It’s okay to get frustrated about losing in a contest or game, but it’s not okay to yell at the others or step and slam the door. When kids come to it anyway, we need to teach them to come back and say sorry.
It is part of life to get frustrated once in a while, but there is a big difference in how to handle it. As a parent, you can teach your child that feeling is perfectly okay – but that you should not let it go beyond others.
Most parents have probably heard themselves say phrases like:
– Stop it!
– Don’t be!
– That’s enough!
The feelings that can be expressed when we have had enough and become frustrated will probably also resonate. It is very different what we as parents react to when our children are frustrated.
It can be when they kick, scream and yell. Or it could be when they bang on the door, cry quietly, or send us reproachful glances that signal that we are strict and have not understood anything.
And sometimes we don’t really understand anything either. Other times, we understand it very well, but may or may not remove what makes our child frustrated.
This is where we as a parent clearly notice that being frustrated is part of life. And something – even as a child – has to learn to handle the best possible.
Frustration is also an expression of desires
Frustrations and desires are connected. When the child gets lost in the eyes of frustration and willingly declares “no, I will not”, it is because he or she wants something else. Or just want to decide for yourself.
It can also be a frustration to not be able to do anything. “I never learn it.” And so at the same time a desire to find out.
Desires must be understood broadly here. For example, you may want to get attention, peace, sweets, more computer playing time, a newer mobile or being allowed to stay home from school.
The desire can also be a desire for something not to happen because it brings discomfort or removes the child from something nice and nice that it was going on. “I do not want to bathe, hurry, wear a suit, clean my room” and so on.
Sometimes it is simple desires that we can easily recognize. We can quickly decide on them and opt out. Other times, it may be more difficult for us to link desires and behaviors and find out how we handle the situation.
We must be able to endure frustration
When children become frustrated and angry, and it all goes awry, it may be helpful to ask themselves, which wish the child’s frustration is an expression of.
Maybe Peter is teasing his little sister again because he’s bored. He has found a possible way out of boredom by teasing.
It may also be that he is trying to ease a strained mood by encouraging little sisters. Or that he is angry with his mother because she has done or said something that he did not like or feel sorry for.
It may be because he has had a bad day at school. Maybe he is frustrated with walking around alone with a lot of emotions that he is unable to get his mother to see and understand. It can be so much.
When our children show frustration, it demands that we, as a parent, be able to deal with and endure our children’s frustration (and our own) so that they learn to best deal with the challenges that life poses.
It is not about making excuses for our children’s behavior. Or that we should present them with a lot of explanations as to why they do as they do.
It’s about us being curious about the needs that they express. And not least that we can endure their frustrations.
When our children show frustration, it demands that we, as a parent, be able to handle and endure our children’s frustration (and our own). It helps them learn how to best deal with life’s challenges.
Good advice for parents
It’s not always easy. It can also be difficult to assess when frustrations, anger, and perhaps repeated outbursts are too much, so to speak, and it becomes too difficult to deal with as a parent.
4 simple tips to deal with frustration
• Be curious and aware of what is behind your child’s frustration
• Get to know your child’s own frustration and to show frustration in an acceptable way
• Continuously consider whether your expectations of your child are relevant in relation to age and maturity
• Continuously consider whether rules and requirements for your child are clear and to understand in relation to the child’s age and temperament.
It is natural to be frustrated
It is natural for children to respond with frustration when facing a challenge that is too great. The same can be said of adults. We’re just better at dealing with our frustrations – for the most part. Challenges that are a little too great in relation to our ability occur throughout our lives as we develop and learn: “well, I can’t figure it out, I never learn it”.
If a child’s frustrations are very violent and prolonged, it usually indicates that he or she has not been able to tackle a challenge and that it remains too great.
As a parent, we can easily appeal to our children to be able to understand and take responsibility for something they are not maturely capable of. It just makes the child more frustrated.
We have no claim to our children’s understanding
Per may not be able to understand Bertram being upset. And it is not certain that our 11-year-old boy is showing appreciation for our upbringing, just when we declare that he is going to cover the table. And it may well be that our five-year-old daughter actually thinks she’s rushing everything she can.
