As a parent, you have done many things you didn’t want to, but knew you had to. You got up in the middle of the night to feed and change your children, you cleaned up messes that would make a hazmat team cringe and you take your children to their weekly activities — even when you’d rather be doing something else at times. You used self-discipline to set an example for your children to follow.
Children need reminding and prodding sometimes to do things. However, there are some things you can do to encourage your children to develop self-discipline as they grow so you won’t have to remind them to take a bath when they are twenty. Yes, it will take consistent reminding to build self-discipline in your children, but like everything else worthwhile, it will be worth the effort.
What can parents and caregivers do to help their children develop self-discipline?
Think before you speak. If your children say something bad about another child or themselves, remind them to think before they speak. Ask them how they would feel if that were said about them. That also means you have to discipline yourself and watch what you say.
Choose wisely. Choosing wisely isn’t always fun, but when you do, let your kids know. Tell them you would much rather sit home, curled up and reading a book but you know you will feel better and have more energy if you discipline yourself to get out and take a walk.
Respect yourself. In today’s society, it is so easy to talk badly about yourself, e.g., “I’m fat.” “I’m stupid.” “I can’t do this right.” Respect yourself and say positive things so your children know it is okay to say nice things about yourself. “I’m having a hard time learning to do a front kick, but I’ll keep practicing until I can do it right!”
Be an example. Point out people of great character and tell your children why you believe in them. These people shouldn’t be celebrities or on television, but should be people you and your children know. Parents, teachers, clergy, police, doctors, fire fighters, store clerks and Karate instructors are all examples of people who should exemplify self-respect and self-discipline as part of their character.