Learning to self-control: question of will

Some children and teenagers have a hard time controlling their impulses: they can not wait to get what they want, they get agitated and get nervous before stimuli that other kids would not startle. Fighting against oneself is the most difficult battle and, along with it, defeating oneself is the most important victory. They are in a good moment to acquire self-control habits that help them strengthen their personality.

The self-control is not acquired by itself, simply by letting time pass, but must be born of a family atmosphere and a style of education. In addition, it is something that is achieved progressively. All children, without exception, tend to want to satisfy their desires as quickly as possible. Little by little and step by step, we must help them assimilate a series of virtues such as patience, obedience, strength, self-control, etc. After seven years, with the awakening of his reason, we can make them understand the importance of being masters of our character to not end up being slaves to our defects.


The requirement of parents is essential in the self-control of children

According to some studies, many parents do not use discipline with their children (they do not set standards, they do not punish them, etc.) because they want them to control themselves, without the need for external rules. But as children they lack the sufficient maturity to generate that self-control, they can go tumbling during their childhood without experiencing what the demand supposes, neither their own nor the outside.

To get to self-control, our children must first have the experience of what is involved in the fight against themselves, against their faults. As we all tend to be too indulgent with ourselves, to acquire this habit it is necessary that someone who loves us incite us to that personal struggle. For example, when a 9-year-old girl is urged to brush her teeth every night, we remind her daily, we accompany her to do it correctly and we do not give in even if she does not want to, we are giving her the chance to experiment what that struggle with itself consists of. Especially at this age the children need a requirement from the parents that over the years is transformed into a healthy self-demand.


Self-control is vital for the personal development of children

As the psychiatrist Enrique Rojas says in his book The conquest of the will, all education of the will has an austere background, especially when it begins. In order to have will and self-control, one must begin by refusing or defeating oneself in immediate tastes and stimuli and inclinations. Something really difficult. A ten-year-old boy, after a morning of games, will have a lion's hunger ... But it's good that we make him understand that it's okay to wait a few minutes until everyone is seated at the table. Years ago it was normal for him not to understand it and just obey his parents, but now he must understand its meaning so that there really is self-control.

If we want to develop in the children those habits of self-control, it is not to restrict their behavior and to make their personality politically correct or a child "to teach friends". On the contrary, these habits are needed for the realization of the personal project without having to follow the immediate dictates of what the body asks of us; They are necessary to overcome in those small titanic struggles that, however, will make your dreams come true little by little.


Learn to choose what suits you

The Self-control is one of those extraordinary challenges that elevate us above the circumstances. With the passage of time, our children will develop a "second nature": one does not do what he wants, nor the easiest, nor choose the softest path, but he goes towards what is best. When the will is more solid, you will not consider fatigue or what you want, but what you know will be more positive in the face of what is estimated best.

The one who does not fight to control himself, on the contrary, is the spoiled child: since he has not fought in small things, day by day he has become a toy of circumstances.

Maria Lucea
Advice: Enrique Rojas, psychiatrist and author of the book The conquest of the will.

Video: Self-Discipline | Why It’s Important & How to Master Self-Control


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