Self control

Research is showing that self-control may play a tremendous role in a child’s future success.  Psychologists have done tests with children who could either have one marshmallow now, or two a little later – if they were able to wait. In later years, a follow-up study revealed that the children who were impulsive and ate the first marshmallow right away scored more than 200 points lower on their SATs than the impulse-controlled children who delayed gratification in order to get a second marshmallow. And the children who waited did better in school, were considered more dependable later on as adolescents, and better able to deal with stress and frustration.

Helping our kids learn the value of saying “no” to themselves while they’re still young might just help them achieve a greater measure of success in their adult life.

Success and marshmallows

Research is showing that self-control may play a tremendous role in a child’s future success.  Psychologists have done tests with children who could either have one marshmallow now, or two a little later – if they were able to wait. In later years, a follow-up study revealed that the children who were impulsive and ate the first marshmallow right away scored more than 200 points lower on their SATs than the impulse-controlled children who delayed gratification in order to get a second marshmallow. And the children who waited did better in school, were considered more dependable later on as adolescents, and better able to deal with stress and frustration.

Helping our kids learn the value of saying “no” to themselves while they’re still young might just help them achieve a greater measure of success in their adult life.

Making decisions

We pretty much make all decisions for our young children. But as they grow, we want to prepare them for making their own wise choices. For example, we’ll decide what sports our children will play at age six. When they’re nine, we may want to ask for their input. But by the time they reach the teen years, they need to determine the sports they want to play or not play. And while your children will still need your guidance, start giving them freedom in smaller things so they learn decision-making skills for the bigger ones.

Teaching your children to make wise decisions is easier if you and your spouse have mastered the technique yourselves.

Teaching the right attitude to your kids

Consider what author Charles Swindoll says about attitude: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is… more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do… The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”

Are you your worst problem?

In the 1930’s, when The Times of London asked Britain’s leading intellectuals what they thought was the biggest problem in the world, author G.K. Chesterton sent back a quick postcard response saying, “I am.”  He was on to something.

Too often we don’t take personal responsibility to say that we are the biggest problems in our marriage, with the way our kids behave, and with how poorly our job is going.  Instead, we look to point fingers. But real parents take responsibility for their actions and, when things aren’t going well, look in the mirror first. That kind of humility is what saves marriages, bonds kids to their parents, and promotes career advancement.

If you are your own biggest problem, you can work to make the right kinds of change.

Lead your heart

We hear it all the time… “follow your heart.”  It sounds romantic. It sounds good. But authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick, in their newest book, The Love Dare , say the problem with following your heart is that you are just chasing whatever feels right at the moment, even though it may not be right.  It means throwing caution to the wind and pursuing your latest whim, even though it may not be logical.  The Kendricks further note that “People forget that feelings and emotions are shallow, fickle, and unreliable.”  So instead of following your heart, lead your heart.
This is a great thing to teach your kids!

Raising your media standards

Ever heard this question around your house? When your kids want to watch or listen to something and you say “no,” they respond, “Well what’s wrong with it?”  Why not answer their question with this question: “Will watching or listening to this make you a better person?”  Many kids have a pretty low standard when it comes to media.  Encourage your children to start raising their standards and watch and listen to things that will build them up.