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Learning self-control is a lifelong process, and you should look at each day as an opportunity to help your child continually grow in self-control. What can you do to help him or her? 

Model self-control. Yelling at your child for yelling at his sibling is not the best. Yes, we all get frustrated and lose our temper, but when we do, we need to model humility and apologize. (I’m sorry I yelled at you. Will you forgive me?) How else will he know what to do when he loses it? 

Lessen distractions. If your child is distracted by the TV while trying to do homework, find them a quiet place to work. (The whole family could even work quietly for an allotted time every evening.) If the phone or social media is a challenge, turn it off until the project is completed. 

Teach techniques to help him calm down. Take three deep breaths. Ask for help. Go to a quiet place. Run laps. Read a book. Whatever works for your child. 

Practice waiting. It is okay to teach children to wait. Instead of letting them interrupt you while you are talking with someone, you may want to create a signal (such as touching their arm) to let them know you are aware of their need and will speak to them as soon as you can. This is an important social practice that is needed in a variety of settings. 

Create consequences that fit the situation. Sometimes a simple re-direction of focus can work. One idea is to write age-appropriate jobs or activities on slips of paper and put them in a jar. (Pull 20 weeds, clean a drawer in your room, organize the books on the shelf, dust the living room, etc.) When they need to re-direct, allow them to pick and complete one job. 

Read Scripture. James 3:2–8 speaks about controlling the tongue. Proverbs 15:1 says a soft answer turns away wrath. Proverbs 14:29 teaches that being slow to anger shows great understanding. Proverbs 16:32 explains that being slow to anger is a demonstration of strength. 

Pray with your child. Keep asking the Holy Spirit who is at work inside of them to help do God’s will (Galatians 5:22-23).

Nurturing self-control in children is an ongoing journey, one that demands patience, consistency, and a willingness to model the behavior we wish to instill. By modeling self-control ourselves, apologizing when we falter, and providing environments conducive to focus, we equip our children with invaluable tools for managing their emotions and impulses. More importantly, integrating spiritual disciplines through Scripture and prayer offers a foundation rooted in faith, reinforcing the importance of self-discipline as a virtue. Each day presents an opportunity to cultivate self-control, fostering growth and resilience in our children as they navigate life’s challenges with grace and integrity.

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