Help Your Child Develop Self-Discipline For Life Success
Help Your Child Develop Self-Discipline For Life Success
Whether adults assume the role or not, they are fundamental guideposts that help pave the way for children to succeed in life. Originating back around 500 B.C. in India, the art of Zen was one of the earliest documented strategic approaches for improving the quality of one’s life through self-discipline, courage, and perseverance.
Today, society favors instant gratification over the long-term process for achieving a higher goal. Delaying is painful, so satisfying an immediate desire doesn’t require patience or any vision for the future. Children who are constantly praised for their good deeds or engage in activities that have immediate reward systems, such as video games and use of electronic devices, lose out on opportunities to develop problem solving skills, patience, and resilience in the face of challenges.
“Commitment produces consistent, enthusiastic effort that inevitably
produces greater and greater rewards.”
-Zig Ziglar (renowned American author, salesman & motivational speaker)
Willpower is a key ingredient that is necessary for attaining major success at almost any aspect of life – whether it be obtaining good grades, getting a fulfilling job, maintaining positive relationships with people, making a sports team, being physically fit, or achieving any breakthrough goal.
Here are some strategies to use to help your child become self-disciplined:
Teach your child to use moderation as the key principle in eating junk food. Many children have control over their eating situations at school by choosing to “bag it or buy it”. For those children that receive free or reduced lunch, the good news is that the school lunch menus are offering more healthy choices. Children can be provided more nutritious choices that they agree to eat. Otherwise, unknowingly and quite commonly, there may be daily trading of food at the lunch table and a child does not eat what is intended for them.
When the school year begins, have your child get into a daily routine of doing homework in the same place where you are able to check it once it’s complete. Children benefit most from this structure and routine, which in turn helps build a solid foundation for other aspects of their lives.
Teach your child to say, “NO!” Practice the refusal of temptations that can be harmful or hurtful. Peer pressures can seem like the worst thing in the world at the time, but with each “NO” expressed, a greater confidence is built, and respect among peers increases. Taking the road less traveled will ultimately reward in a child’s acquisition of inner strength and self-esteem.
Teach your child to avoid friendships that are one sided in nature. If a “friend” talks to your child because they want something from your child all of the time, talks behind their back, and/or cannot be trusted with a secret, then that person is not worthy of your child’s friendship.
Have your child practice daily meditation. Start by having your child sit still with their eyes closed for a few minutes. Teach them to breathe with a relaxed “in through the nose, out through the mouth” action slowly. Their exhalation should be twice as long as their inhalation. Teach them to focus on creating a vision for their dream to come true. Have them envision having complete control over their life and achieving their goals. If negative thoughts appear, advise them to release them kindly and focus on a positive outcome. There are many benefits that are associated with this daily practice. Your child will experience a number of paybacks from this daily practice, including an increase in self-confidence, feeling more relaxed and less anxious, reduced overall stress, enhanced immune system, and increased success in all areas of their life.
The root of most success or most evil in a child’s life, early on, is their immediate caregivers. The messages implied directly and/or indirectly to children by their caregivers on a daily basis carry with them and become ingrained as part of a larger memory base to be applied in their own lives as they encounter situations. One of the greatest gifts that adults can provide children is the guidance towards their desires in life and teaching them that the results they produce in anything depend on the actions they take and the effort put forth. For instance, to play an instrument well or become a better athlete, one has to develop the correct practice habits and repeat them on a consistent basis to see results.
Children must recognize that self-discipline is not something they are born with, but is learned and acquired over time. It takes consistent, proper practice of being aware of thoughts and behaviors, actions taken, and if these actions lead to self-improvement and success. Children follow the advice and discipline demonstrated by adults in various situations in life. When the going gets tough, the disciplined individual perseveres and will not quit.
Excerpt taken from Chapter 5: “Emphasizing the value of self-discipline for life success” from Save Your Kids… Now!
Douglas Haddad, is a public school teacher, nutritionist and the author of parenting/child guidance book Save Your Kids…Now! The Revolutionary Guide To Helping Youth Conquer Today’s Challenges and co-author of Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Shape: Super Health Programs For All Professional Fields. www.Douglashaddad.com
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This post originally appeared on our July/August 2016 Magazine