Self-discipline can help a child to resist temptations that aren’t healthy, endure the uncomfortable feeling associated with trying to achieve goals, and delay gratification. A child who learns self-discipline early on thanks his parents later.
You may not hear it from their mouth, but you will see the success it brings.
The best way to teach your child self-discipline is by consistently setting reasonable and attainable expectations for them through consistent communication and reinforcement that help shape positive behavior.
How can you teach your children the value of self-discipline? These tips can help:
1. Build the behavior into a structure or routine. According to studies, routines help to instill self-control in children. A pattern that becomes firmly fixed forms a habit.
- If a child is responsible for setting the table or doing the dishes, it helps develop that responsibility into a routine.
- For example, if your children know they need to clear the table and wash dishes after dinner, they can learn what they need to do and how fast they need to accomplish the task. It becomes automatic.
2. Let your children know the reason for your rules. The “Do your homework at 6 PM because I say so” approach doesn’t work as effectively as, “Doing your homework at 6 PM rewards you with free time later.”
3. Set consequences for their actions. It’s important to teach your kids how their actions affect themselves and others. The consequences should be reasonable so that any child can learn from them.
- If a child does not meet expectations as you have taught, it is up to you to communicate with them about what happened and why the behavior was not working.
- If a particular consequence doesn’t work, adjust it until you find what works best for everyone involved.
4. Reward good behavior in your child. Research shows that there are two types of conditioning. Conditioning involves giving a reward after the proper behavior.
- Parents can help children learn self-discipline by rewarding them with praise and other tokens of approval after they meet expectations. Effective praise should be specific in describing what they did that was good.
- Parents can also tie forms of entertainment with good behavior. For example, you can tell your child that they only get to watch the tv after they have cleaned up the supplies. Or they get to play video games once they complete their chores.
Make self-discipline a habit in your child. Even after you’ve helped create the proper behavior and set up healthy consequences, it is essential to teach your child to strive to develop a greater sense of self-discipline.
If children don’t see the value of self-discipline, it may not be a long-lasting skill they will carry into adulthood.
Self-discipline is an integral part of life. Without it, kids may struggle with good behavior and other important life choices.
Teaching your child how to be self-disciplined may seem like an unpleasant task, but it will help them for the rest of their lives. There are many ways to teach self-discipline, so try out some on your own before deciding which one works best for your child.