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Building Emotional Wellness in Kids and Teens

The different feelings and emotions that we experience in life are what make us human. Joy or sorrow, love and hate, frustration and calmness, all of it can only be felt when one experiences its counterparts. Having said that, our goal has always been to minimize the negative consequences of feelings like frustration, anxiety, anger and depression. 

As adults, we’re constantly in the state of trial and error to learn from our experiences. Children, however, aren’t born with pre-programmed skills to deal with frustration. Good thing is that with some patience and a little bit of guidance, you can help your kid to develop effective coping mechanisms to tackle frustration regardless of its intensity. 

However, did you know that frustration isn’t always a bad thing? Especially when it comes to children, frustration can actually help develop resilience. Here’s how you, as a parent, can help your child manage frustration and build resilience through it. 

Tailor Your Approach

Different people, or in this case, different children respond differently when subjected to similar situations or challenges. We might assume that children have it easy but in times like today, they go through a lot to experience frequent frustration here and there. For instance, not having control might get some frustrated, for others inefficiency, parental or peer pressure might bring in frustration. 

Hence, understanding your child and how they react when subjected to such situations can help you tailor a suitable approach to channel their inner frustration and nurture resilience. Let’s say your child is shy or over sensitive and when he gets upset, he gets overwhelmed and is not aware of a way to channel his frustration. In that case, you may help your child find a corner spot or an engaging activity like painting, as a retreat. Similarly, for a hyperactive child, cycling or any physical activity might be soothing. 

Understand Triggers

Often neglected, triggers actually spur frustration and feelings alike. Again, it all boils down to understanding your kid. If you begin to know about your child’s triggers, you can help them deal with their frustration better. It is important because even if you know about their triggers, someone at someone might put it in motion unknowingly and at such situations, your child needs to manage it all alone. Thus, your help today would help them build resilience for tomorrow. 

Model A Constructive Response

Well, it’s not new to us that kids learn the most by copying adults around them. They eventually adopt tendencies that they observe around them over the period of time. Remember that actions speak louder than words. Thus, no matter what you teach your kid through books and lessons about managing frustration, the most effective way to teach them to do so would be to model such attributes. 

If you try to remain calm under circumstances that trigger frustration, your child would notice and try implementing the same. Thus, model a constructive response to what triggers frustration in you.

Validate Big Feelings

Your child may even feel frustrated when they don’t feel heard or understood. You need to be authentic with your child without being discouraging. For instance, if your child is trying to draw something but he couldn’t do it great and he’s frustrated, lying about it will exacerbate the situation. Instead, you can simply acknowledge the situation authentically by saying how your child is trying to draw something from his vision but it isn’t how he wanted and ask for his view. This way, they’ll feel heard and you’d be validating their hard feelings.

Build From Your Child’s Strengths

As parents, we’re always tempted to step in and resolve the challenges for our children when they’re frustrated. However, in the long run, this can actually turn out the other way around. 

Children like to feel capable enough to tackle situations competently. This gives them a sense of growth and boosts their confidence. Not allowing them to do so might actually frustrate them over the course of time. 

Instead, understand the strengths of your child and help them rely upon their strengths to deal with frustration. This will also prove to be their way to show resilience. 

With time, practice and immense patience, these little steps today can largely impact in shaping up your child’s personality traits for the future.