Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Step back to success.

What you can do

When frustration sets in, help your child break a negative pattern that can lead to anger and withdrawal. You can do this by encouraging her to take a step back and clear her head rather than keep doing whatever caused the frustration in the first place.

Suggest she take a short break and do something she can be successful at or that she finds relaxing and fun. This will help her return to the problematic task feeling refreshed and ready to overcome obstacles.

What you can say

“Sofia, I can see you’re getting frustrated trying to complete your math homework. Put your pencil down and walk away from your desk. I admire your effort, but sometimes we all need to take a break from something we find difficult.”

“I’d appreciate it if you’d help me make something for the bake sale. You’re a good cook, and you can move around in the kitchen and relax. The math homework will still be there half an hour from now. I know you can complete it successfully if you’re not feeling so stressed out.”

“When you come back from your break, you can look at some different ways to approach it. Right now the big question is chocolate chips or raisins in the cookies.”

Why this will help

Stepping away from a task will create some emotional distance from the frustration. Physical activity can recharge your child’s brain and give her a healthy way to blow off steam.

Validating the cause of her frustration is important. But providing an outlet for it will help her power through her emotions and reach a positive conclusion.

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