How to Deal with Children's Feelings of Frustration

Teach your child from a very young age to tolerate feelings of frustration. This will allow them to deal with any difficult situation they may encounter in life.
How to Deal with Children's Feelings of Frustration

Last update: 25 April, 2018

Feelings of frustration in children stem from unmet needs or desires. Frustration is an emotion that all of us experience when we aren’t able to fulfil our wishes, expectations or goals.

In other words, frustration is inevitable. All of us experience it at some point in our lives.

In fact, frustration is one of the emotions that we develop at a very young age. Rapid mood swings, from satisfaction to frustration and back, are common during childhood.

In every frustrating situation, there is a person, a goal, and some kind of obstacle that prevents us from achieving our objective.

This obstacle may be temporary or insurmountable. For the moment, however, there is something blocking us from getting what we want.

Feelings of frustration arise when the child expects some kind of reward.

Frustration can manifest in the form of different emotions, or a combination: rage, disappointment, sadness or hopelessness.

Causes of feelings of frustration

How to Deal with Children's Feelings of Frustration

Feelings of frustration can occur at every stage of a child’s development. These are some of the most common causes:

  • Stress
  • Expectations that aren’t met
  • Rejection
  • Lack of acceptance
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Jealousy
  • Competitiveness
  • Perfectionism
  • Provocation

“The awareness of their individual blemishes and shortcomings inclines the frustrated to detect ill will and meanness in their fellow men”

-Eric Hoffer-

How to combat feelings of frustration in children

1. Be an example

Parents with a positive attitude to overcoming adverse situations are the best role models. From their example, children learn to find solutions to any problems they may face.

2. Exchange frustration for learning

Difficult situations are a good opportunity for children to learn something new.

If they’re able to retain what they learn, this experience will allow them to address the problem themselves if it happens again.

3. Teach perseverance

If children learn that perseverance is the way forward, they’ll be able to control their frustration in all kinds of situations.

4. Instil a culture of effort

To avoid feelings of frustration, teach your child that effort is necessary in order to solve problems.

5. Don’t coddle them

Allow your child to overcome challenges on their own. This way, they’ll be able to make mistakes and learn from their experiences.

6. Don’t give in

If you jump to help immediately as soon as your children express frustration, they’ll expect you to solve all of their problems.

7. Set goals

Teach your child to tolerate frustration by setting realistic and reasonable goals.

Developing tolerance for frustration

Tolerance for frustration means being able to confront the problems and limitations that all little ones experience and overcome the negative emotions these may cause.

Fortunately, all children can learn and develop a tolerant attitude towards frustration.

Characteristics of children with high tolerance for frustration

Children with a high tolerance for frustration are able to use their own resources to deal with a negative situation.

This means that only in extreme situations will the child suffer from feelings of frustration.

For people with a high level of tolerance for frustration, life is more pleasant, easier and less stressful.

Problems turn into new opportunities. There is always the possibility of turning over the page and starting anew.

These people are capable of recognizing and accepting feelings of frustration, pain, failure and discomfort, without letting them take over.

How to Deal with Children's Feelings of Frustration

Characteristics of children with low tolerance for frustration

Children with a low level of tolerance for frustration will have difficulty getting over certain situations. They easily lose motivation in the face of setbacks.

Children with low tolerance for frustration therefore tend to be more impulsive and impatient.

Used to satisfying their needs immediately, they easily become distressed when they encounter conflict or hardship.

Without a doubt, feelings of frustration in children are something that parents should address.

It’s important to keep in mind that tolerance for frustration is an ability that we’re all capable of learning and developing.

If your child can develop tolerance for frustration, they’ll be able to deal with anything that life throws at them, helping them live a happy and fulfilling life.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Bandura, A. (s.f.) Teorías de la personalidad. Traducción al castellano de Rafael Gautier.
    • Del Barrio, Ma V. (2005) Emociones infantiles. Evolución, evaluación y prevención. Madrid: Pirámides.
    • Guerri, M. (1998) Índice de psicología infantil.
    • Hurtado, M., De la Cruz, P., & Robles, X. (2015). MANEJO DE FRUSTRACIÓN EN NIÑOS.
    • Rodríguez Ruiz, C. (2013) Enseñar a los niños a afrontar los fracasos y la frustración. Educapeques portal de educación infantil y primaria.
    • Rodríguez Yagüe, R. (2015). La frustración en la etapa de Educación Infantil.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.