Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress. In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: self-restraint. Read on for more…
Self-restraint is one of the most important tools we can teach our children, and yet it is often an area in which I see parents struggle themselves. It is hard to teach that which we do not have or know. Self-control, self-restraint, is what keeps over-the-top emotional responses in check. Without self-control, this is so very difficult and I think leads to a house full of yelling, strife and anger.
Many mothers I meet have, often at the root of anger and yelling, a sense of anxiety, worry or helplessness. Self-restraint often checks this underlying root problem by providing a bit of a reality check, a bit of detachment for the moment perhaps, and enables us to reject the negativity within.
This may be perhaps one of the hardest things to develop in ourselves, and yet, we must try. Many articles that one reads about self-control has to do with eating and advises things such as being positive, having a plan in place, having support. These are things that I advised in the beginning of this series – keeping a journal, having an accountability partner, and looking at self-care. Do you eat, sleep, exercise? This is a piece that is the foundation of everything else.
But I think the other piece to this is a more side-ways approach. Anything that you set your mind to and start and finish from beginning to end helps build self-control and self-restraint. Many of the mothers I meet and talk to say they are so scattered with everything that needs to happen that they feel they cannot complete anything. So, practice putting the essential in order and doing the essential completely first. This works on self-restraint and self-control and will carry over into your parenting. Other ways we naturally model this is through such disciplines as religious fasting, following an exercise program, following a way to clean our homes during the week, having a rhythm to our days. All of these steps help build inner self-control.
I think the other piece is to be decisive. Making choices, following through, and being confident will also translate into a parenting that is sure-footed and controlled. There is such a huge amount of information out there today related to any aspect of parenting, schooling, homeschooling. An ability to weed through that in some way and make the choices that are right for you and your family in a timely way will also help develop your self-restraint and control.
Lastly, working on what we say and how we say it is so important. Listening to the other carefully without an agenda, without a judgment is the first step. To pause, breathe, think and then respond is the last step – if a response is even needed. With children, we often need a calm follow-through in order to help further guide a child’s actions since they often do not work well off of words alone.
Think of all the ways in which you build up your self-restraint, and build upon your successes.
Blessings and love,