Rejection is God’s Protection: How to Support Your Child Through Early Action or Early Decision Disappointment – Part 1

the scream1 200x300 Rejection is God’s Protection: How to Support Your Child Through Early Action or Early Decision Disappointment   Part 1If Your Child is an Early Applicant, Your Heart is Probably in Your Throat About Now 

“Rejection is God’s Protection.”  I wish I could tell you that I thought that one up myself, but I actually heard it from Jeff Goldblum’s character on a Law and Order episode last year. It has a ring of truth to it, though, doesn’t it? I use it a lot and especially now since the Early decisions are being released by so many colleges.

If your child is one of those Early applicants, I hope they are admitted to the college of their choice and that your lives can move into that ‘new normal’ phase between admission and fall enrollment characterized by relief and the dread of eventual parting. But statistically, the odds are against any one candidate, especially at the premier private colleges, so there’s a good chance your child will feel the sting of disappointment and rejection.

Which means you will feel it too. ;-(

But as your child’s grounding cord, it’s time to prepare yourself for whatever happens so you can help them pass through the experience gracefully.

Begin by accepting that you have no control of this. Your child might actually learn the decision at school when they are among peers (I hope not). At least getting the news at home can afford them some privacy. You know your child best, but I encourage you to take your lead from them. No gathering the whole family together around the computer screen to witness the moment, or race to open any envelope. Your child will probably want to do this alone.

If Your Child Gets Rejected from the Early Application Process, It’s Tough But It’s a Clean Break

Let it settle in whatever way your child allows. Don’t try to cheer them up.  Let them have their grief.  A light touch is required here – offer your love and support and at the teachable moment when your child can hear you, tell them that rejection really is God’s protection and here’s why. Then tell them a story from your own past, one they haven’t heard. It should be a pretty painful and embarrassing one if possible in order to match their own feelings.

I always tell kids that whew, the rejection has prevented them from messing up their future by sending them toward the school where they’ll soon meet their best friends in the world and maybe even a future spouse.  (I always reframe to the positive.  You know, like when the door closes, the window opens.)

The point is to love them and show them in every way that while this moment is a drag, life goes on and life is good. Make them their favorite food. Give them extra TLC. Your brave young warrior just got a kick to the gut, but they’ll be OK in the end. They will have to organize quickly to get their regular action college applications done and submitted. You can help by keeping them focused on moving forward.

What if the decision your child receives is a deferral, which most decisions will be?

Less Stress, More Success

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