Four Reasons You Need to Teach Your Child Self-Control

Self-control is listed as a fruit of the spirit. We believe as a character quality, it is the most important one to teach your children. Here are four reasons why that is true!shutterstock_124513330

  1. It leads to a healthy self-image – for years self-image was a bit of a buzz word when it came to raising children. Everyone believed if we could improve a child’s self-image, then behavior and consequently success would follow. We certainly believe that to be true. However, it’s futile to work on your child’s self-image. After years of research the data proves what we have always believed. Self-image is a bi-product not a goal unto itself. The far better goal is to focus on improving self-control. Because as children’s self-control improves so does their self-image. It true with each of us as well. We feel best about ourselves when we are living out the principles we believe in!
  2. It increases our child’s opportunity to succeed. If you have never heard of the Marshmallow Experiment then take a minute and listen to this week’s video series.  The bottom line is this – kids that learned delayed gratification, out performed the kids who hadn’t in every measurable category. More importanty researchers noted that kids who were successful at delayed gratification did so by learning the art of distraction. So they weren’t necessarily stronger or tougher, they had simply learned to distract themselves; which is something any child can do. Delayed gratification is an important step towards self-control and a principle we’ve tried to teach our kids from an early age. Making them wait for things they want helps to instill this quality in them, especially if it’s accompanied by some explanation.
  3. It’s an important step on the road to self-governing – ultimately one of our main goals in raising our children (besides leading them to the Lord) is to teach them to be self-governing, in other words, the ability to govern their own actions. And if delayed gratification is a stepping stone to self-control… then self-control is a stepping stone to self-governing. Before they can become an adult capable of taking responsibility, our kids must first acquire some self-control.
  4. Living out the other character qualities requires this one. Think about it this way – if you teach your child to be honest, have integrity, be kind, and be a diligent worker – you’d be teaching your child some valuable lessons. But it’s easy for lessons like these to become simply information. Just because I understand what the character quality of honesty is, doesn’t mean I can live it out. Even if I know I should be kind, am I able to be kind in the face of frustration? Self-control is the glue. It’s the character quality that allows our children and us, to live the life we set out to live.

Make it a priority to teach self-control. When your child grows up they will be thankful for that character quality. It has so many side benefits. How do you teach self-control to your kids? Remember to check out our video series this month on self-control.