Kids who have little self-control are up to three times more likely to become adults with poor health, financial difficulties, marital problems or a criminal record.
This is yet another study in which the results are self-evident. Let’s face it, people of all ages who simply act without thinking, who do not stop to consider the consequences of a behavior or who do whatever they feel like no matter what are certainly going to find themselves in jeopardy. They are more likely to make bad choices.
But, this study does remind us that we need to help our children to be kids with high levels of self-control. Now, you all know that this is easier with some kids than with others. Some kids are born risk-takers while their cohorts may be cautious. But whatever personality type, all kids deserve to learn how to control themselves, how to make good decisions and how to increase the likelihood of a successful and happy adulthood.
They need to learn patience. That means that you don’t always respond instantly to every request. Let’s say your two-year old is trying to get your attention while you are chatting with a neighbour. You can reach down to him, touch his arm and say, “just a minute darling’ and continue the conversation. Because he’s young, only make him wait a minute at most. Then turn to him and pay attention. As he gets older you can ask him to wait longer.
When children want a new toy, article of clothing or sports equipment don’t always provide it immediately. You might ask him to wait until next month when it will be his birthday or you work with him to save or earn money to get it himself. And if it’s just not affordable or necessary for him to have, bite the bullet and say no. Doing without something is not life threatening and does teach that kids they can’t have everything they want. That’s just not realistic. Waiting to get something or saving to get it, teaches kids that everything doesn’t come to them immediately.
And help them learn to assess the consequences of decisions. If young Simone decides to sleep in, then she will be late for school. It’s not up to you to save her; it’s up to you to let her learn that sleeping in has consequences. Later sit down with her and help her work through how she could handle mornings more effectively.
The task is to teach kids patience, have them wait to get things they want, allow them to deal with the consequences of bad decisions and help them learn how to think through their choices in order to make good decisions.
A Few Things Happening with Parenting Today
While you are reading this newsletter I am basking in the sun in Maui. I will be checking my email from time to time but mainly will be touring, golfing, visiting with friends and relaxing. Ahhh.
I’m planning on being in Calgary Alberta in the late winter or spring. Stay tuned for more information. The dates for this trip are still flexible so if you want to take advantage of the fact that I will in Alberta, just get in touch.
For those who plan way ahead I will be in Washington state and Oregon in June 2011 and in Ontario and New England in late September and early October of 2011.
Contact me and let me know whether you would like a Beyond Childcare presentation, a speaker for a parent conference or professional development workshop. I look forward to hearing from you.