Monday, September 26, 2005


Self-control is one of those fruits of the spirit that touches everything in our life. It touches what we say, what we do and how we do it. Webster's defines self-control as “restraint excercised over one's own implulses, emotions or desires.” Learning self-control is a life long exercise but we can begin introducing the topic while our children are young. Self-control techniques can really help during those tumultuous pre-school years. My four year old daughter gets told to exercise self-control daily if not hourly over the dramatics she presents us with. This is a very practical lesson to teach to your young (or old) ones that will serve them well all the days of their life.

Idea one: Titus 2:6 says, “... encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity and seriousness.” Many times as parents we dismiss behaviour's that are 'out of control' because they are too young to understand or because that's what two year olds do. I believe that we need to set a standard for our children and even though they might not always achieve it, the standard needs to stay the same. As parents, sit down and dicuss what standards you have for your children, particularly in self-control. For instance, we don't allow temper tantrums. They have the choice of either gaining self-control or going to their rooms. Once your standards are set, sit down with your children and tell them what your home standard's are. With young children you might say, “Mommy and Daddy will not allow you to yell, kick or scream, do you understand? If you choose to do that you may go to room.” Your child (you may have to prompt them) needs to be able to repeat back to you what you just said, so that you know they understand. As a side note, be sure you are not treating frustration tantrums (“I know this block tower goes together, but I can't do it.”) and temper tantrums (“I'm not going to bed and you can't make me!”) the same. In both situations, the child needs to gain self-control but their motives are different.

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