What is a better predictor of success – intelligence or common sense, self control and maturity? Just writing the title for this post made me think the very phrase implies self deprivation, not allowing your children to have fun or joy, but it simply means learning how to behave which will only be beneficial in the long run. Teaching children to take responsibility or to teach children consequences of acting a certain way needn’t be onerous and is far more beneficial in developing social skills and managing situations than focusing purely on academia alone.
Being a toddler is about becoming self aware and testing the boundaries and learning about the world around them. When a child is small and doesn’t want to do their homework, giving in or appeasing by giving chocolate ahead of a session isn’t teaching the child about delayed gratification or appreciation for work well done.
By including children in decision making, they can start to feel more in control of their lives and not feel that their parents are just being mean. My mother said when we were young we had a time in the week for sweets – on a Friday. Because we knew Friday was the day we would get treats, we could wait and didn’t pester at the supermarket checkout. And if your toddler asks “can I open these now or later?” as I overheard one day last week, you know you are on the right track.
Of course, school is the primary environment for engaging with others and how we learn to get along and how what we want is not always the first priority like at home. Again, sports require children to think about others, control their impulses or think before they take action for the sake of the team as a whole and which contributes to collective, rather than simply individual success.
What methods do you use with your children?
(Photo: Carolina Sanchez B)