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Control Yourself: Encouraging Self Discipline

Hopefully, teaching self-discipline during the teen years is the culmination of lessons your child has received throughout her life.  Still, except for, perhaps, the toddler years, the teens are a time when self-control is most important and most difficult.  Raging hormones meets insecurity to create a perfect storm of drama that teens are just dying to play out on the world stage.  However, teens need to understand that they still have an obligation to themselves and those around them to behave in an acceptable manner.

Start by reminding your teen of the basics of self-discipline.  Think before you speak or act.  Take a deep breath and count to ten.  If you still feel out of control, count to ten again.  If a situation feels out of control to you, walk away.   Go for a walk around the block, or to the restroom.  Do not succumb to peer pressure. Splash some cool water on your face.  Most of all, take time to think instead of just react.

The next critical step for teens practicing self-control is to avoid feeding and feeding on drama.  While this is the very life blood of many teens, it is not healthy and should be avoided.  Encourage your teen to look at the reality of a situation rather than retreat to wild speculation.  So, the boy didn't call.  That's all you know.  Sure, he could have been kidnapped by gypsies or, worse, just not like you, but you don't know that.  By sticking to only what your teen knows for certain, they can avoid blowing situations out of proportion.

Finally, help your teen to accept their limitations.  They cannot solve the world's problems, and getting too wrapped up in them will only lead to trouble.  Instead, encourage them to recognize their personal strengths and work with them to improve their own life.  In doing so, they will find themselves in a much better place to help others in the future. 

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

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