Teaching impulse control for kids can be a challenge. If you want to become a more effective adult when working with young people, then give up the desire to control. Instead, hand over to the young the responsibility of learning to control themselves. This is important for every child but especially important for those young people who have repeated discipline and impulse control challenges.
The key to fostering impulse control for kids is to use the Levels of Development all the time so that it isn’t associated with corrective discipline. In fact, the more you use the hierarchy, the more young people will understand the difference between external and internal motivation. They will also become open to using the hierarchy to help themselves make better choices.
The more you discuss the hierarchy in a variety of situations, the more it seems to become a natural tool that children begin to use independently. They start to evaluate their own choices, actions, and behaviors on an everyday basis.
Questions are the Key to Impulse Control for Kids
One of the main principles of this approach is to ask questions that promote reflection. Those youth who have out-of-the-ordinary discipline issues are the ones who especially benefit from these questions.
You can’t force children to change their behavior. But as an adult, you can ask questions that will challenge them to think about where their own behavior is leading them—somewhere they really want to go or not.
Learning to ask more reflective questions is the main strategy in which adults become more effective. The child’s inner response to these questions is what will motivate the outer change you are hoping to eventually see. The better the questions, the more likely the child will respond.
Impulse Control for Kids is Possible
Ultimately, the most effective parent and teacher convey the message that behavior is a choice, and all choices naturally have consequences. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are neutral.
Regardless, behavior is a choice, and people are free to choose responses to much of what happens to them. If you can get a child to start contemplating these ideas, then you have planted some very valuable seeds. You can empower them with the realization that life is a never-ending series of decisions. Help them to notice that it feels pretty good to be able to look after themselves by consciously taking charge of the process.
Tip: If you are willing to invest $19.95 to improve your effectiveness, read about the 100-page Resource Guide I use in my presentations. You will find it a comprehensive resource. The Resource Guide can also be an adjunct to the Discipline Online eLearning course.
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