You don’t make the team
Your friend doesn’t invite you to to the party
Your essay, performance, or art work doesn’t win first place
Rejection is a part of life, for kids a well as for adults. I bet we all know adults who never learned to handle rejection or obstacles well. (Think John McEnroe and his famous temper tantrums on the tennis court.) No one wants to raise a kid with similar outbursts. So what’s the answer? Teaching kids to control their mindset and to re-frame failure.
Here are some ideas:
Teach kids the power of not yet— When a child doesn’t win the trophy or make the team, don’t gloss over it and don’t get them a participation trophy so they fit in. Instead teach kids that just because they didn’t make it this time there is always a chance to make it next time. Teach them that persistence and effort make a difference.
Teach kids to be a learner, not a loser--Help kids understand that every failure has the seeds for growth in it. An evaluated experience makes for an improved and better performance next time. Teach them to ask: What have I learned that I can do differently next time?
Teach kids positive self-talk–Often kids feel rejected, worthless and inadequate in the face of failure. Teach them to identity the stories or messages they are telling themselves, to challenge those messages and replace them with a positive statement. Instead of, “I always lose,” they can say “I’ll work hard and do better next time.”
Teach kids how to measure progress–Often we measure progress from how far we are from the goal; “I didn’t make a 100 on my test.” Instead, teach them to measure progress from how far they are from where they started; “On my last test, I made a C. On this test I made a B.”
Teach kids that rejection can sometimes be redirection–And sometimes that is a good thing. We aren’t meant to win at everything and sometimes it can be a sign that our strengths and talents lay in another area. Evaluating whether or not to continue along the same path is part of the message that rejection can clarify.
Wyatt the Wonder Dog
Learns about Teamwork
Camping with his Boy Scout Troop is exciting and fun… until Max takes a serious fall while hiking. When Wyatt and the rest of the Scouts use their emergency training to get Max safely out of the woods, they learn the value of teamwork and the power of community to achieve big goals.