Tools for Helping Your Teen or Pre-Teen Deal with Frustration

We all need to vent sometimes. Parents need to understand the difference between frustration tolerance, venting, and asking for help, and it isn't always clear.

First, frustration tolerance:

Many students struggle with frustration tolerance, and need direct instruction in how to work through frustrating situations. Here's how you can help:

1. Connect frustration to the body. Our emotions impact our physical bodies. Encourage them to think about how their body feels when they're experiencing frustration or other strong emotions.

2. Learn about triggers. We are all different, but some common triggers of frustration include:
      •  transitions
      •  negative peer interactions
      •  challenging academic work
      •  feeling misunderstood
      •  lack of control/seeking perfection
      •  hunger (a HUGE one for middle school)
      •  exhaustion
      •  break in routine

Encourage your child to develop a list of triggers that create frustration for them. Recognize that getting into the car in the afternoon is prime time for many students to experience the frustration triggers listed above. You have a right to set boundaries with your student and not simply be the receptacle of negative frustration release. Discuss frustration at a time when both of you are not frustrated, then you can help them understand and take charge of their responses to frustration.
Remember, developing coping strategies to deal with frustration requires time and practice.  This list is adapted from
Next post, we will share tips on how to manage venting, a champion adolescent sport.