How to Help Kids Who Are Feeling Socially Excluded
by Erika Slater
If you’ve ever watched the gut wrenching rejection of a young animal by its Mother or from its pack or herd because you know it chances of survival are slim, then you know the loneliness the animal must feel.
While this is the stark reality of the animal kingdom to ensure survival of the fittest nonetheless when it comes to humans our expectation is that no child or kid is excluded.
After all, it’s what separates us from the majority of the animal world, and is inherent in our desire to take care of each other. And for the most part we do. But we are vulnerable growing-up and frankly kids and teenagers can behave badly towards each other, especially when it comes to social interactions and acceptance.
I have three kids of my own and getting each of them through the teenage years to adulthood has been different for each one. As any parent knows at some point your kid will experience social exclusion at some level. Preparing them ahead of time to deal with this is part of being a parent, and so here’s some information from my own experience and expert child psychologists to help you out.
EXCLUSION LEADS TO BULLYING:
Even if we’re not talking about abandonment by a parent (and yes, I know in rare instances this does happen), early on in a child’s life to feel socially excluded or rejected by their peers can be a traumatizing event.
Our self-concept is important to each of us as to how we think about ourselves.
When you feel rejected you can develop a negative self-concept or self-worth. When you have a negative self-concept of yourself, you’re more likely going to develop low self-esteem.
This could be the beginning of never really feeling like you fit in!
Kids learn early on they are social creatures and they’ve a ‘need‘ to fit in. When they don’t feel like they’re a part of the ‘in crowd‘, or accepted by the cool kids or their peers for that matter, they’re more likely to withdraw from most if not all situations as they lack confidence.
Kids can be ignorant to the harm and potential psychological damage they’re doing to others.
Furthermore, some kids can be purposely aggressive and pick on other kids by rejecting them to boost their own level of self-status – the bully! Either way, parents and teachers need to intervene whenever possible to stop this from taking place or lasting over any period of time.
The longer this prevails, kids who’re feeling rejected may believe this to be the norm in their lives.
HELPING YOUR KIDS:
Watch and listen carefully and talk to your kids about life at school, especially if there is a marked change in their moods or attitudes. If kids are beginning to withdraw or cower more around home, then it’s most likely this behavior has been going on at school for some time and they’re bringing it home.
Talk to your children about how they feel being excluded.
It’s important to let kids know it’s not their fault and that they’re ‘good kids‘ and not everyone is going to be their friend. Instead, let them know it’s wise to choose one or two friends they can relate to and trust.
You might also encourage your child to go to their teachers for help or even discuss this with the teachers yourself.
Some teachers allow kids to ‘pick teams‘ at school for projects or gym class, and this might be perpetuating the problem. Parents might role play some of the options to improve the child’s self-confidence.
Parents might try to teach their children to walk more confidently. Parents should ask their children what kinds of other help they might need. The child might even need to speak to a counsellor to work out their feelings as parents may be too close emotionally to help them.
Parents need to remind their children of the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel‘, in that this is for a short time in their life and as they get older things will change.
Moreover, it’s important to remind them any exclusion or neglect from others is only temporary, and that ‘real friends‘ are going to be coming into their lives!
BEYOND YOUR WORDS:
If your child is naturally resilient and flourishes in the words you share and able to shrug-off the antics towards them of the “click-groups”, or attention seeking “cool dudes”, then they may have enough to end up in a good place.
On the other hand, if you know things are not going well for them and they seem troubled, and so are you, then you’ll need to ratchet things up a level or two. Don’t rule out professional and private help. There are private councilors and therapists who specialize in working with kids. These people are able to connect with a kid and discover issues and needs a parent would miss in normal family talk.
Another softer option for your child may be hypnosis.
While going to a professional councilor may seem intimidating and not fun at all for your kid at first, they may get a sense of play listening to a hypnosis session on their MP3 device, or see a hypnotist who can relate to their feelings. If you want to consider having your child working directly with me through my online or in-office sessions, then check out my Hypnosis Services or if you’ve a specific need around this topic then contact me here.
Hypnosis sessions for children are usually told in an imaginative story fashion so a kid can be immersed and relate to the lessons being promoted. To review one such session you can download go here >>>
FURTHER RESOURCES RELATED TO KIDS SOCIAL EXCLUSION:
Erika Slater CH
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