There are few better teachers than frustration

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

This is a guest post by Dave at Folkabout Baby.

When your baby first tries anything, whether it’s crawling, walking, or talking, they won’t be very good at it. It’s a given.

 

This, of course, is frustrating to them. They won’t be happy when they can’t do something, and their first reaction will be to cry about it.

 

But should you always intervene?

 

Now, I often advocate that you should always answer your child’s cries promptly, since you want them to build an understanding that the world is a positive, supportive place.

 

If your child is frustrated, though, it’s better to let them cry through it and try to figure it out.

 

When you leave them to get through the frustration on their own, you’re giving them an excellent chance to learn exactly what it is they’ve been struggling to do.

 

Let’s say your little one is trying to pull themselves up to standing next to the coffee table.

 

If you intervene, picking them up and putting them on their feet, you’re denying them the opportunity to learn how to do it on their own.

 

It’s difficult to listen to your child’s cries. I know from experience how hard it is, and it never gets easier.

 

It’s worth it, though, since your child is building confidence, independence, and skills.

 

Frustration might upset them, but it will also help them grow.

 

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

 


 

Dave Higgs-Vis is a father, a husband, a blogger, and a chef. If you enjoyed this post, you can find more like it at Folkabout Baby, a parenting blog dedicated to helping you to become a better parent and raise happier children. He’s also on Twitter as @FolkaboutBaby.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 OneMommy August 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

So true, and probably why our second child is slower at things… His big sister can’t stand to see him cry! lol.

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2 Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby August 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Aww, I’d never thought about that. That’s so sweet of your little one!
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3 Lana @ Dentist West Hollywood August 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I don’t have any little ones of my own yet, but my sister does this with her nieces and nephews and (even though it IS next to impossible to just sit there and let them cry) I have to admit that it works pretty well!

Lana

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4 Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby August 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Listening to them cry is definitely the hard part, but it’s worth it!
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5 Anna@Cosmetic Dentistry August 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm

As a mother of 3 I agree with you to the last word although it is not easy listening to (my baby, no, no baby any more, I mean) my toddler cry and I often fail, but I have my principals at least :).
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6 Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby August 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm

It’s all about balance, isn’t it?

We hate to hear them cry, but we want to see them grow. Finding the middle way is one of the challenges of being a parent.
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7 Helen McGraw August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I agree with everything you say but I suppose it also depends on the child. I made a point of letting my own children cry for a short time and they would nearly always stop on their own. If they didn’t then I quickly went to find out what was wrong. I also found that the sound of crying out of frustration was quite different from crying because they really needed attention.
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8 Dave Higgs-Vis@Folkabout Baby August 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I totally agree with you. It’s important to be able to distinguish your child’s different cries.

If you pay enough attention, though, it’s not too hard to tell a frustrated cry from an I-need-attention-for-real cry.
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9 Bob Lipply@clearwater homes September 28, 2011 at 8:33 am

True, since they cannot communicate with us like adults we have to listen and observe with care. They don’t have the strength, on the other hand, they cannot tell us either so definitely it’ll frustrate them but we as matured people should take care of them instead of getting frustrated like them.

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