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February 26, 2015

Four Traits That Will Launch Your Teen Into Adulthood — Part 4: Self-Discipline

ScreamFree_Nov_2014_0048Earlier this week, we started a discussion of the traits that your teen needs to be successfully launched into adulthood. Those traits are resourcefulness, grit, curiosity, and self-discipline. Today’s discussion is on self-discipline.

Self-Discipline: the act of disciplining or power to discipline one’s own feelings, desires, etc., especially with the intention of improving oneself

In many ways, this could be the hardest trait to instill in our children. Why? Well, what word does this trait start with? SELF. Self-discipline is directed by the self, not by the parent, not by the coach, not by the teacher.

So how do we encourage our teens to grow in self-discipline? It starts with our own example. How self-disciplined are we?

Warning: this might hurt.

Look at the following list and give yourself a grade on how well disciplined you are:

  • Managing your emotions
  • Handling conflict
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Balancing work and rest
  • Amount of time spent on technology (phone, TV, internet)
  • The manner in which you treat others
  • Exercise
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep

I told you it might hurt!  Our “encouragement” to be self-disciplined is going to fall on deaf ears if our kids look at our lives and see chaos, laziness, and excess. How can we expect maturity from our kids if our hypocrisy is through the roof?

An honest and sincere confession is often the best place to start. “You know, kids, I’ve realized that my life has become off kilter. I haven’t been very disciplined when it comes to the amount of time I spend on my phone and computer. I want to be more balanced, so I’m determined to put them down on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve decided that they will both be off by 7 pm each night.”

Then DO IT! Live it out.

An even better approach would be to do it for several weeks without mentioning your resolve and see if your family notices. After all, actions speak louder than words.

ScreamFree teaches that parents set the tone in the home, and that starts with choosing to be people of integrity. So let’s resolve to live as self-disciplined parents, not just so our kids will follow our example, but because we know it’s the right thing to do.

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