top of page
  • Suzanne Rightley

Children Aren't Born With Self-Control

How Parents Can/Should Set Boundaries

Being able to control our behaviour, our words, our actions, in every situation of our daily lives, is important to us. We may not give it much thought, but ultimately knowing we can rely on ourselves to act/respond responsibly, with dignity, is what adults - knowingling or unknowingly - cherish.

Self-control is priceless!

Developing self-control doesn't come naturally to children. Anyone witnessing a two-year old's grocery store tantrum can attest to this fact.

What does come naturally are the emotional outbursts, unreasonable demands, not taking responsibilty for their own actions, pouting, etcetera.

Yet, at the very heart of all temperamental, spontaneous, childish behaviours is a driving need for structure in order to set the foundation for future (adult) self-control.

This means...

  • Parents should not be surprised by their child's unruly behaviour - a child should not feel that their parent is disappointed in them. Rather, a child should expect to be corrected and given the opportunity to "do better" the next time, because, of course there will be a "next time".

  • Children need rules, guidelines - without instruction a child is left adrift. How can a young boy or girl learn how to build acceptable responses, if there is little or no structure in their lives in order for them to display the correct behaviour? Short answer - they can't.

"This is how you are to behave in grocery store... "

"When we are visiting at grandma's, you must not..."

"In the car, the law says you must wear a seat belt..."

"You must take care of your new backpack in this way..."

  • Do not reward a child for reasonable behaviour - they don't "deserve" one. As adults, we don't receive a medal for not lashing out at an unreasonable boss. No, we understand that by controlling our temper we might get to keep our job. The sad reality is that there are far too many adults who believe they are entitled and they are demanding. Consider that this problem may be the result of being overly rewarded as children.

These are but a few recommendations, on helping children, to build upon a foundation of becoming an adult, who enjoys the freedom and confidence that comes with possessing a healthy sense of self-control.

Thanks for the visit

Suzanne Rightley is an author of children's fiction books. Her genres range from mystery, to sports, to health, for ages 7 - 15; her books take the subtle opportunity to build the merits of responsible, respectful character traits, without any child-dreaded "preachiness". Click here for her author page.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page