By TMoM Team Member Britney Dent
Getting rejected, whether it’s for a sports team, an academic program or in a relationship, can be one of the most challenging events your teen will ever experience. So it may be hard to believe that there is a silver lining when it comes to rejection, but it’s true!
My daughter was really excited to try out for the school dance team. We attended the interest meetings, practice days, and worked on routines at home in the evenings. Despite the effort put in, when the roster was posted online her name was not listed. This brief sting of rejection hurt as does any form of rejection or unacceptance but I was amazed at how resilient my daughter was after finding out that she didn’t make the team.
We even believe there were some positives about not making the dance team this year. She is focused on other sports and clubs and has dance as a class at school during the school day. There are some positives about being rejected.
Help your teen consider these points whenever they’ve gone through an experience involving rejection:
- You get a “do over.” A rejection likely signals a way to improve something or try something different. Perhaps it’s the chance to make small changes that could have a big impact.
- You have the opportunity to reflect on the rejection. You can ask your teen, “What part did you play in this situation?” This can be enlightening! Take a few moments with your teen to talk about how they conducted themselves through the situation. Help them learn to appreciate this chance for increased self-awareness. Figuring out anything they might have done or not done can help them with a different approach in the future. If they didn’t practice the sport much before tryouts, then maybe next time they will. If they were unprepared for the interview, it is likely they will be more proactive the next time an opportunity arises.
- Acknowledge the fate aspect of the situation. Perhaps it was fate. There may be something more fulfilling, enticing, or adventurous waiting for your teen around the next corner. When my daughter didn’t make the dance team, it freed up her mind and time to pursue other opportunities such as school clubs and Bible study groups.
- What did they learn from the experience? Have your teen sit down and jot down what they learned about themself, the situation, the other people involved, the process, or whatever else it may be. Perhaps they learned to prepare more in the future. Help them figure out what they learned from the process. They will undoubtedly be able to use that information later.
Every life experience gives us something. After your teen figures out what they learned, then they can acknowledge that whatever they went through was worth it. The silver lining of rejection allows a “do over.” Not making the team or getting accepted allows teens to think about the part they played in the situation. They get an opportunity to make changes in themselves and acknowledge that fate took its course.
Help your teen learn to move forward with confidence and purpose after a rejection. Be supportive and encouraging in whatever way is best for your teen during that difficult time!