Where Do We Go From Here
Begin by looking at your parenting style. Ask yourself are you running around to meet their every need or deadline and rescuing them? Or are you training your children to get control over their own needs and deadlines.
Teaching our children the skill of time management or money management is a invaluable life skill. If we are rescuing our child at the last minute doing their science project for them, yes they may get the better grade today but what have we instilled for the future. Not the lesson of impulse control. Training in impulse control would have been helping them set up a time table for doing their project then making sure to help guide them when they are distracted by the computer, the Xbox or the TV.
Another type of parenting style doesn’t struggle with rescuing their kids they struggle with the rewards. They expect their child to get up from the TV to go and do homework so it is hard for them to go crazy with praise when a child follows through with the responsible choice. We have to remember that our children are not mini adults and we are in a training process. This means that we allow them to make the choice, guide them don’t rescue, and go crazy as their cheerleaders when they do the right thing!
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on impulse control.
Allowing the Child to Practice Impulse Control
When training a puppy to do a trick you have to practice and practice, when they get it right you reward them with a treat. It is basic behavior modification. My husband is great at training dogs. He worked hard with our dog training him to do many different things. I had seen a friends dog do this amazing trick so one day I decided that I wanted to train our dog to balance a treat on his nose until I commanded that he could have it. This was the first trick that I had attempted to train our dog to do and I was very excited to accomplish this and surprise my husband. I had grandiose ideas that my wonder dog would be able to accomplish this after one try. This of course did not happen it took many, many practices and rewards for patience. But I can now with confidence say that my dog will sit with a treat on his nose and wait to eat it, albeit drooling, until I say “ok”.
So if an animal can be trained to that level to control their impulses, we definitely can say no in the face of temptation or desire. The key is practice. Allow your child to practice impulse control. Teaching your child to get out of bed in the morning, not to talk back, slam things or stomp around is mostly about learning discipline. Learning how to handle your impulses when you don’t get your way is important for the future, so that you can handle yourself appropriately at work if a co-worker doesn’t do something the way you like it. Getting out of bed teaches the discipline of forcing yourself out of a situation, even though it may be more comfortable, if its not the right thing. Simple day to day choices help our children to exercise impulse control. Just don’t forget to reward them with praise when they make the right choices.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on teaching impulse control.
The Example We Set Is Very Important
Our example of how we handle impulse control in our own lives is key to training our children in this area. It cannot be do as a say but not as I do. Children are very good at noticing if our words and actions are not matching up.
In order to do a heart check on ourselves, we must ask “who is ultimately in charge of me?” Is God truly in charge of my life? Or am I in charge? Or have I handed off the remote control of my life to the people around me, advertisers, media, my appetites, my urges or someone of the opposite sex?
The story of Joseph is a great reminder for us in Genesis 39 about how to control our impulses in the face of temptation. Take time to reread that story and process how it can be applied to something that you may be facing right now.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on teaching your children impulse control.
Where and When a Parent Begins
It begins now. Any stage that a child is in can be training for impulse control. Its no secret that a baby has the world revolve around them. Parents need to be constantly meeting that child’s needs because they are helpless and can’t care for themselves. As soon as that infant cries a parent is trying to figure out what the need is and meet it, whether it is a diaper change, hunger, or simply the desire to be held. As the child grows however we obviously teach them how to do things for themselves, as well as how to wait for things. The two year old sometimes communicates that they want things “NOW” by throwing a tempter tantrum. This is the beginning of the impulse control training. We begin this training by not giving into the tantrum. When we hold our ground we not only teach our child that the behavior is not acceptable, we are also teaching a lesson in self-control.
Teaching older children money management through using allowance and saving, is a great lesson in impulse control. Helping children learn time management is another great tool for teaching this lesson. Through every stage we can find tools and areas to help us teach our children the invaluable lesson of impulse control.
For more insight on this topic listen to today’s podcast.
Why It’s So Important?
Today’s society has become conditioned for “instant life”. We don’t wait for things to be made we go buy them. We (usually) don’t make things from scratch, most of us don’t even know how, we microwave. We don’t process things; we react. This means that many of our children are missing out on the very important lesson of impulse control.
Why is teaching our children impulse control important? Wars have been started, marriages ended, and lives ruined because of irrational reactions to things or failure to control impulses. We need to train our children when they feel an impulse to do something or temptation stares them in the face they need to do a few things.
First they need to take a step back and analyze the situation. Many times just taking a breath and processing will allow a child or adult to resist temptation. The second thing that needs to be done in the processing is weighing the consequences or ramifications of the action. Learn to ask yourself, “if I do this what will happen?”
The most important thing that we can begin to train our children to do is to seek God about situations. If we are always teaching our children to pray before taking action they are less likely to be impulsive.
Training a child to have impulse control can be one of the most important things that we teach them. It has ramifications over many aspects of their lives from finances to marriage, and even employment. Join us this week as we continue to discuss training your children in impulse control.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on impulse control.