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Frustrated Child

Understanding a Frustrated Child

Have you ever tried to put something together and no matter how much you try and how faithfully you follow the directions, the parts won’t come together?

When a child is faced with a task like this, she may become frustrated. At first, she may be too upset to wait for help. Then, she gets mad when help is offered. As good parents, we want our children to learn to manage their frustration and not give up when faced with a challenge.

What You Can Do to Help

• Talk your child through what is happening. “You are good at scooping and it’s okay if some of the sand falls out, you can get more,” or “You made such a great tower and it was so tall, it couldn’t stand up. Wow!”

• Be sympathetic. If your child becomes angry, let him know you understand how difficult this task is. “That puzzle is really hard! It’s so hard, it makes you mad!” Then help your child think of new ways to approach the situation: “I wonder what would make this easier? Maybe if we look at the picture and pick out pieces that match the picture?”

• Teach your child the value of taking a break. “Whew, this is such hard work, let’s go get a snack and come back to this later.”

• Be a role model by asking for help. “Would you please help me fold the clothes from the dryer? There are so many!” Let your child know all of us, even big people, need help at times.

• Make the situation humorous. For example, if you talk to the block that won’t go in the box, your child may relax and think it’s fun. “Hey, you mean old blue block, you’d better get in there or I’m going to tickle you.”

Stick to it or Move to Something Else?

Learning persistence is valuable for a child. As your child’s persistence grows, so will her tolerance for difficult things and new challenges. If you follow these tips and the task is still too frustrating, help redirect her to a different activity.

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