Our children cannot grow up in this world without knowing how to control their impulses. The world will often not be kind to them, so exercising a little control will go a long towards their survival. Parents must teach/explain to children the importance of control over their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits. All of them must be kept in check.
Self-control/Self-discipline in all areas of our lives, can be expressed in a variety of ways and when practiced, helps us:
- avoid acting rashly and on impulse.
- resist distractions or temptations
- fulfill promises you make to yourself and to others
- not to giving up, despite failure and setbacks.
- overcome laziness and procrastination.
- continue working on a project, even after the initial rush of enthusiasm has faded away.
- go to the gym, walk or swim, even if our mind tells us to stay at home and watch TV.
- be accountable
- overcome the habit of watching too much TV.
- to be unselfish
- to persevere, etc.
This essential skill (self-discipline) for every area of our lives, must become a part of our daily instruction to our children. We must explicitly show them what it means to be in control of oneself, giving examples and non-examples.
Examples of Having Self-Control:
- waking up early to go to school time
- doing all your homework and turning it on time
- not eating all the cookies in the container, leaving some for others
- allowing others to practice a game you are good at
- motivating yourself and meet your goals
- acting respectfully towards others
- doing things without being reminded you need to do them
- prioritizing things that needs to be done in a day so as to get them done
- Pushing people out of your way in a crowd
- Not exercising
- Not turning in schoolwork to the teacher on time
- Eating all the candy in the container
- Not doing what you say you will do
- not controlling your impulses
- not think before you act
- not studying but going out and play instead
- placing your dirty feet on the chair where others need to sit
- leaving your garbage for others to clean up
Teaching self-discipline to children is not about denying them any “fun” they think they may miss out on. It’s about learning how to persevere with decisions and plans until you accomplish them. It’s about children learning about inner strength that will help them to overcome addictions, procrastination and laziness. Their happiness and success is the end result, and they will feel better overall about who they are as a human being.
Now let’s go out and teach our kids how to be disciplined citizens, and don’t forget to lead by example. Share the results of your practice with others.