• How To Help Teenagers Bounce Back From Failure And Rejection | Stephen David Leonard | Episode 107

  • bounce back and build resilienceTrying out for the theatre or a team. Being graded on a performance. Trying to make friends or ask someone out on a date. Teenagers face rejection and failure frequently and they may not have the skills to bounce back. It takes resilience which is something many teens and twenty somethings don’t have. Additionally, parents can actually hinder the process when they attempt to help. Stephen David Leonard joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to discuss the steps to bouncing back from rejection. They explore what’s happening, how our teens feel, and what parents can do to help our kids build resilience and develop healthy coping strategies.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “We create a narrative to explain what happens in the world and our experience of it. A rejection challenges that narrative and how we view ourselves.”

    help teenagers bounce back and be resilientHigh Points of Our Conversation on How to Help Teenagers Bounce Back from Failure and Rejection:

    When we fail or get rejected we need to grieve before we can bounce back.

    We create a narrative to explain what happens in the world and our experience of it. A rejection challenges that narrative so internally that’s a real loss.

    Let yourself go there and feel all the feelings associated with that loss.

    When this narrative is challenged, our kids start wondering if they really are the person they thought they were. Am I the student I thought I was? Am I the athlete I thought I was? Am I the performer I thought I was?

    We tend to tell our teens that it doesn’t matter or it’s okay. We try to move them past it. However, what they really need is for us to be with them through it. Simply sit with them or ask questions like, “How are you feeling about that?” “What did you really mean by that?” “How did you envision this going?” “Tell me more.” “How can I help you?”

    After they express themselves, validate their feelings. “If I had to go through that I’d feel the same way.” “It’s normal to feel like that.” “Most people would feel like that.” This helps them build resilience by first realizing their reaction is normal.

    When they finish grieving, the next step toward bouncing back is to take one tiny step forward. 

    As you work toward something that you want, you create momentum. When it doesn’t happen, that momentum gets stopped in its tracks. In order to bounce back we need to exercise our resilience and build new momentum.

    New momentum can be created by taking one small step. It can be any small thing you can think of and do.

    We need to be sensitive to how long our child needs to grieve. The length of time is affected by how important it was to them.

    Ask probing questions. “This is where you are. What do you want now?”

    Having someone who believes in you is a building block for resilience and is a huge piece of bouncing back.

    Kids need someone other than a parent to play this role. While it’s important for our kids to know we believe in them and to feel supported by us, they also need other mentors and support.

    Help them connect with someone who believes in them; a teacher, coach, grandparent, friend of the family, tutor, a friend or co-worker of ours. 

    You can make an introduction for them. However, our teens need to take the reins if they are going to reach their goals.

    When our child is ready they can take the last step to help them bounce back. When we’ve processed what has happened and created a little momentum, likely with the help of someone who believes in us, it’s time to learn. We can take the brutal feedback of rejection and let it guide us to a hopeful future. 

    We need to ask people for feedback on what we did and what happened. Ask people what they think we did right and wrong. Inquire what they would have done differently or what they would do next time.

    The idea that hurts the worst or presses our button is probably the thing we need to look at first.

    When you ask people for feedback, ask yourself if there’s any validity to what they say.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Dennis Trittin: Parenting Teens So They Can Launch episode 17 | Career Anxiety in Hight School and College Students episode 92 

    Inspirational gifts https://www.stephendavidleonard.com  https://www.lisaleonard.com

    Our Guest Stephen David Leonard:

    Stephen David Leonard bounce backA veteran pastor, husband, father, entrepreneur, and organizational leader, Stephen Leonard has spent two decades in his pursuit of understanding the design of his own life. He spent his college days studying literature to engage with the great ideas of the world, attended seminary to know how to study the Bible, and earned his doctorate to learn communication. After serving for ten years in pastoral ministry, Stephen stepped into a new phase of living his faith in the marketplace as an entrepreneur. Under his leadership as CEO, Lisa Leonard Designs quickly grew from his wife’s hobby business at the kitchen table to a multimillion-dollar company employing 150 people and operating globally. He has since expanded their business, including founding the rapid growing Stephen David Leonard brand launched in 2017.

    His education, pastoral experience and business success couldn’t shield him from the real-life struggles of having a son with a severe disability, depression, business stress and a marriage crisis. He came to realize there are no easy answers. As he faced these struggles, he began to read God’s word with a new perspective. Living by Design means engaging with honesty, facing struggles head on and being willing to not have it all figured out. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://www.stephendavidleonard.com/  


    Photo credit: Joshua Coleman and Luis Villasmil