29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #13

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#13  Teach self-control.  One of the fruits of healthy discipline is self-control.  Children are generally motivated by a desire to have their needs and wants met right away.  They want their desires attended to pronto.  Self-control, on the other hand, brings some patience and thoughtfulness into the equation.

There are three aspects of self-control we want to teach our children.  First, we want to teach the concept of delayed gratification.  Not everything has to happen right now.  Sometimes the desired activity or reward needs to wait.  One way we taught this concept to our kids was in how we let them spend their money.  We encouraged and guided them in how to save their spending money for something they really wanted but required more than their cash on hand; rather than running to the store to spend all their money every time they earned some pay.

Another aspect of self-control we want to take root in our child is the idea that we cannot and should not satisfy every physical desire.  Just because they can conceive it, does not mean we have to achieve it.  We need to teach them the priority of legitimate needs over wants.  We need to teach them how self-control becomes a godly weapon in the fight against our sinful desires and irresponsible behavior.  These lessons, learned early, set an incredible foundation for a lifelong walking in the Spirit.

Lastly, we want to teach our children the important role self-control plays in controlling our tempers, speaking without complaining, not giving in to anger, and defeating other negative behaviors.  For the believers in your house, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and as such, walking in the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit and we will not satisfy the desires of the flesh.  Can self-control be taught to children before they have the Holy Spirit to empower them to live it?  I believe it can because they live in a sanctified home.  In our homes, we have many opportunities to practice this lesson.  And you are the ones to teach them how.