It’s hard to know what to say or do
when someone is frustrated!
This emotion gets in the way of progress in school, social encounters and the quality of interactions as a family. Often times, as parents, we understand a reason for being frustrated but agreeing with the frustrated person doesn’t change the problem. It's well, SO FRUSTRATING!!!
So what do you do about frustration when it rears its head in family life? People with learning disabilities feel frustration perhaps more often than their counterparts with out LD. Knowing how to use a couple simple tools will help with the frustration while building life skills and supporting confidence and self-esteem.
Always speak the truth: Your child or young adult needs to hear the truth; empty praise or pacifying wont cut it! Praise the effort invested even though the situation may have created frustration.
Don't engage in comparisons: Discourage comparisons with others! We are all individuals on different paths and celebrating that is important. Guiding a young person to use strengths to overcome weaknesses can be a way to focus on the individual instead of comparing to others.
Increase overall understanding of a situation: use the SLOW methodology to remove confusion, hopefully breaking down the frustration.
o S – Stop: the conversation or action and take 3 breaths! This creates a little space to decide what comes next.
o L – Look: around and take note of what is happening all around you. Everything that is going on can provide you with information.
o O – Overview: to create a better understanding of all parts of the situation. How do all the different parts of a situation come together to create the frustrating situation?
o W - WHAT: Ask the “What” questions to find a path forward. What is important? What do you want to have happen? What does how you are acting have to do with the frustration? What next steps do you need to take?
Create a Frustration signal: Sometimes recognizing you are frustrated is part of the problem! Create a secret signal so a parent can signal that frustration is present. This brings the frustration out in to the open and it can be dealt with.
Another helpful trick is to have a mantra that is repeated to create focus on problem solving instead of letting stress and frustration build. An example could be to use the word “SLOW” to remind you of the steps above.
Frustration is a part of life and people with learning disabilities know this better than most! Use these tips and tricks to increase the feeling of being in control even when frustration is present.
Let us know how these work for you!