Aargh! 5 tips to help kids deal with frustration
Helping kids deal with frustration is a daunting task. Often when they’re at their most wound up, our resources feel at their most depleted.
Whether it’s down to sibling jealously, being unable to do do a task or just having trouble expressing themselves, frustration can be very consuming for children.
Reading about the hows and whys is valuable, but it’s also up to us to understand how our own kids handle setbacks and challenging situations. Before we can help them with their frustrations, we must spend some time thinking about the scaffolding which supports them.
Building the scaffolding
Psychologists say that kids will be more equipped to deal with challenges if they have a solid sense of self-esteem. Increased confidence can help a child to think critically and problem-solve, whilst also being safe in the knowledge that they will be supported through their difficult feelings.
Support your child and show them empathy when they face a frustration rather than trying to remove it yourself, explains Aha! Parenting.
But what are the strategies you need to keep in your back pocket?
Helping kids deal with their frustration: the basics
Reassure kids that you can hear them and acknowledge that they’re feeling frustrated, avoiding negatively charged language.
Don’t get cross: Try not to meet their bad mood with one yourself- a calm and consistent presence is what they need.
Reconnect with them: This will help them to feel anchored and supported. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and share your own examples of frustrations so they know that they’re not alone in having these feelings.
Adopt a growth mindset: This is all about how we approach challenges and setbacks. That might mean instead of saying ‘I can’t do this’, they say, ‘this might take some time’. Visit the Big Life Journal for more on this.
Practise mindfulness: Helping your kids to ground themselves in the present is a great technique. You can print off these Banjo mindfulness sheets (BANJO PRINTABLE LINK) and have them to hand- and why not take part in the activities yourself, too?
When they are calmer, talk to them about asking for help. It’s never too early to learn that we can’t do everything alone.
Remember: it’s normal
We can’t protect our kids from difficult feelings, nor should we attempt to. Becoming resilient and learning how to face challenges is a crucial part of development. The main thing is to be there and to help them deal with their frustration.
‘In being kind to children as they face up to life’s inevitable disappointments, we can teach them to cope with frustration better,’ says psychotherapist Philippa Perry.
Everyone feels the burn of frustration sometimes, it’s completely normal. Help your child navigate the choppy waters rather than ignore them and they will learn strategies which they can lean on throughout their lives.
How about dealing with your frustrations as a parent or carer? The Big Life Journal has some great tips here . From the baby of the house right up to the oldest member of the family, we all have those days.
Acknowledging this is half of the journey. It will pass.