Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Importance of Self Control

In our society, "self control" has fallen out of favor.  We seem to glorify it's opposing quality "immediate gratification".  But the reality is that people who possess the former have an easier time navigating this complicated thing called life, and over time find more success.

Some people believe we are either born with self control tendencies or we are not.  And depending on where you land, that is where you will stay.  This is a fallacy.  So what does this have to do with parenting?  It really is quite simple:

If you want your children to have an easier life, teach them self control.  It can be taught.  It can be developed within them through experiences.  And who better to teach it to them, than you.  Don't you want the best for them?  Then set them on the right path, through thoughtful parenting that establishes goals and expectations.   Help them grow their self control, whether or not they were born with it.  It can be taught!

In the long term, people with self control have lower rates of risky behaviors, have less debt, lead more healthy lifestyles, and on and on and on.  This all is common sense when you consider that self control means the ability to WAIT.  Self control means being able to delay gratification for a future goal.

The easiest ways to derail efforts to teach self control to you children are to play the blame game or the give up strategy.  When your children find things to be difficult, do you immediately look for a scape goat?  "You don't like soccer? Oh, I know your coach is a jerk!"  "You don't want to go to school? Your teacher doesn't seem to like you."  Blaming outsiders to justify giving up, is a surefire way to derail learning self control.  And parents do it all the time.  Look at your behavior and make sure that you are doing everything in your power to strengthen your child's self control, by modeling it yourself and refusing to play the blame game.  In the long run, this will greatly benefit the development of your children.

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