All children need to be taught self-control, along with the consequences of their actions if they don’t restrain their own desires, impulses, or emotions. Taking a moment to pause and consider their actions is a learned behavior that will help children throughout their lives.
Why Self-Control Is Important
Learning how to control one’s own impulses allows children to get along better with their classmates, teachers, and parents. Self-control is a skill that will follow children throughout their lives, helping them get along with others and not do the first thing that pops into their heads. Without exhibiting self- control, adults often end up in trouble, or even in jail.
Helping children learn self-discipline by encouraging their good behaviors can also help them learn self-control. Set limits to help them learn self-discipline, such as having a set bedtime and sticking with it. If parents and teachers demonstrate consistency with what they ask children to do, there will be less frustration, because children will know what’s expected of them. Without these expectations, children may not learn self-control skills.
How to Teach Children Self-Control
Self-control is a behavior most children can be taught. There are children who can’t learn this behavior due to disabilities, but most kids do well when they’re taught how to take a moment to think about their actions before reacting to a situation. The best way to teach this behavior is to model it for children.
When a teacher, parent, or other adult becomes frustrated or angry, he or she needs to take a moment before reacting. Instead of yelling, using harsh language, or even physically reacting to a situation, if an adult can show self-control when in a super-charged emotional state, this subsequently demonstrates to children how to react appropriately to volatile situations.
If a teacher or parent sees a situation in which a child may jump to react to something verbally or physically, he or she can help that child by teaching them to breathe deeply and inwardly consider the consequences of their reactions to a situation. Getting children involved with activities that teach self-discipline is also a good way to teach self- control.
Personal space is important for any individual. Children, however, often don’t have an understanding of the concept, or how uncomfortable people can become when their personal space is “invaded.” As a parent, you can teach them how to respect the personal space of their peers, family members, and other adults in their lives. By stressing the importance of a personal bubble and encouraging a child to respect the space of everyone around them, you’ll be able to ensure they avoid conflict in difficult situations where people feel their personal space is being violated.
Creating a Personal Bubble around Yourself
When a child lacks respect for personal space in the middle of a task, employ the “bubble theory.” This means you put up an invisible bubble of a certain size around yourself, and ask your child to respect that space. If your child disagrees at first, make the space farther and farther away. If they continue to resist, send them to their room or use another method of discipline. After a few repeated efforts of this, begin to offer your child small rewards if they respect your space when you ask. A code word when they are becoming too close to others is also important; something familiar, like “personal bubble,” will help your child remember the need for people’s personal space.
Rewarding a Child for Continually Respecting Others’ Space
If you go a long period of time without having to tell your child when to respect the space of others, it’s likely that the message has sunk in enough to become habitual. Reward them for having remembered this behavior, and encourage them to continue practicing it as much as possible while reminding your child that hugs and kisses are still okay.
Many children in their developmental stages will shy away from following directions and listening. It’s a natural reaction; children don’t want to be told what to do, because the world is so fresh and new. However, it’s important that, as a parent, you understand the necessity for developing these skills at an early age. If your child chooses not to listen to your directions, they may do the same in school and continue to do so for the rest of their life. By instilling a sense of importance and urgency around following directions and listening effectively, you can help your child come to understand why it’s so important to you and the rest of the family.
When a Child Doesn’t Listen, Employ Defensive Strategies
Let’s say your child throws a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store and won’t stop screaming. As a parent, would you leave the store with your child immediately, or give them what they want? Many parents would choose the latter simply to make their child be quiet. This is not the optimal choice for teaching children how to listen and follow directions in the long run! Gentle but firm is the prescription for these situations.
Just because you think it’s okay this one time, it isn’t — your child will automatically resort to crying and fits to get what they want from that point forward. It is far better to experience the momentary discomfort than set this pattern up for future repetition.
Listening Is Just as Important as Following Directions
Helping your child become a better listener is the second step. When you tell them to do something and they give you an attitude, have them repeat your first direction. If they still refuse to listen, you might have to resort to disciplinary action.
When negative emotion is affecting your child, you’ll be able to tell through a series of behaviors or mannerisms displayed. In order to sway your child from being overly worried and letting that worry translate into their daily life, you need to consider a variety of different factors that may have lead to the initial trigger. By talking with your child and helping them understand that you are always there to help, you’ll create a safe and friendly environment where they feel they can express their worries, no matter what they are.
Childhood Stress vs. Adulthood Stress
When worry affects a child, it’s a very different situation from when it affects an adult. Worry can translate into your child shutting down or behaving in a way that you’re not used to. Although it may be a shock at first, you always have to remember that just because your child appears to have changed drastically doesn’t mean they’re a completely different person now. Sometimes, tragedy, bullying, or loss – or even your own problems at home – can bring out a great deal of anxiety and worry in your child. As a parent, you can help them understand these feelings and talk over anything you can do to help curb their stress.
Lasting Effects of Stress
When it comes to worry in a child, the effects, if left untreated, can carry on or be buried within them for years. If your child doesn’t know how to deal with stress or doesn’t understand that they can turn to you in times of need, they may be more likely in the future to let worry build up until it explodes as aggression or another type of negative emotion or behavior. You must maintain a dialogue when you sense your child is troubled, no matter how hard it may be even for you at the time. It’s important not to be selfish in situations that affect a whole family, which cause worry. Children are more impacted in the long term than you are.
Bulying is a major problem in many schools around the world. It has been around for years, and is often a very difficult problem for teachers and parents to solve. Teasing can be a very natural part of any child’s experience at school, whether they are on the giving or receiving end. If you find out that your child is teasing other kinds at school, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t turn into something more serious. By addressing the teasing head on, you can help your child see the error of their ways and prevent these behaviors in the future.
Teasing at Home
Many children tease their siblings or others at home as a result of some sort of peer pressure. This is more applicable in a school setting, where a child will want to fit in and, to do so, will point out differences in someone else to put them down. Even the gentlest teasing can hurt another child in ways you couldn’t imagine. If your household is often filled with both you, your spouse, and your other children/family members teasing one another, this behavior may not translate well outside the home. Be careful about the types of language and behavior your child could pick up at home.
Behind the Teasing
Children also tease others to gain attention or deal with stress they feel in other parts of their lives. By consulting with teachers and other adults who are involved with your child during the day, you’ll be able to get an accurate assessment of what’s really going on. Just because you don’t think there are problems at home doesn’t mean there isn’t an underlying factor you haven’t considered. Be open and questioning about yourself when you learn that your child’s teasing has somehow led to bullying.