Kids With Low Self Control

Think about how often you repeatedly tell your kids to keep their hands to themselves, stay out of trouble, or to “leave that alone.”  Did any of your kids have more trouble than others learning self control?

According to a new study, those kids may have more difficulties in their adult life with money, reaching goals, health problems, and even substance use and smoking.

Recent Study Shows Connection Between Self Control And Future Problems

The study took one thousand 3-year-old kids and measured the following things: tolerance for frustration, persistence with goals, sticking with tasks, acting before thinking, waiting for a turn, and being conscientious of others.

As you can imagine, a child who grows up with self control problems may have do more impulse buying, do risky things without considering the consequences, and attract a lot of stress in their life.

Kids With Low Self Control – Parents Don’t Panic

Hold on, now.  I know some of you are starting to panic because one of your kids has some trouble with these areas.  I understand because one of mine does.  Deep breath, everyone…

OK, near the end of this report comes the good news.  Self control issues can be averted with early detection.  If parents, teachers, and other mentors spend time training these kids how to manage their impulses, they can avoid a lot of the pitfalls mentioned above.

Keep in mind, this isn’t about scolding kids who “should know better.”  The fact is that maybe they really do know better, but in the moment they bow to their impulse instead of their knowledge.

Teaching Approach Helps Kids Learn Better Self Control

I’ll say that you may not be able to completely teach this out of them.  Some hard lessons may have to come naturally.  But if you take a teaching approach very early, you’ll help them understand that they can make changes in how they behave.  They have your support and you’ll celebrate their progress as it comes along.

Find and use your child’s strengths to help them overcome their impulse control.  Zero in on the worst problems rather than spreading yourself too thin trying to address every small incident.  As the bigger ones show some progress, you can move in on the more minor issues.

Parents, does this set off any alarm bells for you in your family?  If so, how have you helped your impulsive child learn more self control?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti