The frustration it is an emotion that happens when a person is motivated to pursue an end or has a clear expectation about something and stumbles over some obstacle that blocks that result or expectation. It belongs to the family of anger, in fact poorly managed frustration is the germ of very complex and intense emotions such as hatred or anger. However, from an emotion as uncomfortable as frustration children can also extract some positive teachings that help them grow emotionally.
The truth is that we are forced to deal with frustration practically daily since we are children. Learning to do it in an appropriate way has great value because it contributes to personal development and the maturation process of the person, it is also closely related to a healthy self-esteem and to the perception of happiness itself.
Frustration allows us to understand that the world does not orbit around oneself, and that therefore, sometimes we can fulfill our wishes and / or expectations, other times we have to wait for them to be possible and many others simply will not be.
Helping children understand the mechanism of frustration and teaching them to manage it allows them to learn certain values and lessons. Among them, the most prominent are:
1. Children can learn to be more tolerant and flexible to the situations that occur around them.
2. Learning to tolerate frustration also helps you train perseverance.
3. Thanks to this emotion, children can also learn to be patient while waiting.
4. On the other hand, it helps them to stay motivated in the achievement of their purposes.
5. In addition, children learn to manage the 'impossible'.
In the 1960s, Stanford University psychologist W. Mischel developed a longitudinal experiment to study self-control and delayed gratification in children between the ages of 4 and 6. Individually put each child in front of a jelly bean, the instruction he received was clear and simple: if he did not eat it in 15 minutes, he would receive another one. In total about 600 children underwent the experiment. Most of them couldn't resist the temptation to eat the treat. Only 30% of the little ones managed to tolerate the frustration during the 15 minutes and got their reward.
Mischel followed these children for 20 years. Overall, he found that those who had resisted the frustration of eating the jelly bean they were better adapted psychologically and socially than those who had opted for immediate reward. This experiment has been re-studied in research such as 'Hot thoughts, cold thoughts, and harnessing self-control: Walter Mischel's THE MARSHMALLOW TEST and other half of the equation', by Allison N. Kurti for the University of Vermont.
Parents as educators have to take on the hard work of saying no to our children, assuming that this will lead them to confront directly with frustration. It will be easier to do so if we harbor the deep conviction that this will build a better self esteem and a healthy relationship of our son with the world.
In everyday life there are many examples in which we act as an 'obstacle' to the achievement of their wishes: 'No, this is not the time to take sweets'; 'no, you can't watch TV now'; 'you have to wait for your birthday to have that toy that you like so much'; 'now it's your brother's turn' ...
And how can we help children tolerate frustration? Here are some tips:
- As always the first thing is set an example, be coherent and consistent with what we convey to them: the way in which you deal with your frustrations will serve as a reference.
- Let them grow, don't do the things that they can do for themselves- Let them try, make mistakes, and learn from it.
- Let them learn from mistake, of what is not achieved immediately, of the supposed failures: enable him to experience the error as something positive, only then can he develop his perception of achievement and his personal competence.
- Don't be afraid of his tantrums, they are just an expression of his frustration. If you don't reinforce them with your attention, they will end up disappearing.
- Reinforces learningFrustration is a powerful driver toward perseverance and motivation.
- Teach him the importance of knowing how to wait.
In summary: teaching our children this emotion and its possibilities will help them succeed in the future and develop a more emotionally healthy personality.
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