Saturday, March 23, 2013

7 Character Strengths: Self-Control

Lao Tzu said "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." Teaching kids self control is probably one of the most valuable character traits a person can learn. Self control is what keeps kids from participating in risky or dangerous behavior, it promotes confidence and instills a sense of security with the knowing that they are in control. Kids can learn self control through sports, karate or similar disciplines and by teaching them to wait or earn things. A common cultural norm these days is to give children everything. It may feel good to give lots of things to your children however it prevents them from learning to appreciate anticipation and the value of earning. When my kids were young, we had a "puffy jar." The puffy jar was a large vase and when the kids did something extra special they would get a puffy (cotton ball) to add to the jar. When the jar was full, we would do something special like go to the movies or go buy a new toy or something fun. The puffy jar taught them that they could earn things, they learned how much fun it was to anticipate, and they learned self control because they knew the only way to get the treat was to fill the puffy jar rather than begging, nagging or tantrums.
There are many different ways to instill self control but by far the most effective way is to model it. Kids won't always listen but they will always watch what you do and imitate it. So today, think about how you can give your kids the gift of self control, model good habits, and Live Inspired Now.


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