Issues of impulse control in children can create problems that only worsen over time. Quality of life can be seriously affected. Former therapist, Christy Monson, offers doable techniques and tips for helping youngsters manage frustration make better decisions regarding behavior.
My husband and I are giving service at an inner-city retirement high-rise. Many of these people have never learned to control their behaviors. Some led professional lives, but because of impulsive decisions, lost their businesses and their money. Others have drug and alcohol problem because of their lack of control. They trade drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and money back and forth, according to the impulse of the moment.
I am teaching an addictions class right now and have found limited success with a modified group of behavioral expectations that I used with children in my counseling practice. Because of the struggle many of these people have, and because of the poor quality of life they now participate in, I implore everyone I come in contact with to teach impulse control to their children and grandchildren.
Here are a few of the techniques that have been effective in my class.
1. Look for the primary emotion underneath the anger, fear, eating, or whatever the impulsive behavior is. Discuss it with your child.
2. Set a pattern: STOP, THINK, CHOOSE. Make a visual and talk about this thinking process.
3. Develop clear expectations.
4. Have a daily report in place.
5. Use positive incentives, like a token economy. (Every time a positive behavior happens, put a bean in a jar. As soon as the jar is full, have a party.)
6. Give predictable consequences.
7. Always PRAISE THE POSITIVE
Enjoy your children. Raise them according to your standards and beliefs, BUT teach them to control themselves so that they will become healthy adults who are able to enjoy a quality retirement in their later years.###
Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].