Helping a child handle frustration

Learn about: Helping a child handle frustration from Barbara Olinger, MSW,...
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Helping a child handle frustration

Young children become easily frustrated. And this is often a feeling that we want to rescue them from. It is important to remember that building frustration toleration is done through experiencing frustration, not avoiding it. Allowing our child to try something, to struggle, to get frustrated and eventually be successful allows for a great sense of mastery, which leads to self esteem. We have to observe our child during this process. That is crucial. If our child is attempting something, becomes frustrated and continues to try, we don´t have to do anything. If, on the other hand, they try, get frustrated but stop, that might mean that the level of frustration is too great and we can gently step in saying you were trying really hard. It can be frustrating. Do you want any help? We don´t want to preempt what could be a very good experience in building self esteem but we also don´t want our child to be immobilized by too great a level of frustration. So observing our child before we step in can give us important information on how our child is managing their level of frustration.

Learn about: Helping a child handle frustration from Barbara Olinger, MSW,...


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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through

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