Self Control and other things

Posted November 5, 2016

Hello All:

I read an interesting article on Flipboard today with my coffee that caused me to reflect on my view of self-control and will power.  https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/flip.it%2FjZpiUp-the-myth-of-self-control/f-14c02cbb27%2Fvox.com

So I thought I would connect some of the interesting ideas to what we are doing and teaching at school. First off, I will admit that I see myself as someone with good self-control – controlling my emotions and reactions to stressful situations, but not will power. Here is a a tongue in cheek example. If I see a plate of cookies such as the one pictured in the article, I sometimes feel it is better to eliminate the whole temptation (eat all the cookies) rather than limit intake to just one. This is usually tied to my stress level and the amount of energy I have left to exercise self-control. I think we have all been there.

One of the connections to school and home is behavioural. How are we supporting positive reactions and adaptive strategies (as opposed to maladaptive) to stress producing or conflict situations? Note that stressful situations are not always negative – they can produce resiliency and growth. Currently, our CYC Mrs. Booth, is teaching Tools for Life (http://toolsforliferesources.com/) to our Junior classes. Skills learned through these lessons are to Stop and Think and Decide  on the best tool to deal appropriately with a situation (i.e. Talk it Out, Walk Away, Ask for Help).

So, when your child is getting angry or in a frustrated situation, we encourage them to Stop and Think about what you need to do. You can try this at home. Sometime they just need some time to think (time out) as adults do before we talk through a situation.

Secondly, the article is good support for the Learning Skills being at the forefront of the report card. It points to such skills as organization and goal setting being helpful to actually avoiding tempting situations or stressful situations in the first place. We support this at school through the use of visual schedules and timetables, use of planners or agendas, and setting and reviewing student goals. What do you do at home to encourage and support these skills?

In closing, I thought the article did a good job in pointing out that self-control takes ENERGY and that, depending on the individual (think of my cookie example above), self-control may take a lot of energy. Think about when we as adults are “bombarded” by stress producing things all at once – time for a time out! Now think about how this may be for your child. So the question becomes – when we (or our children) are in a stressful situation, what positive choices can we make? What positive choices can we help our children to make?

 

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