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.

Discipline decisions

In his book The Strong Willed Child, Dr. James Dobson answered the following question:

“My three-year-old daughter, Nancy, plays unpleasant games with me in grocery stores.  She runs when I call her and makes demands for candy and gum and cupcakes. When I refuse, she throws the most embarrassing temper tantrums you can imagine. I don’t want to punish her in front of all those people and she knows it. What should I do?”

Dobson said, “If there are sanctuaries where the usual rules and restrictions do not apply, then your children will behave differently in those protected zones than elsewhere.  I would suggest you have a talk with Nancy on the next trip to the market. Tell her exactly what you expect, and make it clear you mean business. Then when the same behavior occurs, take her to the car or behind the building and do what you would have done at home. She’ll get the message.”

Rebellion comes from permissive parenting

In his book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours, Dr. Kevin Leman writes: “The permissive parent essentially says, ‘Oh, do your own thing. Whatever you want is ok.’  My years of counseling parents and children have shown me that in a permissive environment, kids rebel. They rebel because they feel anger and hatred toward their parents for a lack of guidelines and limit setting.”

Children, even when they protest, want to know their boundaries. Make sure you set them. Give your kids some flexibility and freedom within the boundaries, but clearly set up the markers and enforce them.

What do your children need?

Author Jay Strack says children need four things.  First, they need a model…someone to say, “Here’s how we do it.” and then shows them how by example.  Our children sometimes learn more from what’s caught than taught.  Second, they need a mentor… someone to share wisdom and experiences with them… a guide by their side.  Third, they need a motivator… someone to say, “You can do it!”… someone to encourage them.  Fourth, they need a monitor… someone to keep an eye on them… someone who always knows who they’re with, what they’re doing and where they’re going.  Meet your children’s needs and watch them flourish.

Your children and bamboo

Did you know that there is a certain type of bamboo in Japan that only flowers once every 120 years?  It’s certainly puzzling how this plant can keep track of time, but everything that happens in the 119 years before it germinates will determine how much the bamboo will bloom. And that’s a long time to wait to see the results.

In the same way, children don’t always blossom on your timetable. The love, discipline and instruction you pour into their lives cannot be immediately seen. Your job as a parent is to prune and nourish your children in anticipation of their blooming. And once they do, you’ll see them grow rapidly into patient, loving and consistent people. So be encouraged, the latest bloomers often produce the most striking and beautiful flowers.

Lessen the exposure to TV

Too much TV can have a profoundly negative effect on your children’s developing minds, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Their findings show that higher levels of television viewing correlate with lower levels of academic performance; that the nature of TV stimulus may predispose some children to attention problems; and that mindless television shows may slow the development of the areas of the brain responsible for self control, moral judgment and attention.

This means that too much TV can cause physical changes in your kid’s brain!  And this should worry any caring parent. So if your children are watching too much television, turn it off.  Hand them a book, and by doing so, you will turn on their minds.

How do you respond to “No”?

We’re conditioned to react negatively to the word “no.” We don’t like to hear it… and we don’t like to say it. We thrive on saying yes to ourselves – to our own wants and desires – to a new car, the latest gadget, an expensive vacation.  So why are we surprised when our kids expect instant gratification.

If we can’t say “no” to ourselves, how will they learn to say “no” to themselves and realize the rewards of patience and self-discipline?