It’s Okay for Your Child to be Frustrated

Little girl looking angry in the kitchen with mother in background

It’s okay for your child to be frustrated. It’s okay when your child is disappointed. This is not something for you to avoid or fix for them. It is something for you to connect with and to help them move through.

A dad of a four year old questioned “We have a routine when we run to the grocery store of stopping for an ice cream next door and then the toy store to sit on a rocking horse and then to get groceries. Some days time is tight and I want to just get groceries but he gets upset so I feel I can’t. Do I have to get ice cream and visit the toy store?”

While it is a nice outing, it is life to have changes in routine. Better to help your child learn to cope than to tiptoe around it and avoid the upset.

You might help by preparing them for the change. On the way you might say “I know you like stopping for ice cream and at the toy store. Today we only have time for the grocery store.” You might then offer a choice “Would you like to pick the ice cream or the cereal,” or a challenge “Can you count all the items we put in the cart,” or a job, “I need a cart pusher,” to get them thinking about the grocery store rather than the ice cream or toy store.

For the upset that still may follow, good to provide empathy “I know it’s frustrating when we have to change our plan,” or “I know you really like the other stops.” Often good to connect with hugs or hand holding.

Out of the moment, good to coach them on emotions and ways to manage when their triggers happen. Here is a link to a blog post which includes way to coach emotions and the importance of triggers: https://parentingbydrrene.com/…/preventing-tantrums-emotion…/

The idea – prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.

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