Kids' stress: Step by step, and nothing is impossible
Growing up

Stress and frustration in kids: Problems make us grow

There is no life without stress. Kids can practice techniques to relieve it. A negative situation can be a challenge, so frustration can become an opportunity to grow as a person. You can teach children that they don’t have to win every time, but they will surely be wiser with every new experience. Especially after the hard one.

I’d work in a library if I could. Or type something and sort out documents without anyone interrupting me. But there are few jobs like that now. Whether you work in education, finance, foreign trade, or freelance – stress is always there.

The Serenity Prayer - what to say to yourself in a stressful situation


People have conflicting opinions about it:

  • some think it destroys our physical and mental wellbeing;
  • others think this is a new-age fad. Doctors say it has always existed and a man has the capacity to deal with it. A caveman ran away from beasts. He endured fire and thunder he did not understand. Tribes fought each other. Imagine that cave guy talking about frustration at work! The onset of stress kept him alive.

What are stress and frustration, anyway?

“Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.”

Source – Cleveland Clinic

So, stress is a natural response. When a stressful change happens, it makes your body wake up and do something about it to regain balance. If you feel that you cannot control things around you in a stressful situation, you feel frustration.

Everybody suffers from stress and frustration sometimes. Life consists of both beautiful and uncomfortable moments.

How kids see life

Most children’s dream is to have superpowers.

Or to have a lot of friends.

To be good-looking.

To become famous.

To be rich.

Children think life should be beautiful. That you don’t have to work hard to get something. Sadness, anger, jealousy, or fear are unwelcome.

Someone happy jumping on a sunny beach… Well, that’s a nice pic. But our children should learn that there is no stress-free life. We can overcome an obstacle easier if we see it as a challenge. Challenges help us become wiser and more interesting people.

Still, long exposure to stress can ruin your health, damage your self-confidence, make you withdrawn and too negative. How do we help our children with frustration when we ourselves are often battling against it?

A toy soldier battling against a Converse shoe as a symbol of fighting stress
Never give up, even when the enemy seems stronger than you | © James Pond, Unsplash

How to help kids with frustration and stress

Frustration feels bad because you believe you deserve better. But it also makes you try to change the current situation. To think and be creative to solve the problem. Frustration can be an opportunity to grow and to become smarter.

There are many techniques your children can learn.

First of all, kids should understand that no problem lasts forever. When an obstacle occurs, remind them that…

This is a part of life and it will pass

There are things you cannot control. Don’t let them take away all your strength.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you have a problem (Everybody has them).

Try to do something about it. And keep trying.

See this as a challenge. Instead of thinking “This is bad, I can’t do this“,

try to say: “This is exciting, let’s see what I can do about it. Let’s see what I can learn from it.“

Blow off steam. Move your body

Beat the grouchiness.

Do some sport, ride a bike, go running, listen to music and dance,…

Regular physical exercise can also prepare a child’s body for the next time the stress comes.

Do something relaxing

Creativity or learning new things helps children find a focus.

There are many things you can suggest to your children when they are stressed out:

  • write a diary. This is a good way for them to learn how to process their feelings;
  • be creative. Painting, playing an instrument, making a simple meal, anything that requires full concentration;
  • read. Reading a book you enjoy can clean up all the mess in your head;
  • spend time with those who love and support you);
  • do yoga/mindfulness/ progressive muscular relaxation.

Change your perspective

A quotation from Hamlet - it's all about perspective. Negativity creates more stress.

There is always a shade of grey. It is easier to see the solution if you keep your faith.

Ask yourself:

  • “What is the real reason that makes me frustrated?“
  • “What would my mother/teacher/friend/role model advise me to do?

Try to see the funny side

In every serious situation ask yourself: “Is there something funny about this?“

When you laugh at a problem, it loses its power.

Try to be objective

Try to see the things that are helpful, not those that frustrate you:

  • “What do I want to happen and how do I get there?“
  • “What can I do differently to improve my situation?“
  • “I cannot do it all at once, but I can achieve everything over time.“

Try something new even though you can fail

Getting outside the comfort zone, the child gets used to unpredictability and realizes there is life after failure. Still, make sure they don’t get overwhelmed by the situation. Help them out.

Cut the problem into pieces. Try to solve one piece at a time

And celebrate every small step you have achieved.

This way the child will feel the progress and cheer up.

Be assertive with people

Let the other person know how you feel about the situation. Telling someone that you are angry or disappointed is ok. Being rude or passive is not.

Be persistent

Successful people made it because they didn’t give up when times were hard.

The child should try to find creative solutions and keep on trying.

Tell them: “If you really feel you’ve tried everything, ask someone to help you.“

You will be wiser when it all passes

We learn more from painful and uncomfortable experiences than from the pleasant ones. Problems and challenges make us grow.

Sleep, eat healthy food, rest

If you live healthily, you feel better in general.

Be grateful

There are so many rich people who are unhappy regardless of everything they own.

Before sleep, your child should remember the good things and people around him/her. It is good to write them down and be thankful for what he/she has. Remind your child of a negative experience from the past. He/she learned something from it and became wiser.

In case the problem lasts, there is always a psychologist to consult.

Once again, here is the list of the techniques which experts suggest children should use in case of stress or frustration:

Techniques for kids - what to do in stress

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Sources: Cleveland Clinic, KidsHealth, Business Insider

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