The big 8
GETTING YOUR KIDS TO HAVE MORE SELF CONTROL with the BIG 8…
For parents, there is not one infallible way to teach children self-control. The good news is there
are plenty of methods that can be utilized. In the process, kids may also relinquish a lot of the
pressure they put on themselves. Here is a closer look at some simple ways that can build self-
control in children.
1. Focus on the good
It is easy to critique children on their bad habits. However, practicing good habits brings positive
results. So why not cultivate those good habits? Don’t just take for granted those moments when
your children complete their homework, clean their room or mind their manners. Positive
reinforcement of these good habits is a way to build a child’s confidence which helps immensely
with their self-control.
2. Set limits and maintain them
After a long day of work, it may be easy to overlook some elements of bad behavior among your
children. But keep in mind that children are very aware when they get away with something. And
if you do not correct them when they misbehave, even if it is a minor infraction, it allows them to
push their limits. That could lead them to let loose of a little more self-control and try to extend
the limits of what they can get away with.
3. Get in a routine
Not every day has to be an exact replica, although it is good to develop a routine. After dinner,
your child may need to clean up. After that, maybe they take a bath. Then, they continue with the
rest of their routine that precedes bedtime. Developing a routine builds structure and, over time,
children will complete this routine without having to be told. It is a way of self-regulating their
4. Explain why
There’s no reason you should avoid explaining why rules are intact. Younger children cannot run
out in the street because it’s dangerous. Older children cannot stay up all night because their
bodies need sleep. Explaining the reasoning behind such actions teaches children about
consequence. And the reality of consequence is something that helps maintain self-control.
5. Avoid procrastination and laziness
Children emulate what they see. If they see you spending all day watching tv or playing on the
computer, this could lead them to believe this is the norm. That could mean they might also start
procrastinating and neglecting their responsibilities. It’s easy to lounge around and do nothing
instead of doing chores. If kids see parents being lazy, they will eventually follow that lead. That
laziness could easily be infused in their self-control.
6. Mind your temper
It’s normal for kids to have outburst as many are unable to regulate and even understand their
emotions. Consequently, parents who show visible anger or irritation sets a poor example. If
another car cuts you off, swallow your anger and refrain from shouting. If you suddenly forget
that you left your work report at the office, don’t shout an expletive and curse the day. This is
essentially a lapse in your own self-control and not a good example to set.
7. Second chances
In instances when your child has lost his/her self-control, it’s a good idea to give them a chance
for redemption. After calmly explaining what went wrong, give kids a second chance. Many will
revel in the second opportunity while simultaneously learning a lesson.
8. Avoid lectures
Kids who lose control in a situation are typically not the best audience for a lecture. You can
succinctly explain what they did wrong without going into an elongated speech. Instructive
action is a much better remedy than a long-winded speech, which is probably going to be lost on
your child anyway.
These may be some simple obvious things, but as a parent, many times we need that outside
influence reminding us and supporting us to be consistent. In fact, here is a BONUS….
9. Seek Out a Support System
Get your Kids involved in a program or sport that has coaches or mentors that mirror your same
values and parenting style. One of the Best places that supports parents in having their kids learn
and grow stronger, is Kids Martial Arts. Why? Because it has the elements of both an individual
sport, as well as a team sport. And it’s not just about the sport, it’s more about personal
Now is the time to make a decision and put all of the above into play. Seeing your kids struggle
with frustration is not fun, and while doing some of the above is work, in the long run your kids
will learn how to positively manage their doubts, fears and frustrations… Powerful ability to
have for any person, young or old.