Consequences of Peer Rejection
Peer rejection has more profound and lasting consequences than you want to believe. It's more than a matter of mere survival – but survival with pride, confidence and self-image intact to thrive as a healthy adult. But every child can't be a class favorite – how can you ensure class “rejects” bounce back from adolescence unscathed?
What You Need to Know
Negative experiences children face early on can continue as they get older, and have lasting, drastic impacts. Compared to popular children, rejected children are:
- Seven times more likely to fail a grade
- Nearly four times more likely to drop out of school before 10th grade
- More likely to earn lower grades
- More likely to be described by teachers as anxious, fearful or depressed
- More highly associated with delinquency, arrest, violent behavior and substance abuse
- Report more loneliness and depression
Research has determined that children's peer relations are one of the most powerful indicators and predictors of current and future mental health problems. The effects of peer rejection compound when the sufferer is also victimized with ridicule, harassment or bullying.
How You Can Help
- By successfully making and keeping friends, peer-rejected children may be able to avoid despair and its destructive effects. Encourage activities inside and outside of school, which will develop talents and interests, and possibly introduce like-minded friends and a healthy peer foundation. Kids at school gang up on a common victim, but kids outside of school don't they're “supposed to” reject your child.
- Discuss what's going on with your child and how he feels, to provide at least one healthy outlet. The ride home might be ideal so that your child can avoid eye contact while expressing difficult feelings. Probe deeper with questions that may lead him to his own epiphanies as he thinks aloud, and take advantage of opportunities to sincerely highlight your child's greatest strengths and qualities, and remind him frequently why you love him and how he makes you proud. Be the pillar of the self-esteem your child will need to survive adolescence unscathed.
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