Self Control: Making mistakes and apologies

matesWhen we talk about self control, one of the hardest moments is when we are being criticized by another person. Especially if the other person is someone close to us, a family member in particular. Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be when a husband or wife, mother or father criticizes? It may even trigger something inside of us from a previous event that makes it difficult to maintain our self control.

Here is a 5 step process to maintain self control and not have even more damage control to do later in the relationship.

  1. Be willing to accept criticism. If we say the first thing that pops into our head it may be retaliatory and we probably have not thought about the position of the other person. Most of the time the criticism is given with good intentions, and while we may not agree with it at that moment, learning to accept that the other person sees us in this way may help us in our relationship.
  2. Take a time out. Reacting to the person in the heat of the moment may find us saying or doing something that we will later regret. We need at least 20 minutes to allow the adrenaline to slow down – sometimes more time. This is not a time to drive a car or beat a pillow, but is time to take some deep breaths, take a walk and cool off. (if you do leave the situation set a time that you will return and do not just stomp out)
  3. Do not bring up the past. When we have cooled down and we have started the conversation back up with the person that spoke to us, we do not want to bring up past events or things said. This only fuels both parties anger.
  4. Listen. Of course we want to tell our side of the story, but if you truly want to bring peace to a situation listen first to how the other person is feeling – really listen. You may find an area that deserves your apology and the other person if they feel listened to, will be more likely to hear your thoughts too.
  5. Say, “I am sorry.” Contrary to the belief of some – all humans have the ability to use those words and when done so in a sincere manner are very helpful in getting everyone in better control. Especially if this is a family member that you have a disagreement with, just ask yourself, ‘If this was my best friend, how would I talk to them, what would I say?’

Self control and anger control or management are two subjects that are very close in nature. During the month of March we will be talking about anger management. In addition I will be teaching a class for Anne Arundel Community College on anger management for kids. I am looking forward to sharing that experience with everyone.

Assertive speech requires self control, yields self esteem

There are three ways of responding to any situation; passively, assertively, aggressively. The way we respond requires self control and has a direct affect on our own self esteem. Our ability to control how we respond demonstrates the respect we have ourselves and others. For parents of young children we want them to learn to stand up for themselves in a manner that they can have respect for themselves and their requests while demonstrating respect for those that they are speaking to.

girls swingSo lets say that our child is on the playground and a situation arises that is aggressive behavior towards them, someone is on purpose excluding them from a game or they have pushed them away from a playground toy not allowing them to play on the slide or swings. They have asked nicely their companion to have a turn or to play with no good results. One of the steps we teach them is to speak to an adult about any situation they do not know how to handle. So they go to the playground teacher. Continue reading “Assertive speech requires self control, yields self esteem”

4 STEP’s to learning self control

Teaching Children Life SkillsTaking time to think through our choices, not doing the first thing that pops into our head is a lot easier for us to say than for us or our children to do. When I ask our students if they have ever said something or done something that after it was done or said – they wish they could get it back, because they knew it was not a good choice, virtually all of them said it had happened to them before.

Our behavior and words are ours and only us as individuals can control our behavior. Unfortunately when our emotions are high either in anger, frustration or excitement we do or say something that doesn’t work out well and we suffer the consequences.

For adults and our older students we are suggesting the STEP method of training ourselves. (1) STOP. take a break, step away, take some calming breaths. (2) THINK. what are some solutions I might take. (3) EVALUATE. for each solution we come up with ask, is it safe, is it fair, will it work? (4) PROCEED make a choice of a solution that meets the requirements and take action. Ask yourself, Is there any better solutions?

For our young students we talked to them about our brain being like a stop light. If we just GO without stopping first things might happen that would not be safe or fair. So when we are angry, sad, excited or impatient we want to Red Light – STOP and think Yellow Light – Slow down and think what are my solutions? Green Light – choose one that you are willing to accept any consequences and GO!

Using this with our children is an example of emotional coaching, guiding our children to discover answers within themselves versus us telling them “Stop behaving like that.”

How can we help you?  Our classes, coaching or advocacy work will give you that extra voice in helping your children learn these important skills.

Life Skills: Self Control – The Definition

Teaching Children Life SkillsEach month we discuss a life skill with all of our students.  This month the word is Self Control and will be defined in the following ways for our students.  


Young students:  “I stop and think before I act!”

