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Parenting Strategies for a Child Who is Easily Frustrated

Does your child become easily frustrated? Find parenting tips to help your child approach challenges in a more constructive way.

Children who are easily frustrated tend to get very upset the minute something doesn’t go their way, have a hard time waiting for attention or help, and may give up quickly when faced with a challenge.

  • If your child has to wait for something (food, attention, etc.), talk to him about what you are doing. For example, you might say, “I’m heating up your bottle right now” or “Daddy is taking his coat off and coming to give you a big hug.”
  • When your child falls apart, let her know that you appreciate how hard it can be: “Puzzles are hard! It makes you so mad when the bear won’t fit in the space.” Then become her coach—help your child think through solutions without doing the work for her. Suggest or demonstrate strategies for solving whatever problem she is facing.
  • Teach your child to pace himself. Offer time away from the frustrating task for a hug or a cozy snuggle with a book. Then return to the challenge with new energy.
  • Break the challenge into manageable parts—“Why don’t you put your thumb in first? Then we will work together to get each of your fingers in the glove.”
  • Use humor. Children will appreciate it if, for example, you yell at the block that has fallen: “You silly block! You just won’t stay up there! Well, we’re not giving up!”
  • Be a role model. When you’re struggling to assemble a toy, try to remain calm. Say, “Wow, this is really hard! I could use some help figuring this out. Would you like to help?”

Remember, although your child may never be the most patient and persistent person, you can do a lot to help your child learn to cope.


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