Let’s face it. Self control is not something you see displayed very often. Teaching your kids self-control is no easy task, especially when all around you, you see the opposite. What is the opposite of self-control, you ask? Well, it would be unrestraint.
Here’s the thing you need to realize as a parent. Teaching your kids self-control has to start early. I remember very clearly working on self-control over 2 areas when my boys were little: self-control over their emotions and self-control over their actions.
The opposite of having self-control over your emotions looks like this: Crying (not when they are hurt, obviously), screaming, stomping, whining.
The opposite of having self-control over your actions looks like this: Hitting, kicking, throwing things.
If your kids are showing these signs you know one thing for sure…the issue is not whatever is setting them off. The issue is the negative reaction towards what’s setting them off. And if you choose not to teach your kids how to have self-control over little things like not being able to get candy, about not getting their way, or about manipulating you? The stage will not pass. It will just show itself in different ways. And those ways are not pretty. Ever see a grown professional sports player show lack of self-control on the field? Over and over and over again. Why? Is the issue that the refs are all bad? Is the issue that the other team is mean? Or is the issue the lack of control on the player’s part? I think we know the answer.
Oh, and one more thing? It is not just about teaching this to your kids…I know that I have to discipline myself in this area in a pretty huge way as well!
It starts with Self-control over your thoughts. I can not even begin to tell you the ways God has been hammering me on this aspect. Taking my thoughts captive. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 is a passage that is pretty familiar, but one that I decided to commit to memory. My thoughts. Aye yai yai! Oh they come in like a vengeance and they threaten to control me. And I let them, so many times. You know what the weird thing is? It never feels good when I am letting them control me! But it is so hard to stop them once they come it.
Once you gain control over your thoughts, you start controlling your mouth. When you control your mouth, you can control your emotions and your actions.
It’s such a simple concept and such a not-so-simple thing to live out. Just today, I was faced with decisions on controlling my emotions on so many occasions, and the main thing that kept me from vaguebooking, was the fact that in the other tab open on my computer, I had this stinking blog post about The lost art of self-control! Come on now! That just ain’t right.
So my challenge to you as a parent of little ones? Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. If your daughter whines when she is upset? Correct her on that! Don’t wait until it gets to the lack of self-control which becomes throwing and kicking!
If your kids are older? It’s still the same thing. Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. If your son can’t handle a bad call from a referee? Correct him on that! Don’t wait until it gets to the point where he is yelling and swearing at the ref. (seriously..my husband is a ref and he has been on the wrong end of that one before!)
And if you are a human? It’s still the same thing. Start focusing on the root of the issue. Self control. (seeing a pattern here?!) If you feel your blood pressure rising when you get an email that upsets you? Don’t wait until it gets to the point where you are responding in a mean way, or lowering yourself to passive aggressive comments on your Facebook!
Let’s take care of the root issue. Let’s be men and women of character. And let’s raise a whole new generation of kids that learn how to have self control.
I think everyone will thank us for that!