Raising Happy Diabetic Kids Part III Help Your Child Develop Self-Control
This is the third and final article in a series I wrote about raising happy diabetic kids. While Juvenile Diabetes makes this job tougher the information in these articles applies to raising any child. Diabetic children aren't any different from other children. Their pancreas just doesn't work. However, the emotional toll that diabetes takes on a child, even when blood glucose levels are under fairly good control, must be taken into account whenever we consider what is best for them. We can be very helpful in raising children who are emotionally strong and better able to avoid and overcome these stresses brought on by diabetes by making sure they are raised with a strong foundation of these three basic life skills. Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Self-Control.
It All Starts With Discipline:
In order for our children to develop self-control it is our responsibility to teach them discipline. Discipline is the part of raising our children that causes us the most sleeplessness. It's probably also the part that a lot of parents don't think they get quite right. The thoughts of the "experts" have changed so much that the "old fashioned" discipline we were taught and what has become the so-called "permissive" new tradition are so far apart several things generally happen. We ignore what we were taught, or we ignore the new conventional wisdom, or we become confused and don't carry out our responsibilities properly. I'm as guilty of this confusion from time to time as anybody else is. When you think about it discipline should have three goals.
It must pave the way for our children to acquire Self-Control or self-discipline.
It must be applied in such a way as to allow our children to also develop self-confidence and self-reliance.
Parents must be comfortable with implementing it and feel it works.
The old fashioned "thou shalt not" style discipline and the new permissive style lead to two completely different outcomes in children. With the old fashioned style we end up with children who don't learn to make choices or decisions well for themselves. They find acceptance only if they "do as they are told" and it teaches them in turn to exert power and control over others. On the other hand with a permissive style of discipline our children have too many choices and never know where they really stand. This can lead to insecurity. (and low self-esteem) Our children get used to having their own way and they learn to negotiate and manipulate. We only step in when the behavior goes too far. It always goes to far, they're kids.
How To Develop Self-Control:
By raising our children within a framework of proper discipline we encourage self-control in them. We aren't going to be the boss forever. We are teaching our children to be responsible for themselves. There are three main components to Self-Control. They are habit (hanging up their coat when they come in or doing homework before watching TV), seeing the greater good (doing without something right now in order to get something better later), and the ability to make moral judgments (doing things just because it's the right thing to do). We need to teach our children to think ahead about the consequences of their actions. They should also be taught to accept responsibility for what they do. They need to be taught to make proper rules and to stick to them.
Our kids need to learn to accept disappointment. And also to trust their own judgment. When children learn to see what needs to be done, stick with it until it is done, and not do it just because someone told them to or because they know it will make us happy, then we can pat ourselves on the back.
This is our goal in teaching our children good diabetes control. It will help them realize not only that they have to do it but that they should do it. We as parents of diabetic children have been entrusted with a very difficult and special task. By holding up our end of the responsibility for helping our children develop self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-control, we are preparing them to grow into adults that number one can and will take proper care of their health. And will in turn raise the next generation of happy kids, our grandchildren.
Russell Turner is the father of a 10 year old Type 1 Juvenile Diabetic daughter. When she was first diagnosed he quickly found there was all kinds of information on the internet about the medical aspects of this dsease. What he couldn't find was information about how to prepare his family to live with this disease. He started a website http://www.mychildhasdiabetes.com and designed it so parents of newly diagnosed children would have a one-stop resource to learn to prepare for life with diabetes.
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