children dealing with frustrations

Children often struggle with frustrations. Both with things they want to do on their own, meeting expectations and with being denied things they want. Life can be full of frustrations, but it helps if children can experience difficulties, and learn how to cope when they want something and can’t have it.

Parents can help a frustrated child in numerous ways, by helping them learn better ways of expressing themselves, teaching them how to understand their feelings, and by showing them how to handle their emotions.

Techniques like these are incorporated into our Calming Kids Course.

 1. Teach them how to ask

‘When you want something say ‘Please may I have….’

2. Help them explore how to cope with frustrations

‘Asking nicely does not always mean I will say yes. How will you deal with it if I have to say ‘no’?’

‘How will you cope with those feelings?’

‘Would it help to take a break and then come back to it?’

‘I wonder if there is anything else you could do that would make it easier to find the right place for that puzzle piece?’

3. Teach them how to express their frustrations

‘When you feel frustrated you can say ‘I feel….,  because… and I want….’

‘So…. ‘I feel upset because I can’t have a biscuit. And I want something small to keep me going until tea-time’

‘Or… I feel sad because we can’t go to the park. And I want to plan a time when we can go.’

4. Have rules that reflect your values

‘What is the rule about having biscuits?’

‘What can you eat when it’s nearly tea-time?’

‘Why do you think we have that rule?’

5. Show your child you ‘get’ their frustration

‘I can see you are really annoyed that I won’t let you watch the programme. You really want to watch it and you are frustrated I won’t let you.’

‘You are really showing me how mad you feel.’

‘Even though you are feeling really frustrated, you keep trying. You are really determined to do your buttons on your own.’

6. Show children how to solve their own problems

‘Why do you think you can’t wear your superman pyjamas to school?’

‘Lets sit down and work out what you could do that would help when you feel angry with your friend ’

‘You tell me all the things you could do, even the silly ideas, and then you can choose the best idea to try.’

‘I’ve got one more suggestion, can I put it on the list?’

7. ‘Listen’ to their words or body language

‘I can see you are feeling upset. Do you want to talk about it?’

‘Hey, what’s up? You look really annoyed.’

‘I’m guessing you felt really upset when Suzie wouldn’t play with you – she’s your best friend. ’

8. Praise them when they do manage to stay calm

‘Well done for using your words to tell your brother how you feel – I can tell you were really irritated but you stayed in control.’

‘You stayed calm – You were feeling really cross but you managed to tell me without calling me names or being disrespectful – that shows a lot of will power.’

‘Well done for just describing the problem rather than blaming anyone. That makes it easier to find solutions.’

‘You are really determined to do this by yourself. You are really persevering, even though it is hard.’

‘Yes!!! You did it. Well done for trying so hard. It was really difficult, but you did it in the end!’

9. Stay calm and in control of your own emotions, even when your child loses it.

‘I’m not cross with you – it is hard when you feel frustrated.’

‘Please don’t shout at me, I am trying to help you find the book you lost. I won’t carry on looking if you feel it is okay to shout at me.’

‘It’s not alright to talk to me like that. We can discuss this when you’ve had a chance to calm down.’

10. Apologise when needed.

‘I’m sorry I changed the plans. I should have said we will probably go to the park. Now it is raining it is not a good idea. And I know you’re cross with me for changing my mind.’

‘I am sorry I snapped at you. I had a bad day at work, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.’

11. Be there when they need you

‘I can see you are still feeling annoyed. Just let me know when you want to talk.’

‘What can I do to help?’

‘How are you feeling about …. now?’

‘It looks like you had a bad day. Shall I make some hot chocolate, and you can tell me all about it?’

What do you do that helps when your child feels frustrated? Please pop your ideas in the Reply box below.

If you are interested in being notified about my forthcoming FREE webinar with a parenting expert on helping children understand and deal with their emotions. Or you can take the online parenting courses today.
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child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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