Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

Teaching Your Child to Manage Frustration

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”


  • What is Frustration Tolerance?

    No matter how young or how old you are, you can’t always get what you want. Your child will learn this early on, along with how it feels to be disappointed. Over time, he’ll understand that life presents obstacles. It’s not always easy to see your child get upset, but if you shield him from…

  • A Wait and Learn Example

    Imagine Jennifer takes her eighteen-month-old son Ricky to their favorite pizza place, but it’s closed. Ricky has waited all week for this special outing, and in a fit of frustration, Ricky throws himself on the ground and cries. Jennifer calmly acknowledges Ricky’s disappointment and says, “We were both so excited to have pizza. I’m disappointed,…

  • Helpful Tips

    • Suggest or demonstrate strategies for solving whatever problem is frustrating your child. • Break your child’s problem into manageable parts. “You want to do this really big puzzle. First, let’s arrange the pieces by color and then I’ll help you put the pieces in the puzzle.” • Use humor whenever possible. It can reduce…

  • Resources for Further Reading

    Kaplan, L.J. (1978). Oneness and separateness: From infant to individual. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Levine, M. (2006). The price of privilege: How parental pressure and material advantage are creating a generation of disconnected and unhappy kids. New York, NY: Harper. Poarch, J.E. (1990). Limits: The keystone of emotional growth. Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development…

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