Let Yourself And Your Kids Feel Frustrated
This past Sunday both my husband and I were off work and we delighted in playing with our two little girls! Some of our favorite things to do include going on walks, wrestling with Mexican wrestling masks (well, I watch mostly!), and making puzzles. My littles know when mom and dad are down to play, they are down to play. But last week my kids were off of school, the whole week. I only can play so much, you know what I'm sayin'? So, Sunday I told my three year old she had to play on her own. She went off to find something to do. After a good ten minutes of terrifying silence, I went to look for her. Nothing good comes from silent children. However, I was surprised to find her working on a puzzle in the living room looking like a saint! Miracles do happen people!
She got a quadruple pack of Shopkin puzzles, they all came in the same box! After trying to put the whole four puzzles together, she began to grow angry at the thing for not fitting. She said frustrated, “Mommy, this doesn’t fit. Can you help?” I crouched down, and began to see the problem from an “outsiders" perspective. This puzzle company did a great job at printing little codes on the back of the puzzle pieces, little hearts or stars as clues to which puzzle pieces belonged to which. My initial reaction was to save the day and figure out the puzzle out for her. Thirty-six piece puzzle, "BOOMED YA", I'd say! My thirty-three year old brain power would have annihilated that Shopkins 36r! My ego would’ve done a dance at the ease I completed that sucker. But it isn't about me, is it? NO! So I refrained from rescuing her from the frustration of not knowing how.
I believe as a parent it is my responsibility to teach my children to work through frustrations (even if they seem small), because it will help them prepare for the difficulty and disappointment that comes with growing up! As they develop a sense of self confidence, through small- difficult trials, they will be prepared for bigger ones as they grow. I don't have to save my children from difficulty. It serves them better to learn to deal with pain and suffering the right way, You don’t put a running back in football out to play the Super Bowl, if he hasn’t practiced and practiced how to take a hit. It will not harm our children to let them be frustrated and disappointed. It will help them practice how to process the uncomfortable emotion, if we are able to coach ourselves first, we can then coach our kids to deal as well! How do you deal with uncomfortable emotions and frustration?
What I do believe has been helpful for me, is guiding and encouraging my children through their frustrations! I suggested she worked on ONE puzzle at a time. I told her she didn’t have to worry about the whole thing, even through the difficulty of it, she would have victory, if her focus was sharp as a laser, into the task at hand. I believe God is saying similar things to us. Stop trying to figure out the whole plan and trust that what he has placed before, you right now, even if it’s a frustrating "piece" and its causing difficult emotion, he is going to help you get through it! He will build your confidence, one frustration at a time! You can go through difficult emotions, and so can your children! If you trust him with this step and resolve to, in faith, process disappointment and grief correctly and do your very best to have your faith have action; you’re going to be led, comforted, provided for, kept, and encouraged to do something beautiful with your life. You don't have to rescue yourself or anyone else around you from difficult emotions. They are not going to consume, they are there to help guide you and those you love.
My daughter just walked up to me with the entire puzzle done, and a delighted look in her eye. Wow. What satisfaction!
with love and respect,