Why do children have a low tolerance for frustration?
September 30, 2022

By: Lic. Karina Iracheta

Children, due to their immaturity, self-centeredness and lack of notion of time, are not capable of tolerating too much frustration.

However, small doses of frustration make them grow,  if they have support and affection from their parents it can be very beneficial for the children.

The different types of frustrations that a child can face are:

  1. Frustration caused by adults: It occurs when the child wants to do something and the adults/parents prevent it.
  2. Frustration caused by other children: This may occur because the children are still unable to be empathic and do not know how to understand the others feelings.
  3. Frustration caused by objects: Due to their immature strength and coordination, they discover that there are things that they cannot do by themselves.
  4. Frustration caused by age or size: This frustration appears when the child cannot do something that requires more than what he or she can offer due to age or size.

It is important that children learn to make mistakes and know failure, not only because mistakes are present in the life of a human being, but also because they help gain emotional stability and maturity.

We can teach children to have tolerance for frustration and develop patience by showing them how to deal with their attitude towards the frustration they are feeling, most of the time that means accepting the situation and the amount of control we can manage over it. With that control, we can now choose an appropriate attitude and actions to deal with it.

There are various strategies that can be applied to master frustration:

  • Practice Mindfulness: To perform this exercise, find a quiet place, ask the child to sit with his back straight and breath in a controlled and focused way and pay attention to what happens to his/her body. This will help him/her relax and be conscious of his/her body.
  • Perform progressive muscle relaxation techniques: This technique consists of tensing and relaxing the different muscle groups on the body, so that the child knows how to distinguish between the different sensations he/she feels when the muscles are relaxed and tensed.
  • Breathing techniques: Ask the child to inhale air through the nose, then hold the air for a moment and then finally release the air little by little. This will make him/her calmer and able to speak more eloquently. 
  • Identify the feeling of frustration: Help the child name the frustration and that way he/her will identify the emotion more easily.
  • Model a constructive response: Show the child how they can respond to the situation they face, showing them different approaches and options to react. Keep in mind that children learn from observing the actions, attitudes, and responses of others, especially their parents.
  • Modifying the tasks: Teaching to modify their tasks in hand and find alternatives to reach the same objectives.

Showing children how to face adverse situations and solve problems with a positive approach will allow them to adapt more easily to life and be happier.


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