The Secret to Raising a Self-Disciplined Child
All parents want to raise children who will one day be responsible adults. While the end-goal is obvious; children who can deal with real-world challenges, accomplish goals and succeed in life. How to achieve this is debatable. One idea is that we must teach children self-discipline at an early age.
This method provides your child with a foundation for acceptable and inappropriate behavior by which to judge themselves. The concept is simple, and it does make sense. Children taught self-discipline can make decisions which benefit themselves and their goals without breaking societal rules. However, what does it take to foster self-discipline in your child? Here are five secrets to raising self-disciplined children that any parent can employ.
- Create a routine
A simple routine for each part of your child’s day will help them become accustomed to daily tasks. Making a chart with their morning, after school and bedtime schedules can help children monitor themselves. Fun magnets which your child can move to the “done” section for each task will engage them in following the routine and policing themselves.
- Give them the why
All too often, parents tell children “because I said so” for any task which they want to be completed. However, communicating with your child about the reason for any action is much better. Understanding why homework is done before playtime, teeth are brushed before bed and breakfast is eaten each morning will help your child make appropriate decisions in the future. As an added bonus, the open communication will reduce the number of fits and arguments you have about everyday routines.
- Provide Praise & Reward
Congratulating your child on completing tasks on time or cleaning up their toys will help them develop pride in their accomplishments. Children who are proud of themselves will continue to display the desired behavior. Additionally, giving your child incentives for long-term goals will help them foster self-control and learn to plan ahead.
For example, we can offer our children a trip to a local water park if they complete all their homework each day, by 6 pm for three weeks. The long-term goal will take effort, but the child will reap the reward, leaving them thirsty for more!
- Give Appropriate Consequences
When your children stray from the routine, break the rules or make bad choices they must have consequences. It’s important not to bail them out of every hard situation. Consequences teach cause and effect and reinforce problem-solving skills. Children soon learn that they can avoid punishment by adhering to the rules and that good behavior is rewarded.
- Be the Role Model
Remember children learn most effectively from your example. If your kids see you eating dessert without finishing your meal, sleeping in late for work, or leaving a mess to be cleaned later, they will learn it’s okay to do the same. As a parent, you’re always being watched, and your children will imitate your behavior. Be a role model for the right decisions and self-discipline! Also, explain to your children why you make the choices you do, so they know how these decisions are benefiting you.
Raising a self-disciplined child is not any vast mystery. However, it does take daily commitment to a routine and patience. While the investment from you will be substantial, the reward will be immeasurable. Self-disciplined children grow into responsible teens and adults. They can choose the correct path without needing direction at every fork in the road. Additionally, they will find the challenges of life less intimidating with a preset understanding of cause and effect.
What tactics have you used to encourage self-discipline in your children? We want to hear your feedback!