Helping Kids Learn Self Control

karate-for-kids-logoBrown’s ATA Leadership Martial Arts Teaching self-control is one of the most important things that parents can do for their kids, these are some of the most important skills for success later in life. Self Control is literally the “ability to control ones-self.” This lifeskill trait is one that is correlated with higher grades in school, higher SAT scores and more satisfaction in life. This seems like a no-brainer but by learning self-control, kids can make appropriate decisions and respond to stressful situations in ways that can yield positive outcomes. “Someone who controls their body and their mind,” is one of Master Brown’s definition for a black belt, and the goal for every student at ATA Leadership Martial Arts. Parents can help kids learn self-control and teach them how to respond to situations without just acting on impulse. In this article, we will go through the different developmental stages for children, giving tips for parents while they try to tackle this essential skill. All of our instructors and staff are trained and look forward in assisting you is developing self-control. Ages 6 to 9 As kids enter school, they’re better able to understand the idea of consequences and that they can choose good or bad behavior. It may help your child to imagine a stop sign that must be obeyed and think about a situation before responding. Encourage your child to walk away from a frustrating situation for a few minutes to cool off instead of having an outburst. This will be an essential skill when your child is confronted by a bullying situation. Ages 10 to 12 Older kids usually better understand their feelings. Encourage them to think about what’s causing them to lose control and then analyze it. At ATA Martial Arts, we work with the parents to help explain that sometimes the situations that are upsetting at first don’t end up being so awful. Urge kids to take time to think before responding to a situation. Ages 13 to 17 By this age, ATA Leadership knows that kids should be able to control most of their actions. But remind teens to think about long-term consequences. Urge them to pause to evaluate upsetting situations before responding and talk through problems rather than losing control, slamming doors, or yelling. If necessary, discipline your teen by taking away certain privileges to reinforce the message that self-control is an important skill. These are things that we love to help your children with at our academy. When Kids Are Out of Control As difficult as it may be, resist the urge to yell when you’re disciplining your kids. Instead, be firm and matter of fact. During a child’s meltdown, stay calm and explain that yelling, throwing a tantrum, and slamming doors are unacceptable behaviors that have consequences — and say what those consequences are. ATA Strong is a phrase that means your actions will show that tantrums won’t get kids the upper hand. For example, if your child gets upset in the grocery store after you’ve explained why you won’t buy candy, don’t give in — thus demonstrating that the tantrum was both unacceptable and ineffective. Also, consider speaking to your child’s teachers about classroom settings and appropriate behavioral expectations. Ask if problem solving is taught or demonstrated in school. And model good self-control yourself. If you’re in an irritating situation and your kids are present, tell them why you’re frustrated and then discuss the potential solutions to the problem. For example, if you’ve misplaced your keys, instead of getting upset, tell your kids the keys are missing and then search for them together. If they don’t turn up, take the next constructive step (like retracing your steps when you last had the keys in-hand). Show that good emotional control and problem solving are the ways to deal with a difficult situation. “The most important person to work on is yourself,” says Master Brown. He continues with, “Self control is one of the fruits of the Spirit, it is supposed to be a life long journey to better ourselves.” The time we invest in training ourselves and our children will pay significant dividends in happiness and fulfillment throughout our lives.

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