Today’s culture undermines self-control.your child seems to have no concept of self-restraint. If he sees something he wants, he wants it now! If he gets angry, he sometimes lashes out. ‘Is this normal behavior for a child?’ you wonder. ‘Is it just a phase that he will outgrow, or is it the time for me to teach him self-control?’
Below are practical things you can do to help you children cultivate self-contro
Set the example. How are you at showing self-control? Does your child see you lose your temper in a traffic jam, cut in line at the store, or interrupt others in conversation? “The most straightforward way to help our children develop self-control is to exhibit it ourselves.
Teach your child about consequences. In a manner appropriate for his age, help your child see that there are benefits to resisting his urges and a price to pay for giving in to them. For example, if your child is angry over being mistreated by someone, help him to stop and ask himself: ‘Will retaliation help or hurt? Is there a better way to deal with the situation—perhaps counting to ten and allowing the anger to subside? Would it be better just to walk away?
Create incentive. Praise your child when he displays self-control. Let him know that it may not always be easy to suppress his urges but that it is a sign of strength when he does so! In contrast,
Practice. Create a role-playing game called “What Would You Do?” or “Good Choices, Bad Choices” or something similar. Discuss potential scenarios and act out possible reactions, labeling them either “good” or “bad.” Get creative: If you like, use puppets, drawings, or another method to make the activity enjoyable as well as informative. Your goal is to help your child realize that having self-control is better than being impulsive.
Be patient. Do not expect your child to develop self-control overnight. This is a long, slow process with forward progress, meltdowns, and more progress. The effort, however, is worthwhile. The child who can hold off and is in a much better position to hold off on drugs at twelve or sex at fourteen.”