Remind your child of a time he or she wanted to play without a particular other child. It can be hard to find a nice way to say “No.”

• Try not to be defensive on your child’s behalf. He or she may not feel as strongly about it as you feel. Avoid unnecessarily escalating their distress by staying at their level of emotion.

• A matter-of-fact statement such as, “They had too many players today,” or, “You can try again tomorrow,” will help your child to not take rejection too personally.

• Model and encourage pro-social behavior. Teach your child to be kind, and how to get away from unkind people. Remember, your child’s observational skills are crucial to his successful interactions, so teach them to be observant of non-verbal signals, too.

• Arrange play-dates. A familiar environment can help shy kids bond with a more outgoing child. Even if the play is parallel play – separate activities in the same space – it is still social.

Empower your child to be resilient. Critical thinking questions, such as, “What will make me feel better?” or, “What can I do differently the next time someone says no?” Will teach him to be self-reliant and proactive.

Rejection can be hard for both you and your child, but it doesn’t have to have finality. Resilience isn’t just about brushing the dust off from our knees. It’s also about aiming for a better outcome the next time around. Nurturing healthy interactions and vibrant independence in your child will give them the best tools to deal with the complexities of socializing.

Author's Bio: 

With over 20 years of experience gained across television, radio and print, Maria Khalifé brings to her clients knowledge and understanding in holistic and motivational living. Maria brings to the world powerful life-changing experiences for those who seek extraordinary lives and want to reach their maximum potential. Maria can help you to uncover your true dynamic self. Please visit http://www.changecoachinginstitute.com