Kids, Motherhood

Why You Can Make A Toddler’s Frustration A Good Thing

One day, Dominic decided he wanted to balance his toy cars on top of each other.  I knew it was a little silly and that it was going to be a little difficult with the coordination that he has at his tender age, but I let him try it out for a while anyway.

I didn’t expect him piling cars on top of each other to be anything truly deep or valuable, but it made me realize that after a few failed attempts I could either

A) Help him out and balance the cars myself for him or
B) Turn it into something teachable

As the cars kept toppling over, I encouraged him to keep trying.  Whenever it would fall and he would look sad and frustrated, it unexpectedly took me to this teaching opportunity – to teach him that it’s okay to fail and that things can change if you keep trying – even though I really just wanted to resolve the problem and ease his stress.

Trust me, there was more than one instance where I wanted to just balance the cars for him, but I resisted over and over again.  Instead, I would try it out, show him it was possible, then had him try himself.

He almost gave up, but I made sure he understood he could do it.  Then, guess what?

We live in a world that is obsessed with instant gratification, and it’s been a concern of mine for my children ever since Dominic showed up.  I realize that balancing cars isn’t anything revolutionary, but I want him to realize that true gratification comes from hard work and persistence.  I want him to realize that instant gratification is nice, but working hard towards long-term goals is even better.  You can get the $50 right now, or you can get the $5000 in 3 months.  I also want him to realize he doesn’t need my help with everything, but I want him to know that I will always, always be his cheerleader.  By letting him experience the frustration from trying to achieve his goal at this young age of learning, I hope the lesson of persistence continues to roll into similar experiences as he gets older.  What I know I’ll need as a mother is the patience and the wisdom to know when a moment is truly teachable.

To new challenges…

Do you do the same in your home?  What do you do to help make sure your child doesn’t settle for instant gratification?
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