Self-control is the first step to self-discipline. It’s important for those who want to become successful in life. Children need to be taught the value of self-discipline from an early age. Every time your child accepts a limit that set by you, they are practicing self-control.
Developing self-control can be a lifelong process for some. By learning self-control at a young age, children can respond to stressful situations in ways that yield positive outcomes. To help your child develop self-control, follow these 7 steps:
1. Practice what you preach. Managing your emotions in front of your children is very important. Remember that your actions send a clear message to your children about how to deal with various situations in life. If you are calm during stressful situations your child will also learn to be calm. Compassion is another thing children learn from their parents.
2. The foundation of any relationship is trust. Parents need to be responsive to their children’s needs to foster trust. When a baby is fed it understands that food will come. Soothing your child will help him regulate his emotions. You will also teach him how to soothe himself, and give him a feeling of safety and acceptance.
3. Developing the brain is an important step. Children cannot resist grabbing whatever comes in front of them. They also have very little idea about what is good or bad. Parents have to develop that understanding in them. This is a long process that takes a lot of practice. The brain’s development takes place in many ways. Reading a wide variety of books, sports, art, etc. are excellent ways to develop a child’s mind.
4. Keep practicing. A child needs to understand how to prioritize. They will want one thing, but there will be another thing that they want more. They need to understand that they cannot always get what they want. Giving them a choice between two things will help them understand the importance of making decisions. They will be able to associate it with self-discipline. Remember that it has to be the child’s decision. When they are forced to give something up, they are not practicing self-discipline. If they are not given the chance to choose between two alternatives, they cannot practice controlling themselves.
5. Punishment doesn’t encourage self-discipline. The right kind of limits give children practice in self-discipline. If the child isn’t choosing to stop what they were doing; they are being forced. In this case the child doesn’t feel the need to stop himself. The point is to motivate them to discipline themselves, and not punishing them.
6. Patience is an essential step. Patience is a virtue, and most find it very difficult to be patient in difficult situations. Every time we exercise self-control, we build our ability to draw on it to meet our goals. You cannot expect your child to be patient when he is young. It’s something that they develop gradually. If you’re asking them to be patient, then make sure that the amount of time they have to wait coincides with their ability to wait patiently or they would resort to screaming to get what they want instead of learning self-control. Don’t be impatient, and yell at your child to wait. They will see it as punishment.
7. Children learn self-control on their own too. Do not underestimate your child. They can develop self-control when they’re motivated by something important to them. Playing with other children requires them to manage their emotions. Cooking or baking teaches them to wait till the food is ready and not put it in their mouth when it is hot. Playing their favorite game helps them understand that they need to practice in order to get good at it.
Every time children have to manage themselves, they learn a strategy that helps them in the future. Teaching children self-control is about teaching them to regulate their emotions, which allows them to regulate their thoughts and behaviour.