Older students: Taking the time to think through choices rather than acting on impulse.

Each age group has a worksheet that parents can use to continue the discussion at home with their children, and one for adults to allow them to think more deeply about the life skill and how it applies to them.  Would you like to receive the worksheet?  Just send us an email and tell us the age of your child you would like to share this with.  We will email it and you can follow our discussions here on our website.

If you would like to become a member of Balanced Life Skills, come a TRY A CLASS FREE.  We are not your typical martial arts school.  Balanced Life Skills works with school aged children to increase their focus, confidence and life skills.  We teach the arts of physical fitness, self defense, creativity while also encouraging community engagement and service.

Self control: dealing with temptations

Lets look at how we can use our self control when we are tempted by something that may be appealing to us.  From the simple point of view if we look at something in the store or at something that belongs to someone else, while we may want it or something like it we would not steal it.  We know that taking something that does not belong to us, no matter how much we want it would be the wrong thing to do and would have very bad consequences.  We know that when that trust has been broken between individuals it is very hard to get back and using our self control is how we can maintain a high level of trust with our parents, friends, teachers, and employees / employers.

But this is not the only kind of temptations around us.  We may be tempted to not tell the truth, especially if we are scared or think we are about to get into trouble.  It takes a great deal of character and self control to stop ourselves from stealing or lying to others.  But there are temptations all around us.  For each one of us they are going to be different.  For some temptations may come in the form of food, intimacy, drugs, alcohol, gambling. For some we find ourselves lying to ourselves, the greatest form of deception, about whatever it is that is tempting to us.   So how do we guard ourselves from these sorts of things?

By taking the STEP.  STOP and take a deep breath or two.  Count to ten get away from the situation for a minute to give yourself time to THINK up some solutions.  Write them down, think about each way you could deal with the situation.  The EVALUATE all the possible solutions with 3 questions; Will this solution work, Is it safe and Is it fair?  When all 3 of those questions can be answered in a positive way then we can choose from the solution options that meet that criteria for what is best for us and immediately PROCEED with the plan.

Now while this is harder to do than it is to say, the way we get ourselves strong enough to use our self control at our command is to practice it on little things.  For instance I know that I need to do physical activity every day.  So have I set a time to do that?  When that time comes do I make excuses to refrain or do I make a personal victory by carrying out my plan?  When you have the little victories on a daily basis, when there is a bigger temptation we will have grown that muscle strong enough to demonstrate our self control. 

As a parent we can set the example and show our children when we are using our self control, and point out what and why we are doing it.  We can encourage them to do the same and celebrate with them when they display self control.  Talking and using the words on a consistent basis will be a great reminder for both parent and child.

Self control: doing the right thing

When we apologize quickly and sincerely we can fix many of the mistakes we make due to the lack of self control.  But there is another way that ‘doing the right thing’ comes into play when we talk about self control.  That is by thinking for ourselves even when our friends want us to do something that we don’t think is right.  All of us are going to find ourselves in a position when someone; schoolmate, friend, workmate, boss, is going to ask us to do something that does not feel right to us and then the question is, “Will we use our thinking ability and self control to not give in to peer pressure and do something that we will regret later?” 

The same S.T.E.P. is required for this situation also.  First we need to Stop and not say or do the first thing that comes into our head.  Then we need to THINK about the possible solutions to the situation.  Then we need to EVALUATE all of the possible solutions.  (Is it the right thing to do, will it work, is it safe, is it fair?)  Then we need to PROCEED. 

No matter whether we are an adult or a teen when we proceed in a situation that calls for us to stand up to peer pressure we first must Stand Tall, Look them in the eyes, say NO like we mean it, and why you won’t do it.  Being assertive is the key to success in our quest to demonstrate self control.  This is not being mean, angry or vindictive.  We simply are following our plan to stay in control of our lives – not allowing others to persuade us to do something that we do not believe is the right thing to do. 

We teach this to our children by demonstrating on small scale these attributes.  When we spill something or break something we fix it.  If we hurt someones feelings, we fix it.  When we are asked to be a part of a gossipy conversation we take a stand.  Our expectations for ourselves and our children will be demonstrated on a daily basis so that they see self control in action.  Even in our diet;  what we eat and drink, how much we eat and drink, how and when we exercise, our sleeping habits all are a demonstration of our self control.  Helping our children to see how we do this and the example of others that we can show them is key to them growing up with this quality.