Teaching self control to students

Lack of self-control in students is a common area of concern in education today. Many administrators, teachers, and even fellow students can recognize it. Many educators would agree in order to avoid inappropriate student behaviors, modeling and teaching techniques for improving impulsivity in kids can be challenging yet essential. Modeling self-control solutions increases opportunities for teachers to replace inappropriate student behavior with positive behaviors they want throughout their classrooms.

You may be thinking, “I agree. Yet, I truly don't have the time to try anything new right now. I am looking for simple but effective ways to increase self-control in my students.” No problem – we can relate which is why we'll be sharing effective techniques you can use immediately to start improving manageable behavior and overall self-control.

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Characteristics of Self-Control

According to the American Psychological Association, self-control is defined as, “The capacity to override an impulse in order to respond appropriately.” In other words, depending on the age of your students, self-control could be described like having steering and brakes in the journey of life. On this journey in life, as a student, learning the meaning of self-control is a process. A process that will have its victories as well as its failures. However, throughout those experiences, all examples of self-control, whether positive or negative have three elements in common.

Why Is It Important to Teach Self-Control?

Self-control levels the playing field. It puts the keys in the students’ hands. Showing students what self-control is, how it works and why it is important, will provide knowledge that can help in having a productive and meaningful lives.

The positive effects spill over into many different parts of their lives. It allows them to make better decisions and experience a better reality. Self-control can bring freedom, build fortitude and helps earn respect, while also protecting relationships.

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Techniques to Increase Self-Control while Improving Classroom Behavior

Building self-control in the moment as well as long-term can result with lasting impact not only for students but also overall classroom behavior and management. Changing the situation, their thinking and a student’s response can immediately affect impulsivity.

  • Change the situation – The simplest and often most effective strategy for self-control involves changing the situation to reduce temptation.
  • Change their thinking – This strategy involves addressing what kids pay attention to and how they interpret situations. Planning and perspective can guide kids toward better choices. Lastly, recognize impulsive thoughts Some useful strategies may include:
    • Visual reminders, breaking down large projects into smaller steps can make the task more manageable
    • Problem-solving related questions, “What would be a fair solution?”, “What can you do to help her feel better?” can also encourage thinking that leads to self-control.
  • Change their response – Coping when students find themselves in a frustrating, upsetting, or very exciting situation is the most difficult type of self-control. In these heated situations, it’s easy for individuals to lash out, or refuse to cooperate. Having a plan that spells out what to do instead can help them hold onto self-control.

In the moment strategies are great; however, sometimes building long-term self-control may be more beneficial. Students can practice any of the following:

  1. Choose the main behavior from the list they’d like to control
  2. Research the behavior
  3. Set realistic goals and mark progress

Improving Self-Control for Kids Is Worth It!

By teaching self-control, students have a chance in improving their life in three ways:

  • Individual well-being – Self-control relates to better health. Physically, self-controlled people sleep better, experience fewer physical sickness symptoms and live longer lives.
  • Relationships – Beyond wealth or good looks, people want self-controlled relationship partners. We want to spend our lives with people we can trust. Self-controlled people are forgiving and react to conflict with compassion rather than violence.
  • Societies – Self-control helps societies flourish. Not only do self-controlled people enjoy greater wealth, they behave more generously.
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