If Your Child Lacks Initiative…

I was talking to parents last week about their 11-year-old who seems to lack motivation in school and at home. He’ll start his homework and leave it after a few questions. Or, he’ll put off writing a paper until the very last minute, even though his mom has been bugging him to write the darn paper all week! 

He plays his games and plays with his friends, and gets fine grades at school without trying too hard. He’ll do his chores sometimes, but only halfway if at all. When his parents push him to put in effort, he backs away. 

It’s been creating stress in the house, because it feels to his parents like he’s just not trying. His parents suspect that there’s something deeper happening, but they can’t see what it is.  

After some deeper questioning, we were able to pin down that it’s likely that their son lacks systems for building up his own sense of frustration tolerance.

Frustration tolerance is the ability to keep going when something gets hard, and the ability to start when something feels like it will be hard. 

There are full systems to build up your child’s sense of frustration tolerance. Frustration tolerance is a cycle, and, as you can see in this diagram, the parents’ role is all about helping in the in-between spots.

frustration tolerance diagram

Does your child/tween need to think about building up their own sense of frustration tolerance?

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