Encouraging Words to Promote Self Control

Encouraging Words to Promote Self Control
As children grow during their early childhood, their zest for exploring the world and
scientific efforts to understand how everything, including other humans, work leads to
some anti-social and dangerous behaviors, to varying degrees depending on the child’s
unique temperament and learning style. The development of self-control and selfdiscipline is a gradual process that takes many years and usually many parental
Research regarding how the child’s brain develops and how children learn best provides
us with some general guidelines to use to provide healthy support for child development,
yet there is no “cookbook” with specific instructions on what to do with your particular
child. We have seen that the mirror neurons in the brain lead children to learn to emulate
what they see and hear, so the more we encourage the behavior we want to see, the more
children will learn such behavior.
Encouraging the behaviors you want to see more of is relatively easy, and outlined
on the other handout. Encouraging the development of self-control when children
are acting in challenging ways is more difficult. Here are some useful general
strategies that you will explore in more detail in small group discussions:
1. Provide clear expectations, with encouragement (not praise/rewards) for the behavior
you want the child to learn
2. Teach the child needed skills in small steps
3. Support the child’s development of self-control by modeling understanding of
emotions and calming skills
4. Provide clear rules and boundaries with reasonable consequences that teach social
skills and positive conflict resolution
5. Model appropriate self care so that you have the energy and resources within yourself
to maintain a mostly positive parenting style, as well as helping your child(ren) learn self
care for themselves
Small Group Activity
Divide into groups of no more than 4 people, based on the age of your child (if you have
more than one, the child you wish to focus on) and discuss the assigned topic with
reference to your own experiences with challenges in that area, and specific strategies
that work for you within the topic area assigned. Review the “Encouraging Phrases”
handout and above strategies as resources in your discussion.
Each group will write down the strategies to share with the rest of the group.
Take notes here: