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youth worker, youth ministry, rejection

Signs of Rejection

By Doug Franklin January 10, 2012

The fear of rejection is powerful. Think of the first time you liked another person and how much you cared about whether they liked you or not. We think more about rejection as kids then we do as adults. No wonder we miss the signs when a student feels rejected by us. Being rejected by an adult is devastating for a student because they often feel rejected by their peers as well. Having no one in your corner leaves you feeling alone and abandoned. We need to ask the question, “do any students I am currently working with feel rejected by me?” Signs students feel rejected by their youth worker:

1. Won’t answer questions
When students feel rejected they won’t  trust adults enough to share any insights or feelings. Asking a student, “what’s wrong?” won’t help either. Asking if you have offended or hurt them will help. Explaining that you care and want a good relationship will give the student permission to share how they have been hurt.

2. Disappear from church
When students are rejected they quit coming. We tend to think they don’t like the program or something has changed at home. So connecting with students who have left your ministry is important. Even if you have not been the one to reject them, it’s important to connect and care for them.

3. Make spiteful comments
Students lash out when they have been hurt. If a student starts to make hurtful comments about other adults then most likely they have been hurt by that adult. Ask them where that comment is coming from and often they will tell you about how they have felt rejected.

Not all of these signs means a student has felt rejected but they are clues. Listen closely to your students for they are telling us many things.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More