How to help children with rejection

Luke 4 16-22 28-30

A reflection: 

Today we find Jesus in his home town of Nazareth. He had gone to the synagogue on the sabbath day.
Rejected Child
It was something he always did just as we go to church, He read the scroll of Isaiah then proceeded to tell them who he was. But they questioned it. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’
It was almost as if they were saying, ‘who does he think he is?’ He is only a carpenter’s son.

They thought he was committing a huge sin, "how dare he think he is better than us!" They were angry and drove him out of town. They wanted to throw him off a cliff but Jesus head held high looked them in the eye and walked through them and nobody tried to stop him.


Jesus was rejected.  

Children learn about rejection at a very young age. ‘I don’t want to play with you’. ‘I don’t like you’.
As a parent it’s heart breaking when your child is upset because "everyone hates them". (A slight exaggeration) But to them the child, their whole world has fallen apart.

It’s hard when your child isn’t really popular.

When Valentine’s day is fast approaching, and the year 6 class are beginning to explore different sex relationships.  Nudging each other, egging each other on – "so who are you going to ask"? Finding the courage from somewhere a 10 year asked a girl in his class, ‘will you go to the disco with me?’ Rejection – ‘No I have a crush on someone else and I want to go with him’.  Silence. With a shrug of his shoulders he just said ‘Ok’.

On another occasion all the children in the village were invited to a sleepover, the only child not invited, simply didn’t understand why he couldn’t go down and join in.  ‘You have'nt been invited’ is a hard rejection to take.

Rejection is something that all children need to learn to deal with.   As a parent we all just want to protect our children – even as a children’s worker observing them, it is painful to see how they treat each other at times. It would be so easy to jump in and tell them to work together. Everyone be friends. But the reality is, we know that doesn’t happen as adults, we don’t get on with everyone.

How can we as adults help the children hold their head up high like Jesus and walk through the crowd?

  • Give the child time.  Wait before you ask them how it made them feel? children are actually quite good at dealing with things.  Better than we realise sometimes.  
  • Don’t try to fix it.  If the child hasn’t been invited, don’t go and ask the parent ‘can my child come too’.  
  • Don’t get angry or upset on their account, it won’t help them deal with it or if they were dealing with it they might think they have to behave like you when actually it wasn’t bothering them.
  • Don’t play revenge games.  For example say to them – ‘Oh well, when you have a party, don’t invite him’.  

But what you can do is..

  • Acknowledge their feelings. They could feel upset, angry, frustrated confused, hurt.
  • Be there to comfort and listen.
  • Help them be positive and understand that you can’t be invited to everything.  
  • Ask them what they would like to do, to make themselves feel better. This way they are beginning to learn that you can get over the rejection, and it’s not the end of the world.  


Even though Jesus was God’s son, at this point he was human, he had feelings and even though Jesus didn’t show it, I do wonder whether he was hurt by the rejection?  But as we know it wouldn’t be the last time he would be rejected.

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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