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
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
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
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
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
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