Frustration tolerance and management vary from person to person. Some people experience intense feelings of frustration in certain situations or with certain people but are able to work through the frustration and keep calm. Others might have a more difficult time exerting inhibitory control in these situations and react impulsively in ways that they later regret. There are even people who are completely unphased, able to easily brush off things that could or should be frustrating to others.
Experiencing a bit of frustration can be useful in building resilience and patience. It helps the brain and body learn how to navigate and adapt to difficult situations. Oftentimes, however, children do not yet have the skills and ability to appropriately manage their frustration. When this happens, kids who struggle with low frustration tolerance often express their feelings through tantrums, outbursts, and meltdowns.
It is not unusual for children younger than 4 to have as many as nine tantrums per week, with episodes of crying, kicking, stomping, hitting, and pushing that last ﬁve to 10 minutes (Yale Medicine, 2019). However, if this difficult behavior when faced with frustration continues as a child gets older and causes problems with peers, family, or at school, it may be helpful to talk with a professional about potential options for additional support.
Mightier can help children manage frustration
Mightier helps children who are experiencing low frustration tolerance improve emotion regulation by teaching their brain and body to respond differently when they feel increased emotion. Mightier utilizes the process of repetitive calming during gameplay. This helps children develop the ability to maintain emotional control from the start, return to a state of calm more automatically, and think and communicate more clearly despite stressful situations in real life.
Families who use Mightier report observing their child taking deep breaths when upset, calming down more naturally, managing frustrations better than before, and interacting in a more positive way with family members and peers.
Adults can help make Mightier even more impactful for children with low frustration tolerance
Playing Mightier on a regular basis, outside of moments of frustration, is key to strengthening a child’s ability to better manage frustration in a way that will translate to real-life situations. There are also additional strategies that families can implement to make Mightier even more applicable to a child’s real-world frustrations. By talking about Mightier and making connections between Mightier and real-world situations, parents can help their kids get the most out of the program. This includes conversations about how frustration works in the body, causing heart rate to rise and physiologically activate a ﬁght or ﬂight response. Caregivers can also explain how Mightier helps teach kids to lower their heart rate using deep breathing and other calming skills.
Families have found it helpful to work with their children on identifying potential triggers for frustration, and pairing Mightier play to triggering situations when possible. For example, some parents have their kids play Mightier before school as it allows the child to strengthen their calming abilities ﬁrst thing in the morning. For kids who feel easily frustrated with peers or siblings, playing Mightier before or after these interactions can be beneficial.
Integrating Mightier into a child’s care system can also be very helpful. The concept of how Mightier works and its unique and gamiﬁed vocabulary for emotions create easier and more comfortable ways for children to talk about emotions and coping skills. By sharing Mightier with a child’s teacher, therapist, or doctor, care providers can ﬁnd a consistent and common language across settings.
Mightier supports children who struggle with low frustration tolerance and helps them feel empowered
Many kids struggle with traditional therapeutic modalities that involve an authority ﬁgure (e.g. a parent, a teacher, or a therapist.) Mightier is an opportunity for kids to practice emotional regulation in a self-directed way. Through emotion regulation play, children are able to practice and ﬁnd success on their own terms.
Yale Medicine. (2019). Anger, irritability and aggression in kids. Yale Medicine. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/anger-issues-in-children-and-teens.