Frustration tolerance is the ability to successfully manage feelings of frustration. It’s a tough skill to master, and it’s something with which a lot of kids struggle. As our Cleveland occupational therapists can explain, having low frustration tolerance can make completing even the most basic tasks an uphill battle.
Frustration is an emotional response occurring when something goes wrong or what we desire doesn’t come to fruition. Teaching kids to cope with frustration is essential to helping them become adults who are patient, decisive and capable.
Kids with low frustration may:
- Get easily upset.
- Have difficulty accepting or moving on from defeat/not winning at a game.
- Have trouble solving things easily or right away.
- Give up easily.
- Have trouble concentrating (unable to listen to a full story/focus on their school work).
- Struggle with reduced social skills, uninterested in playing with other kids (which becomes cyclical in other kids’ response to them).
Of course, ups and downs are a normal part of childhood – and of life! Children may experience stress and discomfort when faced with new situations or environments (and the beginning of a new school year is a good time to talk about this!). But parents, caregivers, and occupational therapists can respond with care and understanding, while still teaching them how to appropriately respond to frustrating situations.