Hectic schedules, high tech gadgets, and a culture of proximity make it harder for today’s parents to install some level of self discipline in their children. From what I see everyday, kids these days wait for no one and nothing. Parents try to convince themselves that they are brewing self discipline in their kids but eventually, their frustration levels rise.
If you know kids then you will know that children have never been particularly patient. This makes self control a learned skill – something they achieve along the way. However, the changes in culture and most will add, influence of the West, have created a generation of kids used to getting what they want WHEN they want it.
Mabel Karuhanga said that children have limited experience with delayed gratification because their lives are saturated with instant gratification from technology that delivers information and results faster than ever. “Children experience an enormous amount of stimulation every day, from the media and other technological gadgets. With technology speeding up everyday, self discipline slips further away.”
If you look beyond media influences, the opportunities for children to make risky decisions are in plenty. In younger children that can start from ignoring what their parents’ say or tell them to do, to bullying other children just to get what they want. In older kids, the risks range from early sexual relations, alcohol and drug consumption to reckless driving and more.
Martha Arinaitwe, a midwife and mother of 2, said that self discipline starts in childhood as it shapes us into the people we are today. “If you do not enforce self discipline in a child, you can forget about them having any when they grow up – and that’s the biggest shame. Children need to develop a little voice in their heads reminding them of the consequences of their choices. Only then can they grow up to be responsible adults,” she said.
“Self-discipline means taking ownership, accountability and responsibility for our behavior. It is one of the most important qualities we can help our kids develop,” Robert Brooks, a Harvard Medical School psychologist and child development expert was quoted.
It is a virtue every breathing human being should have- and its best installed as early as possible. “Self-discipline will give them the ability to think before they act, improve their relationships with others, enable them to perform better at school and at work and become good problem solvers,” Brooks said.
Children are the quickest learners and the best teachers are the people closet to them, starting with their parents. If they don’t sense any discipline, it is to be expected that they won’t care too much about it either.
As an adult, they will have the same discipline that they grew up with. If it was installed correctly, the dieter’s decision to forego a pizza, the smoker’s vow never to light another cigarette and the compulsive shopper’s resolution to avoid the latest sale will only be implemented by people who have the ability to delay indulgence.