Teaching Kids Self-Control – MBFLP 207

This episode we deal with a perennial problem in parenting – how in the world do we teach our kids self-control? The entertainment and collegiate culture may celebrate raw emotion and thoughtless self-expression – if it’s “authentic” it’s immune from criticism – but the Bible says differently. What’s more, every parent knows that what you might laugh about when they’re two, can wreck their lives when they’re twenty … and make your home intolerable when they’re sixteen. So what can we do to start – and continue – teaching the critical habit of self-control?


 

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Hal and Melanie Young
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What Does the Bible Tell Us?

The Scriptures warn against being led by our impulses and appetites. The Proverbs are full of warnings about the outcome of anger, drunkenness, laziness, gluttony, lust … TLDR, it doesn’t end well for the person “whose god is their belly, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:21-22 list “self-control” alongside love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, as a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in someone. That says it’s important, and it also should encourage us to pray for it – for our children and ourselves!

Our children are our disciples and they learn from our example … whether good or bad, and as Jesus said, “everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV).  That should encourage us to try to be the kind of persons we want our kids to become.

Some Practical Ideas

Feelings are real but they may not be accurate. The Lord tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things …” (Jeremiah 17:9) so we can’t trust every feeling that comes up.  Talk with your kids about what they’re feeling and why they think that is. Help them discover whether there’s really a reason to feel so angry or weepy or fearful.

Realize there are times when they really can’t control their emotions.  The pre-teen years are so filled with hormones, it is nearly impossible for the young adolescent to handle them. When they’re in an emotional storm, you may need to comfort and calm them before you can have a rational conversation again. This will pass; when they settle down, it’s good to have that discussion with them.

Help them see that self-control (and self-discipline) offers many rewards. A child who can keep his temper or his tears in check is not as likely to be bullied. If they learn to rein in emotional outbursts and blurted observations, they can save themselves a lot of embarrassment and apologies. And learning to defer their immediate desires in order to finish a task or reach toward a goal will be great preparation for a useful adulthood.

Encourage them to reach up to adult roles early. When ours are 12- or 13 years old, we make a formal transition – they’re no longer “little kids” but now “young adults, in training.” We encourage them to take more responsibility for themselves and contribute more to the work around the house – with more freedom and privilege granted as they take on more responsibility. And our parenting has to transition from “direction” to “advice” as they mature – we want to them to be ready to step into full, independent adulthood sooner rather than later, and that means a lot of coaching and advice to get them prepared.

Teaching Self-Control is a Long Process

It starts as soon as you teach them to dress themselves, go to the potty, and come when you call. It won’t end until they’re fully capable and on their own! But as they grow up, keep the goal in mind – a fully matured, self-disciplined, responsible man or woman after all those years of discipleship. With that goal ahead, you’ll be ready to capitalize on every opportunity to encourage and guide them.

 

Self-Discipline – FREEDOM Tools part 4 – FAH episode 17

Self-Discipline

Discipline—self-discipline, that is—is the fifth tool in my FREEDOM toolbox—7 tools for making the most of our time so we can live balanced, peaceful lives. Here’s a quick overview of the tools:

Self-discipline is a major factor in how you exercise stewardship over the gifts and responsibilities God has given you—including how you manage your time. It’s the tool you use to implement the priorities that you’ve decided to focus on and to eliminate the time-consuming clutter that gets in the way of your goals.

In episode 11 of the “Flourish At Home” show, we talked about setting goals for focusing on your priorities in three major areas: (1) personal, (2) family, and (3) business. Those three categories are also helpful for considering the areas where you need to exercise self-discipline.

Personal

Self-discipline helps you avoid the false guilt that moms often suffer when you take care of yourself wisely and avoid the true guilt that comes with self-indulgence and laziness.

To be able to handle all of your responsibilities, it’s essential to make time for personal rest, renewal, and recreation. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and drinking plenty of water.

Another personal area that requires self-discipline is managing your attitudes and emotions. Work hard to overcome fear, perfectionism, discontentment, self-righteousness, and negativity. If this is a tough challenge for you, episode 9 goes into greater detail on how to honor God with your thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as well as your actions.

Family

Freedom and flexibility are wonderful benefits of homeschooling, but you have to be careful not to abuse that freedom. Whatever your state’s regulations on homeschooling, you are accountable to God for how you train and educate your children.

It’s also important to train your children to become increasingly self-disciplined as they grow older. Learning good habits such as diligence, obedience, responsibility, and promptness will help them throughout their lives.

Business

Self-discipline is essential for entrepreneurs. After all, freedom to do things your own way, on your own schedule, is a major benefit of having your own business. Without the built-in accountability of reporting to an employer, you must be diligent to work hard and honor your commitments to your customers and clients.

If you want struggle with managing your time and disciplining yourself to focus on yoru priorities, you’ll find many more helpful strategies, along with encouragement and inspiration, in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms. It’s available on my blog at www.FlourishAtHome.com.

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