What do I do if my child feels like an outcast?

What guidance does the Bible provide?

It is heartbreaking to think about our child feeling like an outcast. We can see how the rejection hurts their heart and can lead them to believe so many lies about themselves. In this broken, sinful world, rejection and negative thoughts will come, and we have to equip our child to win the battle in this battle. As parents, we desperately want our child to know they are always accepted in our love and more importantly in the constant, awesome love of God that declares that they are a His child (1 John 3:1). We want them to know that as God's child that God says through Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Our child needs to know deep in their heart that they are God's incredible creation that he is making into a masterpiece who can do good things to make a difference in our world. The struggle is, it is easy to say those things to our child, but it is hard for them to embrace them as the truth they live by when they are rejected by those around them.

Things to think about

The great news in Ephesians is that God gives us excellent wisdom to teach our child so they can overcome the rejection and live confidently that in Jesus. In Ephesians 4:21-24 it says, "Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." In this passage, we are taught to help our child live in God's truth by helping them aggressively throw off anything that does not agree with God's perspective found in the Bible. For instance, we need to help our child identify that thoughts of being worthless, a reject or unlovable are NOT from God. Those things are NOT true according to what God says about us throughout the Bible. Then, after we help them identify the lies they believe, which is their "former way of life" that is corrupt, our child needs to learn to ask God's Spirit to renew those thoughts and attitudes to be in line with our new nature. They need to seek God's power to dwell on holy, righteous, and true thoughts that will lead them to build their identity on God's truth.So, the key is, when our child feels rejection, feels like an outcast, to teach them to identify the toxic thoughts that lead them there, to throw off those thoughts, and to actively replace them with God's truth.

What do I do now?

It is important to sit down with your child and teach them the spiritual discipline of capturing the negative thoughts that enter their minds and replacing them with God's truth. Here is a guide to follow:

  • Ask your child to identify why they are feeling down, why they feel like an outcast. Encourage them to share out loud specific things that happened that have left them feeling rejected. To help them share, it would be good to open up from your life about times you struggled with rejection and feeling like an outcast. As they name what happened, help them identify the thoughts that the rejection causes. For example, does getting left out or rejected make them think they are a loser, or like no one likes them, etc.
  • After they identified the thoughts they are struggling with, ask them if they believe God would agree with their thoughts. To help them see what God thinks PLEASE read through this incredible resource with them which lays out "Who I am in Christ" according to the Bible: https://www.ficm.org/handy-links/.
  • As they compare their thoughts with what God says about them, ask them if they can see where God's perspective differs from what they are thinking. Again, this another great opportunity to state negative thoughts you struggle with and which truths from God that you just read that are hard for you to trust.
  • Now that you have identified the negative thought guide your child to write out a prayer like "Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes. Help me to no longer believe that I am an outcast, but instead to know that I am always accepted as your child." It is so important that they name the negative thought, ask God to help them no longer believe it (throw it off), and then to replace it with God's truth that will renew their thoughts and attitudes.
  • Encourage your child to pray that same prayer consistently, at least, seven times throughout the day for the next three weeks to help them go to God for the strength to destroy that negative thought, to replace it with God's truth, and to believe it deep in their heart. Also, encourage them to pray that prayer anytime that negative thought comes back into their mind.

Along with going through this process, it's also important that you continue to encourage your child with the good you see in them and to help them foster good friendships. Encourage them to think about positive friendships that they have in life that they can lean on and help them get into situations where they can make good friendships. A couple of ways to do that is to get them into a youth group at a church and to encourage them to participate in a small group.

Want to go deeper?

A helpful article on how seeking God's help when dealing with rejection - http://news.americanbible.org/blog/entry/bible-blog/4-bible-verses-to-remind-you-of-gods-love-when-you-feel-rejected

Great perspective on helpful advice to give your child when they feel hurt by rejection - http://www.faithgateway.com/kids-feel-rejection-hurt-focus-on-god/#.VnBSbBorJhE

Two great resources on how to reshape your mind by following God's guidance on capturing our thoughts -http://21daybraindetox.com/http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/04/09/how-to-take-every-thought-captive-the-battle-for-your-mind/

An amazing article that will help you personally deal with any rejection you have felt and help you to share wise perspective with your child - http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=do_you_feel_rejected