Self Control is one of the most important things you will teach your child. I hope these books and video on self control will help. If you view our world, you see an impulsiveness that leads to destruction. It is going to take a lot of intentional training to teach our kids to stand up under the pressures they see around us. Self control comes into play as kids are learning to navigate food, substances, anger, sex, stealing, cheating, listening, school behavior and work, and the list really could go on and on. We also need to teach them how to navigate their feelings of anger, jealousy, lust and impulsiveness. We want to capture their hearts on this issue. We will lose this battle if we are an authority figure in their lives forcing them to do the right thing all the time. It will become parental control, and the moment they are out from under your thumb, they will have not figured out how to have their own self control. Don’t get me wrong. I am all about boundaries, setting limits and having consequences. However, these are heart issues. There are times we need to let our kids fail and experience the pain and consequences of disobedience or carelessness. We want their hearts to understand why self control is so important, and I think literature can really aid in this conversation. It is not a lecture from you. It is a story that brings truth to light. As we try and navigate raising our kids in a world that glorifies and abuses freedom and rebellion, we need to teach them what real freedom means. We do have the choice to sin or obey, but we need to teach about the freedom that comes as we submit to God’s ways. He sets his ideals for self-control so as it make our lives better. It doesn’t mean a perfect and easy life by any means, but it does mean that we can break free from the bondage of sin, guilt and natural consequences when self control is not in play.
* Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Howard Binkow – Learning to listen is a part of having self control. I know that my own kids can be squirmy and focused on their own things so much that they don’t stop what they are doing and really learn to listen. This story shows the consequences of not knowing how to listen. It shows this bunny’s transformation from ignoring others and instruction to learning to listen. It demonstrates the rewards experienced when he does listen and have self control. It also gives instructions in the back of the book for how to listen better. The illustrations are super cute and the points are clearly shown in a way children can really grasp.
* Overdoing It by Joy Berry – This book is part of Joy Berry’s “Help Me Be Good” series. It tackles issues like overeating, staying up too late, being around one person too much, staying in one place for too long, watching TV too much, and being too rough. Part of having self-control is learning to set proper boundaries. This book clearly addresses the issues and then gives thinking and practical strategies for making different choices. I love the “Help Me Be Good” Series and would encourage you to look into it for your own kids.
* The Trouble with Larry by Doug Peterson – This story addresses the issue of self control through learning to listen. The detective, Larry, has a hard time listening and following directions, which leads to all sorts of trouble in his work. Bob and Larry are also investigating the issues of Junior Asparagus who is having troubles at school. He is doodling and not paying attention, and it is being reflected in his poor grades. It takes a lot of self control for kids to listen and focus in school. As always, these Veggie Tale character bring laughter and whimsy to the topic of self control and learning to listen.
* Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard – This is a book that I read when I was a child. I was thrilled when my daughter picked it out from her school library this week. It’s actually a good reminder to moms that kids develop more self control as we create boundaries, discipline and structure. We could do it in a more pleasant way than Miss Viola Swamp, but you can be pleasant but firm (which I often find challenging as a mom). The kids in Miss Nelson’s class do learn that they, too, can have self control.
* Mister Rogers and What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel – Life Lessons: Self-Control, Expressions and Healthy Outlets – My generation has warm and fuzzy feelings about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. When my library offered up this VIDEO, I was excited to bring it home to my kids. This video importantly deals with the concept of what to do with the anger we feel inside. We need to teach our kids that it is OK to feel angry. When we do feel anger, we need to find positive ways to express it and manage it.
* My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
* David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon
* No Fits, Nilson by Zachariah O’Hara
* You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman
* Think Before You Act: Learning about Self-Disciple and Self-Control by Regina Burch
* The Child’s World of Self Control by Henrietta Gambill
* Sometimes I like to Fight but I Don’t Do it Much Anymore by Lawrence E. Shaprio
* The Goodnight Caterpillar by Lori Lite
* Don’t Bite, Dwight by Diana Waterman