Ask yourself if your child’s reaction gets him or her into trouble, say at school, or with friends. Or is the real problem your worry about his or her future possible perfectionism -- and concerns about the stormy emotional reaction?
There are different approaches, depending on where the problem lies. If the child’s emotional reactions do get him into trouble, talk with him about what to do with his feelings, instead of breaking down. Make sure he knows that his feelings are always okay, but it’s how we handle them that matters. Make a plan ahead of time, when he’s feeling good. Practice some things that he can do instead: take three deep breaths (practice with him and you can make it a silly game). Help him find words for his frustration, like "I wish I could do it right! It makes me so mad!"
If he’s doing well and it’s really more about your worries, remember, he’s young. You might want to observe his classroom; I’ll bet there are a couple of other kids in his class who are similar. You might even ask his teacher about it; they have lots of experience in dealing with all sorts of kids, and often have insights that we as parents don’t.
His perfectionism can really be an asset. Help him channel his energies into being productive and successful at what he loves.
More Answers from Heather Wittenberg, PhD