When Teens Are Rejected
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC
I viewed a very disturbing program on TV last week about the psychological effects on teens when they break-up. Girl meets boy. Girl starts dating boy and for whatever reason, one of them ends the relationship. Feelings of sadness, hurt and rejection can last a long time, or at least until someone else pops up on the horizon and a new relationship begins.
Every single one of us can relate to our torturous teen years where our driving need ABOVE ALL ELSE was to be accepted. It is a time when hormones are raging and when a teens' sense of personal worth is based on how they perceive how others see them. Teen years are a time when maturity has not yet developed to the point where they really like themselves for who they are. The funny thing is that while teens are busily relying on others to tell them their value, they are also consumed with a sense of insecurity and are not usually thinking about anyone else but themselves.
So, back to the disturbing TV program. It was a story about two dating teens named Sarah and Tom. After dating for some time Sarah decided to break up with him. She had become disillusioned with her relationship and wanted to enjoy the company of her girlfriends. Tom saw the break-up as a rejection and would not accept her leaving him. He isolated himself from his friends and became very moody. Because of his negative downturn Sarah became concerned. Although she was under no obligation to continue the relationship, she chose to reach out to him in simple friendship. Tom wanted her to himself, but she didn't want to be controlled in that way. In a last attempt to show she cared, Sarah went to his home to try and express where she stood as far as their relationship was concerned. He could see she was not going to get back together with him and he got angry. His anger caused him to lose control and, tragically, he strangled her to death. What can we learn from this true story?
As parents, our role is to:
- Monitor our kids' friendships. If we teach them when they are small how to be a good friend and how a good friend behaves, they will be more discerning in their friendships as teens. Strong personal values such as respect, loyalty, honesty, forgiveness and integrity will help them considerably in making wise, mature choices in all areas of their lives.
- Encourage open communication with our kids, giving them opportunities to talk through concerns about all sorts of things, including their boy/girl relationships. Leaving the door open means that even when our child is engaged or married, they will feel they can still come to us for help and advice and, if necessary, where to get professional counseling.
- Instill a strong sense of worth into each of our kids to help them become happy with whom they are and not rely on others' perceptions of them alone.
- Teach them that true love is demonstrated when they encourage the person they love to develop their own skills and abilities. Controlling and holding the person back from reaching their true potential is definitely not demonstrating love for them.
A loving relationship is one of selflessness towards the other person. Love is unconditional and timeless. Teens are often ill equipped to deal with the hurt that comes from relationships gone wrong. We can alleviate some of those feelings of hurt and rejection when we teach them the ingredients of healthy friendships and how to appropriately deal with letting go.
If you have any comments on this subject we would be very pleased to hear from you by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com
The minute your child is being negatively affected by another child, that relationship needs to stop.
The moment one tries to isolate the other from their friends there is a sure warning of self imposed 'ownership' of the other. We need to