Our kids have been struggling in our house lately with something called impulsiveness. The idea that they can do whatever they want to, when they want to do it, has created unrest and chaos in our home. They have been so wrapped up in themselves they have lost sight of how their actions are affecting those around them. It was time for us to teach our kids to exchange impulsiveness for self control.
I began by sitting the kids down and explaining to them what the word impulsive means. I explained to them that impulsive means doing something without thinking. I further explained that impulsive actions usually lead to someone or something getting hurt. Here is an example from our house. Naomi drew a picture for a relative of ours and left it on our dinning room table. Titus had been sitting with Maddie watching her play a video game. He saw Naomi’s drawing and the markers beside it. Before I had time to say anything he had the marker covers off and was drawing on Naomi’s paper.
I know that if Titus had used self control and had stopped to think about what his brain was telling him to do, he would have stopped. Titus loves Naomi and he does not intend to be a frustration to her. This is an example of a moment Titus chose to be impulsive rather than to think through his actions. His impulsive actions caused Naomi to get understandably angry, tears started flowing, and Titus felt terrible about what he had done.
This may be a small offense in our adult eyes, but in Naomi’s eyes it felt huge. It is my hearts desire to teach my kids to begin thinking about what their mouths are saying and what their hands are doing. It matters! The adults they are growing up to be needs to learn to tame and conquer their impulses.
After we talked about the definition of impulsive, we talked about what the opposite of impulsive would be. The kids decided the answer is self control. When they were able to come up with this conclusion on their own I knew we were headed in the right direction. They began to see how self control leads to love, joy, peace, and patience in our house.
When they stop and think about what others are doing around them our space becomes peaceful. Here is another example. Maddie and Titus where in the kitchen making themselves sandwiches for lunch. In the midst of making their sandwiches they began to get silly which lead to them running around the house. I stopped them and asked them to think about what those around them where doing. Causing them to think about how their actions of running around the house and being loud would affect those around them. They realized that Timmy was sleeping and if they woke him up he would be fussy. If he was fussy I would not be able to play with them if I needed to console their little brother. They also realized that Mark was working and it may prevent him from getting done sooner. Which means daddy may not have time to play with them if he continues to be distracted. They also realized they could have unknowingly smeared peanut butter around the house. A moment of self control can prevent a whole chain of negative events from happening.
When they realized they could choose self control Timmy continued napping peacefully, Mark was able to work without distraction, and the peanut butter ended up in their mouths instead of on the walls.
Our home has begun to be a place of love, joy, peace, and patience once again. We have begun to consider one another and we have begun to take into consideration how our actions and reactions in a moment will affect us in the long time. It is a lesson we will continue to work on and perfect. Having peace and joy in our home is worth it!