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Children and Self-Discipline

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 7 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Self-discipline Decision Making Skills

The ultimate goal of disciplining children is to teach them about proper behaviour so that they will come to the point where they will monitor their own behaviour and make sound choices. Parents who empower their children with the skills to control themselves will raise kids who are able to make their way well in the world.

Giving Kids Choices
In order for children to learn to make good decisions they must have opportunities to practise. Decision making is a learned skill, and like all new skills, it usually takes a while for it to become natural. Parents can help their children along by offering them choices, starting with small ones. Even toddlers can begin to make decisions for themselves, helping to build their confidence and giving them a sense of control in their lives. Parents can allow toddlers and preschool aged children to make simple decisions by asking them such questions as, "Would you like to have green beans or carrots with your dinner tonight?" or "Which would you like to do first - brush your teeth or get into your pyjamas?"

The Learning Process
As children grow and mature, they should be allowed and encouraged to make a broader range of decisions for themselves, with parents making the effort to refrain from exerting too much influence. It can be difficult for parents to sit back while their children make what the adults recognise as a "wrong" choice, but mistakes are simply part of the learning process. In the beginning, the consequences for poor choices are usually fairly small, so letting kids make small mistakes in judgment while they are young will help them to make wiser choices as they age and the consequences become more substantial. By the time that they are teenagers, it is important that kids have developed the confidence and self-discipline to make sound choices, since adolescent mistakes can have lifelong ramifications. Offering children opportunities to build their decision making abilities is one step along the way to raising kids who are self-disciplined.

Morals, Ethics, and Self-Control
When describing adults that are well-respected, most people think of those who behave in an ethical manner and are solid and stable. The goal of most parents is to raise children to have the capacity to think for themselves combined with the strength of character required to live happy, respectable lives, and teaching children to be self-disciplined is an important building block toward responsible adulthood. True self-discipline goes far beyond merely following laws, it requires an inner sense of right and wrong coupled with the strength to do the right things, even when they are difficult. As adults know, the most ethically and morally correct actions are not always the easiest ones, so teaching kids, step by step, to make sound choices starts them off on the right foot to become the types of adults that can make tough choices.

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Dot - Your Question:
My 10 year old step-grandaughter lives half the week with her mother and the other half with her father. My daughter is living with her and her father along with my daughter's 5 year old son. The 10 year old is sometimes very mature and other times really babyish. She can be very rude and nasty. She has no friends at school and everyone who meets her is shocked at her behaviour. I would like to see her get some help and although both parents talk about how bad she is, no one does anything. One example of her "adult" behaviour is when her father wouldn't kiss her on the mouth, she virtually grabbed his face to get him to kiss her on the mouth but he refused. She can't understand why he won't go into the bathroom with her as he used to. She looks up information on child birth and when she went to see friends who had a new baby she was asking which nappies they use, then told them oh I wouldn't use them, I would use such and such. Then said if you have any problems just let me take care of him, I know what to do. My daughter has said she would not want to have another child right now as she is afraid of what her daughter may do (not intentionally) as she thinks she is more than capable. She tells my daughter how to take care of her 5 year old. On the other side, if she doesn't get her way she will sulk and throw tantrums, cry for ages while clinging to her father. My 5 year old grandson runs for cover as she is quite frightening when she acts like that. She has life size dolls and told her father she needed a car seat for them. She has buggies for them and told her father one weekend that she wanted him to walk into town with her and her children. She and her mother argue constantly and she will call her father and tell him to come and get her, which he doesn't do. At weekends she calls her father on Saturday to tell him what they are going to do on the Sunday when he picks her up. It doesn't matter that they have made plans because she will just say I don't want to do that. I believe a lot of the problem is the parents although they are lovely people, I think they are at a loss as to what to do. At school, she has been seeing someone who is helping her with her feelings. I would really like to see her get the help she needs as at the moment I feel my daughter is finding it a bit too much. She has a lovely relationship with the father and wants to help her as well so they can enjoy being a family. Any advice please?

Our Response:
It sounds as though she may be still reacting from the break up of her parents. She could do with seeing a counsellor or child therapist. Could the school refer her? If not, try her GP.
KidsBehaviour - 8-Dec-15 @ 11:52 AM
My 10 year old step-grandaughter lives half the week with her mother and the other half with her father. My daughter is living with her and her father along with my daughter's 5 year old son. The 10 year old is sometimes very mature and other times really babyish. She can be very rude and nasty. She has no friends at school and everyone who meets her is shocked at her behaviour. I would like to see her get some help and although both parents talk about how bad she is, no one does anything. One example of her "adult" behaviour is when her father wouldn't kiss her on the mouth, she virtually grabbed his face to get him to kiss her on the mouth but he refused. She can't understand why he won't go into the bathroom with her as he used to. She looks up information on child birth and when she went to see friends who had a new baby she was asking which nappies they use, then told them oh I wouldn't use them, I would use such and such. Then said if you have any problems just let me take care of him, I know what to do. My daughter has said she would not want to have another child right now as she is afraid of what her daughter may do (not intentionally) as she thinks she is more than capable. She tells my daughter how to take care of her 5 year old. On the other side, if she doesn't get her way she will sulk and throw tantrums, cry for ages while clinging to her father. My 5 year old grandson runs for cover as she is quite frightening when she acts like that. She has life size dolls and told her father she needed a car seat for them. She has buggies for them and told her father one weekend that she wanted him to walk into town with her and her children. She and her mother argue constantly and she will call her father and tell him to come and get her, which he doesn't do. At weekends she calls her father on Saturday to tell him what they are going to do on the Sunday when he picks her up. It doesn't matter that they have made plans because she will just say I don't want to do that. I believe a lot of the problem is the parents although they are lovely people, I think they are at a loss as to what to do. At school, she has been seeing someone who is helping her with her feelings. I would really like to see her get the help she needs as at the moment I feel my daughter is finding it a bit too much. She has a lovely relationship with the father and wants to help her as well so they can enjoy being a family. Any advice please?
Dot - 7-Dec-15 @ 7:18 PM
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