They did not give him the toy he asked for, or the sweet he wanted to eat, a little friend rejected it, he is tired … there are countless reasons why a child can face that unpleasant feeling that is frustration and that can be externalized in many ways and in different emotions such as disappointment, helplessness, anger, sadness or disappointment.
It is extremely important to teach your child to tolerate frustration. Let them “see” that there are always other options. Having a “flexible” thinking will help you during your development and in adult life to face in a more positive way the adverse situations that arise. It is an attitude and as such, it can be worked on and developed from an early age.
Tolerating frustration means being able to face problems and limitations, despite the inconvenience or discomfort they may cause us. It is important that you understand from a young age that you do not always get what you want. That this desire or need not satisfied at a given moment is not the “end of the world.”
However, you have to know how to distinguish when it is a normal response of a child who does not achieve his goal or if he really has trouble tolerating frustration: If he becomes discouraged or shows discomfort but does not have a disproportionate reaction, there is nothing to worry about . What you should not get used to is tantrums, yelling, name calling, hitting or any other aggressive response.
Children with low tolerance for frustration tend to be more impulsive and impatient and are more susceptible to suffering from anxiety or depression in the face of difficulties or conflicts that arise.
Some strategies can be very helpful to help you deal with adverse feelings in a positive way:
Expression: Teach your child that it is okay to cry or laugh when they are sad or happy; expressing what you feel is the first step to feeling better. All the emotions that a child experiences are valid and help him to form her character.
Relaxation: Invite him to move away from the scene that is disturbing him, so that he can think and calm down. One way to redirect feelings of frustration, anger, or fear is through breathing: teach him to take a breath and release it slowly, expelling negative feelings with each exhale.
Venting: Children who tease each other usually feel the desire to hit; This is an instinctive reaction of the human being when he is threatened. When you notice him in that emotion, invite him to “release” that feeling on a soft object such as a pillow, a cushion or a stuffed animal, it will surely help him break free.
Reinforcement: It is important to praise him with specific phrases when he delays his habitual anger response to frustration and when he uses an appropriate strategy to deal with it. For example: “I congratulate you because you did not bite so and so when he did not give you the toy.”
Why gets frustrated?
The feeling of frustration can present itself at any stage of development. Unfulfilled expectations, low self-esteem, jealousy, rejection, competitiveness, perfectionism, and stress can all cause frustration in children.
Although it seems contradictory, overprotection can also cause intolerance to frustration, because a child who is given everything he asks for or needs without an effort on his part will feel deeply dissatisfied when he does not get what he wants. That is why you must trust your child’s abilities and lower the pressure of constantly wanting to be in control of every action he does. Trust in his abilities to overcome and to find a way out for himself.
It is vital that each father tries to strengthen the individuality of his son, guiding him to take on challenges and new experiences, congratulating him on his achievements and supporting him to achieve goals that may even generate a certain fear. Perseverance, determination and the ability to resolve conflicts are acquired precisely when faced, when there are challenges and they manage to “conquer” them.
Let’s remember that everything at the beginning is scary, therefore, in each of those little steps, mom and dad must be present to guide and accompany you, but not to “avoid bad times.”
Overprotection is one of the main causes of a child having a low tolerance for frustration. It is the other side of the coin of neglect.
Keys to controlling frustration
- Your child does not need you to give them all the solutions, but to help them discover them. Trust in his abilities to find a way out for himself and overcome adversity.
- It is essential to set realistic and reasonable goals, appropriate to the age and maturity of the child, in this way he will have more tolerance for frustration. If the goals are not appropriate for his age, he will not be able to meet them and it will increase his discomfort.
- Teach him that everything is achieved with effort and perseverance, and that he must strive to do things right. If he learns that being consistent can solve many of his problems, he will better control frustration.
- Difficult situations are a good opportunity for him to learn new things, remember them, and cope with them when they happen again. In this way, frustration is transformed into learning.
- Make them notice that every time they make a decision, things happen around them and you have to accept them, even when they are not pleasant. This will help them to think better in the future about what they really want and what is most convenient for them.
- If he expresses his frustration with a tantrum or other inappropriate behavior you should ignore it, otherwise he will learn that this is the fastest and most effective way to resolve his conflicts.
- Avoid seeing failures as negative; Explain that in life you will find moments of success and others of failure and that the important thing is to realize where we went wrong and how to fix it so that it does not happen again.
- Lead by example: This is the go-to phrase on almost every parenting and education checklist. It is said very easy, but, I know, it is not possible to achieve it every time. The important thing is to be willing to “get back on track” every time we veer off… Parents who know how to face adversity with a positive attitude are the best role models. Values, assertiveness and resilience are the keys for your children to be better people and grow up happy.