It’s okay to let your kids feel frustrated and not rescue them. For example, you ’re in line at the grocery store and your kids are bored and frustrated with having to wait. Our first inclination might be to buy them some candy or hand them our phone. That solves the boredom but robs them of the gift of frustration. Yes, allowing them to feel frustrated actually is a gift that can be beneficial to them. Here are 3 reasons why.
1. Frustration develops self-soothing.
When I was a kid I hated taking naps. I would lie in my bed and kick and complain. I was frustrated that I had to do something I didn’t want to do. I had a choice between staying angry or calming myself down.
Our children can learn self-soothing at a young age. Instead of handing your baby your phone while you’re changing his diaper, let him fidget and squawk. Sing to him, talk to him, ask him to clap his hands. Help him learn that he can find ways to make it through a frustrating situation.
2. Frustration develops problem-solving.
I am guilty of giving too much direction to my kids. It took me a while to realize that by telling them the “best” way to do things, I wasn’t giving them the chance to problem solve for themselves, even if they did get frustrated along the way.
So now I observe more than I direct. I watch my son overfill the garbage can and the trash spill out on his way to the curb. He gets frustrated as he picks up cantaloupe rinds and greasy paper towels. But he learns the “don’t overfill” lesson as he works through the frustration on his own.
3. Frustration develops patience.
Have you heard the term, frustration tolerance? People with low frustration tolerance get angry when things don’t go their way or they’re in a situation they can’t control.
We can teach our children to have a high frustration tolerance and develop patience by showing them how to deal with frustration. Most of the time that involves accepting the situation and the amount of power we have, or don’t have, over it. Then we get to choose our attitude and actions for how to deal with it.
We can teach our children to have a high frustration tolerance and develop patience by showing them how to deal with frustration.
Oh, there’s one more benefit to letting our children feel frustrated—it gives us the chance to practice our patience, and refine our skills for encouraging and guiding our children.
Tell us! What is the hardest part about letting your kids figure things out for themselves?