Halloween had always been a highlight in our house. Our little kids love the costumes, the anticipation, the decorating, the planning of routes with friends – and of course the candy.
The Halloween Popularity Contest and The Un-Invited Child
Halloween is around the corner and for many parents, this holiday now fills us with dread. Why? If our child is ignored or refused, or not invited out, or not with the friends they wished would ask them, they will sulk – or worse. Self-awareness and social-awareness are new variables added to a complex mix of invites, friends, social standing, popularity and more.
COVID19 has made Halloween even more complex. Our governor has allowed door to door activity, but we parents are still cautious. Firstly, the fear of herd mentality, overzealous mania, the lack of impulse control, and the proximity to strangers can be nerve-wracking. Secondly, many parents decide amongst themselves who their kids will trick or treat with. Finally, this trepidation of having to “Family Bubble” with unfamiliar people increases the chance that your child will be refused or ignored skyrockets.
Social Awareness and The Perceived Slight
“Ugh! I can’t find anyone to trick or treat with me!”
After prodding, you convince your child to text a friend. He begrudgingly takes your advice and when he doesn’t hear back from the proposed companion yet sees his message or text has been received and even read, he is hurt. Of course this is painful. Yet, his self-awareness may not be tuned enough to recognize that this may not a slight. His previously strong self-management abilities erode to episodes of sulking, lashing out, stomping, refusing to talk or opting out all-together. As parents, we may not know what is happening and are surprised by his recent snarky attitude.
Could it be Rejection Sensitivity?
Rejection sensitivity tends to make people opt out or avoid events or interactions because they are so accustomed to, and therefore dread, real or perceived rejection.
What is Rejection Sensitivity?
When you experience Rejection Sensitivity, you have a heightened reaction to a real, perceived or even anticipated event, person or situation. This reaction feels all-consuming and mammoth inside you and it’s crushing – even crippling!
When this event occurs, even if it is a small non-event to most, it feels enormous and can literally is paralyze you. This overwhelming physical sensation feels unbearable and on a scale of 1 to 10 – it is 10+! What matters here is how it makes you feel; not the actual situation.
Could you or your child have Rejection Sensitivity?
Learn more here
Relationship-Building and Responsible Decision-Making
Parents, this is where you come in. Empathy goes a long way here, and when they are able to listen, offer up some possible reasons why they weren’t invited. Open questions and reflective listening can get to the root of their feelings and help her self-manage the pain. It will also help her better understand the story she tells herself that keeps her avoiding social activities. Collaborate on a plan to reach out to others. Keep trying until either someone accepts, attends an organized “trunk”-or-treat, or it is clear that the evening will instead consist of the immediate family only – and that isn’t so bad! 🙂
I encourage parents not to make this a huge deal. We want our kid to have something to do but it’s better to help them with larger issues than live and die on this one holiday!
Do your best to encourage fun and joy – we all need extra helpings!