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9 Tips for Improving Frustration in Children

If we are able to give our children a chance to get things wrong and start over, and the independence to do so, we will be helping them to become people who properly manage frustration and confidence. People who do not give up and persist in their goals.

9 Tips for Improving Frustration in Children:

  1. Give a sense of security by being consistent with what we say and what we do (children imitate everything) and set clear limits. Learn to say no so they anticipate rules and consequences.
  2. Do not give in to tantrums. The adult’s fear of children crying causes us to bend to their demands. Lack of time and patience makes it difficult for us to wait them out.
  3. Use adequate language and avoid using dramatic words. Terrible, chaotic, and disaster generate a negative emotional burden. Try to use more neutral terms without such strong emotional content. Avoid general and ambiguous phrases, such as when we create rules like ”behave properly.”
  4. Encourage independence and give responsibilities. Let them explore, don’t do everything for them.
  5. Don’t be afraid of new experiences for fear of failure. Help them find creative solutions. Encourage them to not give up even when they are not satisfied. Teaching children to stick to their endeavors strengthens their determination and perseverance.
  6. Teach them to make assertive decisions. Review the possible consequences of their decisions and see which one to commit to.
  7. Recognize the emotions in frustration and teach them to express them. It is important to realize how we feel and think when things do not go our way. Expressing them helps the child avoid aggression and resentment.
  8. Teach them to ask for help. Sometimes, children have an automatic reaction to shout or throw things when they don’t get something they want. They don’t consider asking an adult for help. They need to know that adults are there to help them think of a constructive solution, but not solve it for them. Anger is a normal feeling, but it needs to be let out appropriately.
  9. Reinforce their successes. “4×1 Rule.” Some experts say that for each punishment received we need 4 rewards to feel balanced again. A critique has more of an impact than a compliment. Do not overly saturate them with unnecessary punishments, judgments or criticisms – it will make the situation worse. Do not underestimate their problems.

In short, even though it takes some effort we must give them the independence to make decisions, to explore alone without negative judgments, to make mistakes and to properly manage their failures. This way, we will have managed to give them a good level of self-confidence and consequently, they’ll be better equipped to accept the small obstacles each day.

At Smartick we follow these guidelines: children should do their 15-minute sessions alone, if they make a mistake they will receive immediate feedback. We continuously work on positive reinforcement and propose new experiences.

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Diane Ackerman
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