Member question:

My 7 year old always has at least one meltdown while trying to do an online art class. She gets frustrated because what she is doing isn’t “right” or “perfect,” and says she can’t do it. She doesn’t want to stop though. She wants me to help her by drawing that part she’s stuck on. She is almost always pleased and happy at the end. Should I keep letting her do the art classes? I left her on her own to try today and she called me up to help her. The second time she called me up I had gone outside for a few minutes, and she was in such a meltdown that I actually thought she hurt herself. I told her I would give her a few minutes to calm down and then would help her, but she was able to calm down enough for me to help. Any advice would be great. Thanks.


Rachel’s response:

It is so hard to watch our kids melt down and say that they can’t do it!

To answer your questions, I do think you should keep letting her take the art classes, especially because she ultimately seems to enjoy them. (Perhaps that’s why she gets so upset when she feels she can’t do something.) I also think this is an opportunity for her to learn that she can feel frustrated and disappointed and have big feelings… and get through those feelings… and keep moving on. You don’t necessarily want to teach her when things get hard, you have big feelings and then stop doing the thing that was difficult.

If we’re being honest, their meltdowns often bother us more than they bother them — ESPECIALLY when we’re in Yuck!! (In those times it seems like there’s nothing worse in the world, am I right?!.)

You could talk to her proactively about how she can handle it differently when she faces something difficult in the class. Start in her world (listen to what it’s like for her in those instances) and then teach her other ways to deal with situations that come up. Then ask her how she’d like you to handle it when she’s so frustrated.