As parents, it’s quite something to see the pressure our kids put on themselves, even at a young age. My son is four and working hard to master his kid-sized scissors. He is eager to learn, but also gets incredibly frustrated when he can’t grip them quite the right way or accidentally snips a part of the paper he didn’t intend to. That’s when his world stops: “I can’t do it!” he’ll wail.
But how we respond in these moments can have a critical impact. I’ll admit my tendency is to step in and say: ‘Fine, I’ll do it for you’ or ‘Give me the scissors and watch mama.’
Still, Dr. Becky Kennedy, a psychologist and parenting expert, suggests offering a different response to children experiencing feelings of defeat: “Try again when you feel ready.”
After all, frustration is natural and it’s our job as parents to normalize it. But we don’t want to remove the feeling, which is exactly what happens if I step in and expedite the task. Instead, we want to help our child learn to tolerate frustration while simultaneously demonstrating our belief in their ability to learn and achieve.