When mild frustration is a good thing



Hassles and setbacks are a part of life. We get stuck in traffic, the item we want is backordered, we forget to set a timer and burn dinner. How we handle these moments is part of what psychologists call frustration tolerance. Do we yield to anger and start yelling, or do we move through the frustration and onto a solution?


Activities at Kidspirit are conducted in an atmosphere of encouragement and support. For a child wanting to make a basketball shot from the three-point line, maybe throwing the ball too hard makes it bounce off the backboard. In a cooking class, the pasta came out too tough and chewy. These outcomes are frustrating but they teach us. It’s data that helps us learn and grow — and it makes our successes and wins all that much sweeter.


Growing our frustration tolerance is part of the emotional scaffolding children need in developing emotional maturity. Strong frustration tolerance allows us to problem solve and not give up before finding a solution. Remind your kids (and yourself) that mistakes are proof that you’re trying, and really what you’re doing is learning patience and a stick-with-it attitude.



Brought to you by:

Karen Swanger is the Director of OSU KidSpirit Oregon 4-H Youth Programs kidspirit.oregonstate.edu