Self-control: learn to own yourself
To seat well the bases of self-control In the adolescence of our children, they must assimilate the reasons why they act in a certain way. If when they were younger the goal was to "do" things, now they have to "want to do them".
In addition, as in mountaineering, the important thing is to take small steps up: you are climbing on the mountain not thanks to large climbs, but thanks to small advances. At first costly and then easier, once you see the landscape from the top. Therefore, it should be clear the points on which to insist, without trying to cover them all, but the most important for each child, knowing that the struggle to acquire a virtue pulls the others up.
Steps to learn self-control
To learn to self-control, our children during these years must learn:
1. To control your emotions. How?
- Helping them to know how to be patient, that they learn to wait. For example, they can be encouraged to save to get something they like; sometimes, you can even delay a reward on purpose, for example, go to the movies, until we understand that it is not a whim, but value the sense of that gratification. Another facet of patience has to do with the relationship with their friends and siblings: we must help them not to despair about the defects of others, for example, asking them never to criticize anyone.
- Helping them to know how to be serene: not to kick when things do not come out, an exam or some notes ... We have to teach them to give events their just importance and for that we have to talk a lot about what worries them. It does not matter so much the first reactions of nervousness, because it is not about getting them to be cold like steel, but about understanding it and proving that, indeed, it was not that bad. In the same way, you also have to teach them not to lose their heads for any nonsense, as for a new game that becomes fashionable. The sport can also become a school of virtues, it will help them to know how to win and lose.
- Helping them not to be resentful: that they know how to forgive and forget, first of all at home. We must ask them and insist on asking for forgiveness from a brother, his father, the person of service, etc.
2. To control your head. How?
Helping them not to let the imagination wander in fantasies. At these ages, the most important thing is, above all, to insist that they know how to take advantage of time. Leisure, if it consists in doing nothing, is dangerous for them. At the beginning we may have to be on top of them to meet their schedule and be clear about what they should do at all times. But, day by day, they must be the ones to organize themselves, even though they often do not fulfill what they propose: we will be there to insist on them.
3. To control their whims and first impulses. How?
- Helping them to be tough: Do not be afraid of difficulties. A good objective is that they do not complain about what they do not like, because it is a way of not getting carried away by the first impulse. Another objective is to continue to the end with what they have started, although it costs: a model, a puzzle, a gymnastics class, an hour of study, etc.
- Helping them to be obedient: in an intelligent and active way. For this, the most important thing is to know how to send. If we explain the reasons for what we send you can assume, so that they behave well even if we are not ahead or do not explicitly ask.
Keys to learning to own yourself
Our son must learn to take advantage of time. For this it is very practical that you have a clear schedule, that you know - with the necessary flexibility - what you have to do at all times. If not, it will tend to do the first thing that comes to mind.
A little "suffering" is not bad. On the contrary, it can help you acquire the necessary self-control to cope with the difficulties. You can put, for example, a meal that you like less, or take an excursion in which you walk more than you want.
If you have a reasonable "whim", we can use it to accustom him to wait, to be patient, for example, proposing a date far enough or asking him to save.
To learn to control emotions it is good to talk about them. At this age it is difficult for him to understand and explain what is happening to him but, as it happens to us all, as soon as we express our problems we begin to solve them.
Asking for forgiveness costs a lot, but it says a lot about a person's character. Thus, if our child has had a fight with a brother or a friend, we can insist that he ask for forgiveness when the anger passes.
Maybe he is not aware of his quick temper for nonsense, until we explain with concrete examples how he behaves: "Yesterday, your sister took your case without realizing it, do you think it was to be like that?"
Our child must get to know himself and a good way is to develop an "improvement plan" for continuous review. For that we must guide and accompany him. With affection, we will tell you what is wrong and what is not, so that he himself can forge his personality. Periodically, with affection, we will review the achievements, we will rectify, we will set new goals and little by little it will improve, always relying on its strong points.
Advice: Enrique Rojas, psychiatrist and author of the book The conquest of the will.