Wednesday June 14, 2006
The Negative Power of Rejection
As a pastor, I have had many wounded children in my office. They might be
adults, but the little boy or girl inside of them still grieves over a parent's lack of acceptance.
Parents have considerable power to negatively shape a child's life by making him or her feel rejected. Without the steady foundation of unconditional parental love, such kids become adults whose entire life experience is shaped by their earliest feelings. These walking wounded cannot trust in others' care for them—they are waiting for the rejection that they believe is inevitable. Friendly advice is often heard as criticism, and even a forgotten birthday may be seen as a sign of dislike.
Right now many parents are saying, "I love my kids; I accept them!" Rejection, however, can be subtle. For example, parents may think they're providing guidance by suggesting more conventional music choices, different clothing styles, or an altered appearance. But this type of criticism is often received as an attack on the child's personhood—an indication that he or she isn't measuring up. The same sort of thing can happen at a Little League game. If Dad says, "You would have hit that pitch if you had watched the ball as I taught you," his son's delicate ego hears, "If you performed better, I'd be happy with you now instead of irritated."
Unwise criticism can be interpreted as rejection, leaving a child feeling unloved or unworthy of love. On the other hand, discipline and instruction, which are necessary for children's maturity, confront their actions and attitudes while communicating a parent's acceptance.
Celebrate Fathers this month. Discover what our heavenly Father expects of dads and how He equips them to raise godly sons and daughters in Dr. Stanley’s series “