The Pain of Being Rejected

Pain is such a horrible teacher to let children live in rejection

By Constance Ndeleko

Rejection has a devastating impact on children which unfavorably distresses their growth and development even in future. Rejection is being on the receiving end of a social rebuff which leads to a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences. Social rejection proliferates anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness.

Rejection in children may be depicted in different ways; peer rejection, parental rejection, and family rejection. Rejection clatters with the child’s well-being including their cognitive development. The consequences can be eminent in their adulthood. Rejection takes many subtle forms, if left unattended in the early stages of life it can wreak havoc on a person’s psyche.

Often are times when rejection is hidden from the child and sometimes from the parent of caregiver themselves. Caregivers who might seem perfect in the outside world might be concealing factors that are unfavorable to the child’s welfare which happens to their enclosed space at home. It constructs an environment where the child feels like an intruder in their own family.

Children will know it if our hearts are there for them. If we seek to understand and love them, they will feel loved and understood.

What elicits Rejection?

  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Family wrangles
  • Economic factor-poverty
  • Pandemic and disease
  • Violence and Abuse
  • Secretes and mistrusts
  • Biasness and inequality

Today, we will speak to two forms of rejection i.e. Parental/caregiver/family rejection and peer rejection. Flipping and browsing through different research papers I obtained some informative data that is worth sharing:

Parental acceptance-rejection theory predicts that emotional abuse by parents has consistent effects on the personality development of children everywhere, as well as having consistent effects on the personality functioning of adults who were rejected as children.

Children whom might have experience rejection tend to be: hostile, aggressive, passive aggressive, or to have problems with the management of hostility and aggression; to be dependent or “defensively independent,” depending on the degree of rejection; to have an impaired sense of self-esteem and self-adequacy; to be emotionally unstable; emotionally unresponsive, and to have a negative world view.

Parental influence has a vital role in shaping a child’s growth and development process thus a good relationship is key from early years into their adolescent stage to adulthood. A persons temperament is shaped by their upbringing in the environment they grew in as it also shapes their personality and helps them in establishing relationships with other people including their peers.

Additionally, parental upbringing style impacts on the child’s attitude through interaction. Children are sensitive and they adapt to the environment that is created for them. We simply don’t tell them what has to be done, but they adapt into to the demands of their upbringing thus leaving a direct imprint on their conduct.

Peer rejection is a global term that encompasses the many behaviors used by children to exclude and hurt one another, including overt forms of control and exclusion and more subtle tactics. It is not simply being the recipient of aggressive acts that is linked to maladaptive outcomes, but being the recipient of coordinated efforts that keep an individual outside the boundaries of the peer group.

Under short-term consequences children develop loneliness, low self-esteem, and social anxiety while the Long-term effects could include poor academic performance, school dropout, juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior, and mental health problems in adolescence and adulthood.

Peer rejection, having few friends, and peer victimization have an impact on the emotional wellbeing of children with LD. Loneliness is a negative experience that results from the perception that a person’s network is deficient in terms of number and quality of relationships (Peplau & Perlman, 1982).

Studies also highlight…

  • Aggressive play with peers in early childhood is linked to behavioral maladjustment and difficulties with peers in middle childhood.
  • Hostile behavior and withdrawal from social interaction in middle childhood is predictive of antisocial behavior in adolescence, extreme forms of teenage delinquency, externalizing problems in late adolescence, drug use in adulthood, and problems in other social relationships.
  • Aggressive children are more likely to be avoided and actively targeted than nonaggressive children because the larger group seeks to isolate individuals who tend to disrupt normal peer interaction.
  • Dyadic relationship of friendship as a potential buffer against feelings of loneliness in youth. Friendship is a dyadic-level construct referring to a voluntary, mutually interdependent relationship with a shared history between partners 

Costs of rejection

Low self-esteem, chronic self-doubt, and mental health illnesses-anxiety, stress and depression often the impact lasts well into adulthood.

Many rejected children describe themselves in negative terms—they say that they are less competent socially, they feel more anxious, and they expect less positive social outcomes than other children. 

Children might feel unwanted- running away from home, dropping out of school, get into substance and drug abuse, might seek risky ways to get attention from people who might harm them, might lead t self loath etc.

If a child perceives himself rejected by his family then he will inevitably have self-worth issues

An adult’s mind can do what a child’s can’t. An adult mind can come to understand that the rejection had little to do with who they are and the child they once were could not do anything to change it.

What we should all understand is that; Not everyone gets the good parenting every child deserves. We don’t choose our parents. As children, we are so dependent we can’t leave them. But as we become adults, we can come to understand that the people we are born to aren’t the final judges of our personal worth thus we can work towards making the world better for our children by staring to treat them right.

Ensuring child acceptance by:

  • Purposefully talk to them
  • Listen to them
  • Hear their hearts
  • Take them seriously
  • Make time for them
  • Be genuine
  • Be available
We don’t want our children to develop an identity of rejection that will make life harder for 

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