March 17, 2020 at 1:21 pm #28617
New over here…we are working on the story blend project. My son loved picking the characters and what they would be doing…but when it came to drawing the illustrations he seemed to get really frustrated that he couldn’t make it detailed enough. Any tips on following this through?March 18, 2020 at 3:13 pm #30815
We had the same challenge over here! Olive often gets frustrated when she draws (Troll from Billy Goat’s Gruff ended up scrupled up and thrown on the floor – insert monkey with hands on face emoji here:). Would love to hear how others help their littles through this kind of frustration.
MorganMarch 19, 2020 at 4:20 am #31408Erin LoechnerKeymaster
Great question! My thought is that an empathetic response will go a long way toward our kids finding a solution that works for them:
Often, in the case of art projects, our kids are simply disappointed that the vision isn’t translating into reality. As adults, we know how frustrating this can be, too!
Watch the above video, say “Show me the hard part” to your child, and then wait for a response. Depending on your child’s age, resist the temptation to fix anything, but instead, offer space for them to solve their own problem. Chances are, once a child’s frustration is voiced and heard, i.e. “Oh, you’re right – that is frustrating!” and he/she feels understood (active listening works great here), their brain will move into solutions mode rather than alarm mode.
From there, my daughter used to love crumpling up her pages and ripping them up if she hated what she saw, and I allowed it! We then saved the scraps in our scrap stash for a “mixed media” piece later, once her frustration had passed. Involve your kids in brainstorming solutions! Maybe they do want to learn to draw better, or maybe they just want to feel their disappointment for a bit. Both courses of action are understandable! :)
I hope this helps!!March 20, 2020 at 9:35 pm #33003
Love the above suggestion! We have also found it helpful to encourage a few deep breaths or inviting our oldest to count to 10 when his frustration escalates and before he reacts. After he takes a moment to calm down, we can better process the situation together.March 20, 2020 at 10:55 pm #33054
I was an ESL teacher for a year and a half, and I had a 9year old student break down in tears because she couldn’t draw a circle perfectly. It is important for children to know that we aren’t expecting perfection from them. Yes, we want them to try hard, figure out how to solve problems by themselves, and learn to express themselves, but they also need to know that they are in a safe place where failure doesn’t mean they have lost value. I’m not saying that you haven’t do e this with your child, just saying that this is important, too.March 22, 2020 at 12:29 am #33699
I am having a similar issue with my 3 year old daughter. It seems like she’ll just give up as soon as she starts something that she perceives as hard, and she’ll say she can’t do it. And no amount of empathy or problem solving on my part seems to help. She is just so sure that it’s impossible. I’d love to have guidance for these moments. I just want to help her through it, and I can’t seem to figure out the best method for us.March 24, 2020 at 3:48 pm #35884Erin LoechnerKeymaster
You’re SO not alone! 3-4 is a MASSIVE shift in development, where children generally fall into 1 of 2 camps: I can do it by myself! or I can’t do this! Surprisingly, in both areas, they’re simply asserting independence!
A few things could potentially help, but like all things parenting-related, your daughter will be out of this stage before you know it. ;)
1 — Ask for her help often.
On totally unrelated subjects, ask her what she thinks about certain things, or if she can do certain tasks (that you know she’s fully able to do), because you really need her help. She might simply need evidence and proof that she’s far more reliable and skilled than she realizes!
2 — Break it up into steps.
“Show me the hard part” works really well for this, b/c it naturally pinpoints an actual hang-up. But sometimes there isn’t a hang-up, it’s just a classic case of overwhelm! By breaking it up into steps (assisting her w/ some of the project and letting her finish the final step) could build confidence as well.
3 — Catch her doing something hard.
Maybe she’s singing a song with a lot of verses she’s memorized, or is wrestling with a zipper jacket and prevails! Comment, “That sure looked hard, and you did it! That takes a lot of persistence!” or something of the manner. Our voices become our kids’ inner voices, so slowly but surely, she’ll grow to believe persistence is something that not only is she fully capable of, but that she possesses already.
Keep up the great work, Rachel!March 31, 2020 at 10:33 pm #39897
My son is a perfectionist (5 years old) and often gets mad if he can’t draw something well (a boat) or he is cutting something intricate and the paper rips…and lots of other things!
I love this phrase Erin suggested – “show me the hard part.” I am often sheepish to validate the angry, frustrated feelings, because for my son at least, it often makes him get more angry or melt down and it’s hard to shift gears from there. He seems to want me to fix the problem and I can’t always do that. But I think I need more courage as there seems to be a lot of benefit to allowing those feelings — I guess I need to work on *accepting* those feelings more than anything and leaning into those hard moments!
But a side note, a few things we are doing are: talking about some affirmations from Big Life Journal about progress over perfection, calling his art papers “practice sheets” (when he gets upset I remind him “oh that’s a practice sheet, remember?” and he says “oh” and smiles and usually moves on!), and the last thing is talking about the reason behind what he is doing. He got very upset that the letter he was coloring for his sister’s mailbox from one of the other goose lessons got “messed up.” I did try to validate his feelings as much as I could, and then asked him, “are you making this to be perfect, or to show love to your sister? Will she see the mistake or feel the love from your note?” And surprisingly that seemed to help…he was super cheerful after and finished the letter without any problems.
…idk, hopefully those things aren’t way off course!!
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