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I am the lucky father of an adorable 5-year-old girl. I understand she has her own process to learn how to deal with frustration and I think it's quite normal for a 5-year-old girl to start crying many times when she's frustrated (because I don't understand her question, or because she wants something right now, etc).

I try to stay calm and to be patient and understanding and I'd like to teach her some ways to solve her problems and deal with her frustration in other ways than crying.

What techniques do you recommend?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

At that age, leading by example is still very effective. We all experience her emotions and when thing seem hopeless, even adults cry. The only real difference is the ability to think critically about a situation and ask ourselves how it can be appropriately addressed.

Now, the academic analysis aside, here's what I did with my daughter:

  1. I identified her emotion(s) and sympathsized with them (e.g. "Oh, that is so frustrating, isn't it?")
  2. I then validated her emotion(s) (thereby validating her in her perspective). (e.g. "I can see why you feel that way. I would, too.")
  3. Next, I began by trying to change the view of the problem by getting her to begin thinking about it. (e.g. "Do you think there is something we can do? That way it isn't so frustrating.")
  4. (a) If she said, "cry, cry, Yes." I either prompted for a reason or if it was readily provided, complimented her on the suggestion, validated it as an understandable way to see things, and then asked her questions about her proposal to help her better understand it.
  5. (b) If she said, "cry, cry, No!", then I'd ask her questions which led her into finding a solution which I felt was best.

Did it work perfectly every time? Of course not. Sometimes it just concluded in a hug and a statement that I love her. Over time, however, by showing her critical thinking (in how I addressed her) and teaching her critical thinking (in how I helped her to solve problems), crying as the primary means of initial problem handling was largely eliminated.

I believe the key things were validating her in both her feelings and thinking, converting her frustration into our frustration, and asking questions which led her to her own conclusions.

I hope this helps you in helping her!

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+1 as the same problem I had! You spoke my words ;) But here, my daughter is 8 (and this problem still persists though it has become less frequent now!).

Okay, the problem of crying. Young ones often get disappointed or frustrated if the things don't work their way. On the other hand, it's not possible for parents to fulfill every wish they wish!

The first issue you told in your question is you don't understand her question. There, the solution is try to ask her and understand what she wants. If possible, give her what she wants and that's the only thing to deal with child's psychology. They are not mature enough to understand the finer nuance what we try to explain them.

The second thing you said is because she wants something right now. The only thing that works there is distract her mind (that's what I practiced!) by taking her out or asking to play some game or whatever she likes the most (we know what our kids like...right?). Meanwhile, ask someone in your house (say your wife) to arrange for that thing that she wants right now. Again, do this if that thing is possible. If she asks for the moon, we are just helpless ;)

The tendency of crying frequently is seen in many kids (and I'm a healthcare provider with experience in pediatrics). And the only solution there is the time, the maturity that comes naturally. When they grow older, this tendency goes. However, if the frequency is getting increased, we shouldn't take it lightly as in some rare cases, this tendency grows as stubbornness and from there, it takes the victim to the next level of depression.

What has worked in my case is whenever Rhyme (my daughter) cried for a trivial thing, I distracted her mind showing something that'll surprise her. At the age of five, they certainly understand our language and I'd always tell her that okay, what she wants will happen now...but see this....and then distraction. If they cry hard, on the other hand they forget soon (Thank God!). After that surprise element, the thing that she was crying for, in most of the cases, is forgotten. We can then tackle them the way we want.

Once she grows, tell her the value of crying and inform her that frequent crying will lose its value (this has worked as surefire in my case). "If you cry seldom, everybody'll be bothered that something big must have happened to you but then if you cry on trivial matters, how would we know that it's something very serious you are crying for." But of course, this matter she'll understand when she is nearly 8.

All the best and I hope she's back to her happiness and does not cry frequently. :)

A very good read is here.

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It's tricky.

Imagine the child wants a toy that is in a different, unacessible, location.

You can try saying "Oh dear! Do you want TOYNAME? Is that why you are unhappy?"

The child might stop crying for long enough to say "yes, that's what I want." Often just acknowledging the problem is enough to stop crying. But if it doesn't stop you can say things like "you really like TOYNAME, don't you?" And then "what does TOYNAME do that you like so much?"

You then use this conversation to provide distraction techniques or offer reassurance. "It is such a shame that we cannot get TOYNAME now. Let's write a list so that we never forget it again!"

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