Learning Self Control Early Drives Success

Developing Your Next Brain, or making an effort to improve brain function and reach peak cognitive performance takes a lot of work. One reason we do it is to live a more successful life.  While life success has many facets most agree that a cornerstone is self control. Being able to shape our own thinking and emotional responses, manage impulses, avoid self defeating assumptions and persistence in the face of obstacles is critical to living the good life.  This has little to do with IQ and a lot to do with your ability to manage yourself.

There is considerable evidence to support this claim. Take for example, the recent research reported in Science News that suggests:

Good self management skills as early as age three predict health and wealth in adulthood.

The findings are dramatic:

“Low levels of conscientiousness, perseverance and other elements of self-control in youngsters as young as age 3 herald high rates of physical health problems, substance abuse, financial woes, criminal arrests and single parenthood by age 32, says an international team led by psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi of Duke University in Durham, N.C.”

How can children develop higher levels of self-control?  Research from another group reported in the article claimed behavioral rewards,  developing coping skills and role playing simulation using videotape are key. None of this is rocket science. For example, coping skills can include blowing bubbles and making funny faces. The rub is to learn to do these things rather than getting angry or stressed and yelling at others or giving up on a goal.

Very interested to hear from readers that have experience with specific techniques for improving self control and self management skills in children.