Children with Low Frustration Tolerance: Tips to Help Them

March 22, 2018
Frustration is an emotional response that occurs when a project goes wrong or a hope or desire doesn't come true. Teaching our children to deal with this type of situation will help them become patient, decisive adults.

In this article we’ll explain ways you can help children with low frustration tolerance. For children to effectively face different situations in their daily life, they need to learn to deal with frustration from an early age.

It’s important to understand that frustration is an emotional response that occurs when our projects go wrong, or our hopes or desires don’t come true.

This generates feelings such as sadness, anger, anxiety and distress. Every child may react and face this kind of situation differently. That’s why knowing how to identify children with low frustration tolerance is important.

Characteristics of children with low frustration tolerance

When we try to protect our children against frustration or give them everything they want all the time, we’re not doing anything to help them.

One way of promoting healthy development in little ones is to help them accept that life is made up of both failure and success.

Children with Low Frustration Tolerance: Tips to Help Them

  • Children with low frustration tolerance are more impatient and impulsive.
  • They have more difficulty controlling their emotions.
  • Children with low frustration tolerance are very demanding.
  • They try to satisfy their needs as quickly as possible. If they have to wait for something, they may cry or have a tantrum.
  • They’re more likely to develop symptoms of depression or anxiety in the face of major difficulties or conflicts.
  • These children have less ability to adapt and be flexible.
  • They believe they deserve everything they want, and that the world revolves around them. They may perceive rules and boundaries as unfair. It’s difficult to get them to understand why they can’t have everything they want.
  • These children are prone to black-and-white thinking. They don’t believe in compromise.

Causes of low frustration tolerance

Some of the most common reasons why children have low frustration tolerance are:

  1. Immediate satisfaction of all their needs. The child gets everything they want, when they want it, so they never learn how to delay gratification. The child prefers to get a small reward now rather than wait for a larger one.
  2. Lack of boundaries in their upbringing. It’s common to find that children with this behavior are raised without boundaries and won’t take “no” for an answer.
  3. Parents who make decisions on their behalf. Given that choosing between different options involves a degree of risk, many parents end up deciding for their children, to avoid exposing them to disappointment.

“One way of promoting healthy development in little ones is to help them accept that life is made up of both failure and success”

How to help children with low frustration tolerance

Helping children with low frustration tolerance is very simple. Here are a few tips:

  • Be aware of the specific reasons behind their reactions.
  • Explain as many times as is necessary that it’s normal to make mistakes. Helping your child to express their feelings is one way to get them to face up to frustrating situations.
  • Try to teach your child the difference between wants and needs. This will help them control their impulses.
  • As an adult, you should be capable of establishing goals and limits, taking into account the child’s age and abilities. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary frustration.
  • Sometimes, when facing a difficult situation, a little bit of humor can be a big help.

Activities for children with low frustration tolerance

Therapies and exercises for children with low frustration tolerance can be excellent support tools to stimulate balanced development in little ones.

Doing this now can help to ensure that as an adult, your son or daughter will be able to manage frustration.

Therapies for children with low frustration tolerance

  • Relaxation techniques. You can teach your child techniques for relaxation, which will help them to face the world with a more positive attitude to adverse situations. Teach them to increase their frustration tolerance by relaxing their body and mind.
Children with Low Frustration Tolerance: Tips to Help Them

  • Teach them to recognize frustration. It’s important for children with low frustration tolerance to be able to identify the moment when the feeling of frustration takes over.
  • Let your child know they can ask for help. Teach them to look for solutions. If they feel frustrated when they try to do certain tasks, make sure they try other things before getting angry or giving up.

Other activities for children with low frustration tolerance

  • Reinforce positive behavior. It’s important to praise your child when they respond to a frustrating situation with an appropriate strategy.
  • Change the task. Show them a different way to achieve what they want.
  • Role play. You can make a frustrating event into a game with your child. First, let them act out their frustration. Then, have them play the opposite role. Encourage your child to talk to him or herself in a positive way to find the best way to solve the problem.

In many cases, affection and understanding are the best strategies for dealing with low frustration tolerance.

Given that there are situations in life in which frustration is inevitable, what is most important is to give your child the tools to recognize it.

This way, it will be easier for them to channel their feelings and ask for help when they need it.