As parents we get a lot of practice in the art of being rejected. No, our children don’t want to put on their boots.
No they don’t want to go on the family picnic to the stone quarry.
No, they do not appreciate the $100 of hard earned money you just dropped on school supplies.
It takes a lot of practice to accept that sometimes our kids just don’t appreciate us as people. And, sometimes, they just don’t want to hang out with us. No one knows why, but this is true.
This rejection is most acutely felt when we feel like we are really tuning into them, when we are making an effort.
That’s what hurts the most, isn’t it? You know, when you are really trying. You are doing exactly what you feel you should be doing, acting exactly how you think a loving parent acts, and you get met with a sneer.
Here’s a thought: when you get rejected or sneered at take a breather. As you breathe, acknowledge, quietly, that you were hoping for some quality time. You were hoping your invite would be met with love.
Acknowledge that it wasn’t and that stings.
Then smile at yourself. Smile at the fact that you love your kid/teen so very much.
And then, if you like, set your mind to thoughts of bribery, or cajoling, or revenge, or going alone to the stone quarry for that picnic you’d been dreaming of.
You have options. It’s all good.
But, first, take that breath. Acknowledge the hurt of rejection.
Smile to yourself.
And smile to your little (or gigantic) loved one.
If you do this enough, you might just soothe your nervous system.
You will probably soothe your kid, too.
Lindsey Jay Walsh
Photo: Janko Ferlic on Unsplash