Learning to cope with frustrations is not easy. Is the child going through a tantrum phase? This behavior may actually be reflecting their anxieties and fears. Unable to communicate, they find in tantrums a way of drawing attention to something.

Frustrations are needed in order we learn how to deal with the many negatives we receive throughout life. But simply denying things to a child is not enough. Parents need to explain their reason for that negative. This makes easier for the child to be aware of what is happening, hence turning the prohibition into learning.

What is frustration?

Frustration is nothing more than an emotion that appears when our path to a desire/goal is blocked. At first, this frustration that gives us the motivation to remove this obstacle from the way. Therefore, frustration can not be considered only as a negative thing. The problem arises when, even with this boost in efforts, we have not yet cleared the way. In this situation, frustration quickly becomes anger, a feeling difficult to deal with. So the focus for learning to cope with frustration is to take advantage of your “productive” beginning. This serves both as a stimulus to get things done and as an anger preventive action.

Cause and consequence

Your child may insist on eating only dessert or sweets and cookies. You, on the other hand, insist that they eat what you put on their plates. So the fight begins. At this point try to avoid the “if you do not eat, you will be punished” way. How about trying “you have two options: you can eat lunch and then dessert or to not eat dinner and also no dessert”? By giving an option, even if a limited one, you are showing children that they have two options and that they will be responsible for their choices.

Does this make the process easier? Not at all! You can give kids options and they will still cry and get irritated. However, then the argument will no longer be that you, the adult, made the choice for them and applied a consequence to it. Rather the child made a choice and therefore the consequences arose. This understanding is a good step toward learning to cope with frustration.

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