How To Handle Rejection As A Parent

When rejection happens for a parent, it alters the entire family dynamic; it can pop up out of nowhere, hitting you unawares.

From early childhood to the teenage years, many of us will feel the sting of having to handle rejection at some point. How can we manage this at the varying stages of our parenting life?

When They're Babies And During The Brief Toddler Years

It’s perfectly natural for babies and toddlers to find a secure attachment with one primary caregiver. This could be a parent or childminder, meaning there may be one parent or another who feels actively alienated from or rejected by their child. To counter this kind of rejection, take a "slow and steady wins the race" kind of action.

Make the effort to have one-on-one time with your child, away from the primary caregiver. Get down on their level and engage with their games, sing to them, and find a connection with your little one. You will find that over time your connection becomes stronger. And as they grow, they will learn that they are independent from their primary caregiver, giving more room for you in their life.

With The Independent Early Primary Schooler

For young children, their world at this age is getting bigger. It can be quite an adjustment for them, and they may feel overwhelmed. You may find that they struggle with managing those big emotions and take their difficult feelings out on you. Give them time to adjust and help them to identify their feelings. You will find as their world becomes less complicated, they will find their way back to you.

The Awkward Pre-teen And Dreaded Teenage Years

As our children grow and actively reject us, it’s important we get to the root of the problem and uncover what is really going on. To do this we need to take a step back and look at our relationship with our child. Figure out where things may have changed and take action to rectify it. It’s unlikely our children will try to work on the relationship, so it will be up to us to break the ice.

When They’re Adults

The possibility of having to handle rejection doesn’t end just because we have adult children. The difference, however, is that we can now talk to our children on a one-to-one adult level and try to make amends within the situation. It’s necessary to say that we can’t flick a switch and expect our children to reconnect with us, no matter what age they are. Adult relationships are complicated and need empathy and compassion from everyone involved. If reconnection is proving difficult, seek emotional support in managing your rejected feelings.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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