Frustration, often perceived as an emotion to avoid, holds significance beyond its discomfort. While it may bring about unease, it serves as a crucial motivator, propelling us to intensify our efforts, extend our practice, and pursue our aspirations. Nonetheless, the negative aspect lies in its unpleasant nature, with intense frustration potentially leading to feelings of wanting to give up or shut down. Can you visualize frustration? Is it akin to a cartoon character emitting smoke from its ears or represented by a sad emoji face? Surprisingly, there exists a multitude of expressions of frustration. Take a moment to reflect on how you appear when experiencing frustration. Consider whether the expressions are uniform within your family or if they differ among individuals.
Feelings of Frustration
Just as our outward expressions of frustration vary, the internal feelings associated with it also differ. To comprehend your child’s emotional state, consider the range of emotions they may experience (hint: reflect on your own experiences): Anger, sadness, helplessness, panic, annoyance, and anxiety. Recognizing these shared human emotions and employing effective strategies present an opportunity to model positive coping skills for your child. It’s important to acknowledge that children observe and absorb our reactions constantly.
Take a moment for self-reflection:
– How do you handle your child’s expressions of frustration?
– Do you tend to magnify the situation or overly empathize with your child’s challenges?
– Can you manage your reactions effectively?
Children are remarkably perceptive, and if you struggle with handling their frustrated feelings, they might encounter difficulties as well. Assist your child in navigating their frustrations by initiating conversations about the observable and experiential aspects of their emotions. Discuss how their frustration manifests—whether through withdrawal, outbursts, or avoidance—and encourage them to identify and explore strategies that promote calmness and grounding in those challenging moments.
Dr. Elizabeth Joy Fazio, a licensed clinical psychologist in Homer Glen, recommends several effective coping strategies suitable for various developmental stages to assist your child (and yourself) in navigating everyday challenges:
Engage in deep breathing exercises, such as “soup breath” or “belly breath,” which resonate well with children.
Practice walking away from a situation to create a mental and emotional pause.
Take a brief run or a lap to release pent-up energy and tension.
Embrace the “Name it to Tame it!” technique, as advocated by Dr. Daniel Siegel, by articulating and acknowledging emotions.
Hydrate or have a snack to address the physiological aspects of stress.
Encourage a growth mindset, shifting from “I can’t do this!” to “I can’t do this yet,” fostering a positive and progressive outlook.
Guide your child to consider both the worst-case scenario and the likelihood (or unlikelihood) of it happening, promoting a balanced perspective.
Practice, Practice, Practice
For your child to effectively utilize these strategies in critical moments, they need to practice these techniques during non-stressful periods. Just as you wouldn’t participate in a race without proper training, assisting your child in building emotional resilience requires strengthening their emotional muscle memory. It’s crucial to recognize that frustration is not an adversary to be eliminated; rather, it’s an inherent aspect of our human experience. When frustration arises for your child (or yourself), simply be mindful to observe, articulate, and provide comfort.
Goodings Grove Psychology Associates, your trusted resource for mental health services, connects individuals with qualified therapists, including a licensed clinical psychologist in Homer Glen. Explore resources and take a vital step toward the support you need for your well-being.