Peer Rejection: Developmental Processes and Intervention Strategies

Peer Rejection: Developmental Processes and Intervention Strategies

Peer Rejection: Developmental Processes and Intervention Strategies

Peer Rejection: Developmental Processes and Intervention Strategies

Synopsis

Addressing the widespread and painful problem of chronic peer rejection, this book combines up-to-date research with practical strategies for school- and clinic-based intervention. An innovative developmental framework is presented for understanding why certain children face rejection, the peer group dynamics involved, and implications for social-emotional development and mental health. Strategies for assessing rejected children are discussed in detail, and guidelines are provided for implementing social competence coaching programs and other effective interventions. Illustrative case studies and interviews are featured throughout.

Excerpt

I don't know why they don't like me. I've tried everything I know how to
do, but they won't leave me alone and they won't be my friend. They call
me “stinky” and I tell them to stop it, but they won't. Yesterday, they
chased me down the street and I had to run into my house and slam the
door. Everyone else has a friend to stick up for them, but no one will
stick up for me.

—JP, age 10, clinic intake interview

You want to be part of their group, but you're an outsider. They don't ask
you to eat at their table; they don't want you there. You don't really have
a place where you belong. You feel like nothing, like you've been tossed
away.

—SS, age 11, study participant

Few childhood problems involve the level of stress and long-term damage that is caused by chronic peer rejection. Friendships are of central importance to grade school children. On a regular basis, children think about and talk about whom they like and whom they don't like. They worry about how friendships will go for them and how they will be treated by others. For some children, such as those described above, peer acceptance is elusive—a brass ring that remains out of their reach. Children who are rejected by peers, like these children, often grow up lonely and alienated, suffering through their school days, struggling with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. As they grow into adolescents and adults, many experience continuing insecurities and difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and suffer depression and other psychiatric difficulties (Parker & Asher, 1987). The letter below illustrates the significant impact negative peer experiences in childhood can have on adult well-being.

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