Mothering Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is one of my favourite flip chart diagrams from my groups. It shows the development of self-control (one of the 4 domains of developing executive function) and also the incidence of aggression. Note how aggression reduces as language develops. Children have 13 years to learn how to harness self-control on their anger and use their words instead of hitting and biting. Yet, there is an expectation gap among parents who think children should have that kind of self-control by age 3. Ages 3-5 they are *beginning* to develop self-control, but it doesn't fully kick in until age 17-18. By age 25, they are expected to fully utilize it. It shows why children don't start formal mandatory school until age 6, because they don't have the self-control yet to sit, be quiet and not poke their little friend.

This doesn't mean that we don't teach. Every time our little one pushes or bites someone, we build their brain architecture by directing and saying, "We don't bite people. Here, bite this ring." One magical day, self-control kicks in and their brain connections are thickened, and they remember, "Hey, we don't bite people. I'm going to bite something else." The constant reminding pays off.

So relax. Self-control is a development issue, not a discipline issue. Teach, but don't expect they are going to understand before they are ready.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Picking up the remote after you’ve told your child not to touch it five times in 10 minutes. Slapping a friend who took the last train off the table at child care—right after she agreed with you that ‘hands are not for hitting.’ Running directly into the ocean after you’ve clearly explained that he can’t go in the water without an adult. These are typical toddler moments that all come down to one thing: self-control, and the lack of it.

Why do young children have so little self-control? The part of the brain responsible for exerting control over the emotional, impulsive part of the brain is not well-developed in children under 3. This is why toddlers are much more likely to act on their desires, such as yanking a toy out of a friend’s hand, rather than saying to themselves, “I really want that toy, but it’s not right to grab, so I am going to go find myself another toy.”

In fact, Tuning In, ZERO TO THREE’s national Parent Survey, found that parents’ expectations of their toddlers often outpace what toddlers are actually able to do when it comes to self-control. When parents were asked at what age children have the ability to resist doing something that parents have forbidden:

56 percent of parents said children could do this before age three (including 18 percent of parents who believed children possessed this ability by six months of age)
44 percent of parents said children could do this at age three years or older
Children don’t actually develop this kind of self-control until 3.5 to 4 years of age, and even then they still need a lot of help managing their emotions and impulses. Children don’t actually develop this kind of self-control until 3.5 to 4 years of age, and even then they still need a lot of help managing their emotions and impulses.

Life with your little one will be (hopefully) much less maddening when your expectations for her are in line with her abilities. It can be a relief to know that your child is acting his age; that he needs help to learn to manage his impulses, and that he is not “misbehaving,” or purposefully trying to drive you crazy, as much as it feels that way. Here are some ideas for nurturing self-control:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Even at age 3.5 to 4 years, children are *developing* self-control. Some don't have it yet and that is within the range of normal development! Thanks for posting.
 

Attachments

1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top