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Character Education - Self Control
by Caroline Regan, guidance counselor

Character education self-control training. That is, how do we teach self-control? Guidance counselors constantly deal with students who have not learned to control themselves. These students did not learn at home, and have not learned in school. They do not control their bodies, wriggling in seats, bouncing up to run needlessly to sharpen a pencil. They do not control their tongues, talking when they should be quiet. They do not control their anger, which most frequently brings them to me.

Character education self-control training can help them control anger, whether they are beginners in preschool or seniors in high school. And believe me, I have seen my full share of seniors who do not control anger. We can give them the gift of self-control and set their lives on a new track. But first, we have to learn it ourselves. We have to be the best role model they know.

   

Teaching self-control can involve many things, and the definition can become complex, but here is a simple one we can use with most children:

Self-control is knowing how to act, wanting very much to act differently, but making ourselves act the right way.

Character education self-control training is, I feel, a very personal thing. We are asking children and teens to consciously exercise restraint over their impulses, emotions, and desires. The little boy who is tempted to wriggle when he has been told to sit still may have to exert tremendous effort to control his body. The teen who has always spoken her mind, right down to the juiciest gossip, will have to exert great effort to control her tongue. Many will have to exert effort to cool their anger rather than letting it explode. I think it might be good to give them a chart that lists steps to anger control.

Character education self-control training will want to emphasize the key - effort, or restraint. We will want to be sure our students know what the standard of behavior is without threatening them. We will want to help them recognize feelings, impulses or emotions that indicate a rising desire to act contrary to the standard. We will want to give them ways to restrain those feelings. We will want to give teens specific training in sexual self-control. Such training will pay for itself many times over.
 

 

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