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vs. Self-Indulgence
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Check out the Just for Kids pages for an animal analogy and a biographic sketch
Tips for Parents in Teaching Self-Control
Parents - If you haven't already read the pages on "Developing Character in Your Children," you might want to go there first before reading these pages.
Self-control is often demonstrated in what a person does not do, rather than in overt actions. Therefore, it is more difficult to identify and praise your child's acts of self-control. It is important to sense that his hesitation to take part in an action that is questionable has probably come from using self-control and to praise the child for that. Every small act of praise on your part will help build the value of showing self-control in your child's thinking.

Teaching your child that his emotions or impulsive thoughts do not have to be obeyed is a key factor in developing self-control. You will be able to help him learn self control by teaching him that--

1. He has a will that can govern the desires, emotions and impulsive thoughts within him.
2. He can set long term goals that will override the momentary impulses that he might tend to follow.
3. He can step back and carefully consider whether his impulses will produce good results.
4. He can yield his desires and rights in order to defuse anger and frustration.
5. He can plan in advance the response he will make
in anticipated tough situations. (Perhaps you might
want to help him role play his response.)

As your child achieves small steps in self-control, he will grow in his ability to govern himself and gain self-confidence for future situations.
If your child shows poor self-control in a situation, why not have
him push a pretend "off' button. Discuss ways he could have shown self-control in that situation. Then push a pretend "on" button and let him role play actions and words that would demonstrate self-control.
To help your children practice using self-control at meal times, try having a special dinner each week with a favorite meal and special dessert. Set the table with an attractive setting. Talk about the basis of good manners--regarding the needs of others over oneself. Find a good resource for rules of manners and let the children practice them at this meal.

Little place cards, or folded index cards, can be made as reminders of various rules of manners, decorated in an attractive manner, and placed about the table.
Good Manners Require Self-control
Permission to use granted by Character First
Successful athletes have had to develop self-control. Perhaps your children would enjoy learning about the disciplines different athletes have learned to develop their skills throughly. Why not read biographies of some of these athletes together as a family?
Self-control in Athletics