For two weeks I had been focusing on helping my children use more self-control in their lives. I wanted them to use their time more wisely and stop fighting with each other. But one Sunday night I was feeling very discouraged and felt that the “Self-Control Club” idea I had started had flopped as I listened to fight after fight all day.
I was talking to one son after he had just had a fight with his sister, who was in the other room crying. I told him what a failure I felt I was and that no one was learning self-control. He indignantly said, “No, sir, Mom. I’ve learned self-control. If I hadn’t had self control right now, Faith (his sister) would be dead! But I controlled myself and didn’t beat her up!” Ah, children!
Looking back through the years to that experience, what have I learned? That my son HAD learned a little bit of self-control and a little is better than none at all. I learned that as parents we have to keep trying to teach our children little by little. I learned that it takes time for children to learn to control themselves, their choices and impulses and as parents we must allow them time. We can’t get discouraged and just give up. It is our duty and responsibility to teach our children. And re-teach them. Again and again. And then when we see a tiny bit of improvement, we can pat ourselves on the back and say, “Wow, they actually were listening to me!”