Help your child understand why one day he can do something and the next day he can’t. Explain how inconsistencies often come along with learning and attention issues. Talk about why your child gets frustrated when he can accomplish some tasks but not others that seem similar.
Point out how frustration with these inconsistencies causes him to want to give up on the task. Have this conversation when your child is calm and ready to listen.
What you can say
“Jacob, I can see you get frustrated when you have difficulty remembering things and doing tasks you feel you’ve done really well before. Believe me, you’re not the only one. This happens to lots of people. The reasons have nothing to do with how smart you are—because we know you’re smart.”
“Everyone’s brains work in fascinating ways. There’s a reason why many people can remember the words to a song but can’t remember how to solve a math problem. Learning and attention issues come with similar memory situations you can’t always predict. I’m confident that once you understand more about how your brain works, you’ll feel better about yourself and not get so frustrated.”
Why this will help
Your child needs to have a basic understanding of how his brain works. This includes why sometimes he has trouble recalling things he knows he has seen or used before in a successful way. It will also help reduce his frustration to know that he’s not alone in dealing with these kinds of inconsistencies.
Understanding these things will help him stay the course and power through frustrating situations more consistently. Sometimes a child may need to hear this from a source other than a parent, such as a psychologist or doctor. Your child may trust this information more if it’s coming from an unbiased third party.
Explore more information on how to talk to your child about learning and attention issues.