As a parent, we often want our children to understand what we decide and decide. But it is not always that they can follow cognitively. Or that at the time of frustration they may or will show understanding.
Does that mean we have to accept all kinds of reactions or give in? No, of course not. This means we need to teach our children how to handle frustration in the best possible way and as considerate as possible.
We have no claim to our children’s understanding of our decisions. They are our responsibility. However, depending on the child’s age, we may be curious about what the child finds particularly difficult and why. We can also ask the child to come up with solutions – or ways we can possibly help the child get through the challenge.
Despite is an expression of frustration
Defiance and frustration are not the same, although defiance can also be an expression of frustration.
What we popularly call the throne is that children want and practice doing everything themselves and deciding. Sometimes more than they can overlook or their parents allow.
It creates friction. And if the child does not get his will, it gets frustrated. Despite being a reaction to frustration over not being allowed to do it yourself, it can also be crying or accepting.
Despite the reaction, part of the child’s natural development is towards more independence. So when our children say “can themselves” or “will themselves”, it may also be that they can or are just about to be able to.
Common to frustration and spite is that it signals to us parents that there is something the child is not happy with. And then we have to decide whether or not to accommodate our child.
At the same time, we must make sure that they learn that it is ok to express a different attitude than the parents. It’s just not always that you get your will, and it also matters how you express one’s attitude.
Learn to say sorry
Children’s frustration and upbringing are usually related. If a child is allowed to do exactly as it wants and wants with its parents, the child may not experience as much frustration at home. But when the child then meets friends and adults around the world who make different demands, it can become frustrating. At the same time, the child does not have as much experience dealing with frustration.
Rules, duties, keeping order and taking care of others can be frustrating because it requires the child to disregard his own needs and desires.
As a parent, we need to equip our children to face adversity and deal with frustration in a reasonably acceptable way. And then we have to teach them to say sorry or regret when they fail. Here we can also use ourselves as examples. Both when we succeed in showing our own frustration in an acceptable way – and by apologizing when it fails.
For example, it is okay to get frustrated about losing a competition or a game. But it is not okay to yell at the others or step and slam the door. When our kids get to it anyway, we have to teach them to come back and say sorry.
The threshold for getting frustrated is different
It is important to be aware that frustrations are individual. There can be a big difference in our children’s frustration threshold.
As parents, it’s all about helping each child deal with frustration. Some children show a low frustration threshold from an early age. Then the task of making sure the child learns to deal with frustration in a sufficiently socially acceptable way is bigger and probably also more difficult.
As a parent, we also need to pay special attention to our own frustration thresholds. Not least how we act most appropriately.
When we display our frustration in a “stupid” way, it is important that we try to set ourselves a good example. That is, we return and apologize for shouting or saying things in an ugly way.
When our children show frustration, we as a parent are part of what’s going on. Not only do we respond more or less appropriately. At the same time, we are the one who writes the rules.
It’s never okay to hit
When we’re not feeling well, we get frustrated faster. We may feel that we are not good enough. Or that we don’t succeed. The same can happen to children, and frustration is ‘ triggered’ quickly. “I can never do anything right”.
It is important to be aware of what our children are dealing with if they usually show that they have learned to deal with and show frustration somewhat acceptable, but then for a longer period have begun to become more responsive and show frustration in other ways.
It is fine to show appreciation for our children’s frustration. But do not show understanding of adverse reactions.
In fact, it is never okay to shout, kick, knock or slam the door. Instead, show that you are there. Take care and continue to help your child deal with frustration as appropriately as possible.
Frustration is part of everyday life
Sometimes, as a parent, we fulfill more desires than we usually do because we are pressured or have much to look after. It may be that for a period of time we have let the children drop off to cover tables and clean up. And when we then ask them to help again, they become very frustrated because they have no desire and may have planned to do something else.
Maybe our daughter has been ill with a fever. She has been allowed to drink lemonade, eat exactly what she wants and watch television all day long.
When she gets well, she still wants to be serviced. But now it is over. And then she gets mad. This kind of frustration usually happens quickly.
Other times, we stretch a little too far and a little too long. Then a crooked pattern is created, which requires a little more effort to get rid of. Here we must be ready to endure and deal with both our own and our children’s frustration.