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Benefits of Self-Control Being Taught at a Young Age

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There are many different values humans learn in their lifetime. Some include, empathy, integrity, and self-control. We grasp these moral values at numerous points of our lives. Some of us learn from experience; others get taught, and some teach themselves. One of these essential values is self-control. The definition of self-control according to Psychology Today is, “Self-control—or the ability to subdue one’s impulses, emotions, and behaviors in order to achieve longer-term goals…” To elaborate, having self-control means having the skill to control your urges to accomplish your goals and desires. In the modern-day world, there are many problems that surround us. Such as, economic problems, crime related problems, health problems, poor performance at school or workplace. Many of these problems can be solved by practicing self-control. The benefits of self-control include, better health, forming stronger relationships and tremendously improving your quality of work.

Since self-control is beneficial, it should be taught at a younger age. According to a group of researchers at Columbia University, “Kids learn faster than adults because the prefrontal cortex of the brain, where working memory is stored, is more developed more in adults than children. Due to the development of the prefrontal cortex, adults experience functional fixedness and that makes adults see everything exactly as it is.” In simpler words, children learn faster than adults, which makes it harder for adults to see things differently and change their perspective of situations. In the early 1970s, a psychologist named Walter Mische conducted an experiment called the “Stanford Marshmallow experiment.” Children were sat down and asked if they would want one treat right now, or two treats later.

The child was left alone in the room alone for fifteen minutes with the treats. Years later, a follow up was done on the children. The research showed that the children that waited patiently for the second marshmallow had higher SAT scores, low obesity rates, better social skills and better response of stress. Taught at a young age, children will have the willpower to face hardships that they may face in their lives.

One of the problems’ children can face using self-control will be health problems, such as obesity. According to the Center of Disease Control, “The prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of US adults in 2015~2016.” The obesity rates across the world are also increasing. According to Stanford University, one of the primary ways you can cure and prevent obesity is using diet. The use of self-control while being on a track of getting healthier is crucial. Changing anything about yourself for the better requires dedication and hard work. According to Shahram Heshmat, a professor at the University of Illinois, “A phenomenon called emotional eating. In a bad mood, people are drawn to unhealthy foods (eating sugary and fatty) as a coping mechanism.”

This phenomenon increases the prevalence of obesity. If somebody who is trying to eat healthier reaches this point and has been taught self-control, they will be able to mentally resist the unhealthy food they see. If children are taught self-control, they will be able to continue to stay healthy for the rest of their lives.

Emotional self-control can improve your quality of work. According to researchers at Harvard College, “Lower self-control can lead employees to spend less time on difficult tasks, exert less effort at work, be more distracted (e.g., surfing the internet in working time), and generally perform worse than they would had their self-control been normal.” This piece of evidence states, that having a lower self-control can reduce your potential and motivation. The researchers also state that not having enough self-control can cause you to act antisocial in professional environments. Hence, not practicing self-control often can impact you negatively, so teaching children at a young age about self-control will help their professional life as they get older.

Self-control also has a beneficial impact on relationships. It affects friendships and relationships in similar ways. Self-control also changes your interactions with the people that matter to you in a positive way. According to the Journal Of Consumer Research, “…The higher self-control individuals’ motivation to act in a prorelationship manner leads them to assent to their lower self-control partner’s indulgent preferences.” In other words it means, the individual with higher self-control tends to avoid unnecessary arguments about petty things in relationships and friendships. Hence, they tend to go with their significant other’s preferences for smaller things, like preference on food, clothing, etc. If children are taught how to keep a toll on their negative emotions while in a stressful situation, they will be able to resist their anger, and will be able to think more logically with a clearer mind. Children will not want to argue with the important people in their life, which will result to relationships being longer and stronger.

One may object self-control is not a necessary virtue for children to learn, and there are many other important values a child can learn instead of self-control; such as honesty, dedication and empathy. While these values are also very important, all of them tie back to self-control. If you are trying to teach a child how to be honest, you must teach them self-control to prevent them from lying; they will control their urge to lie. When taught dedication, children will also need to know how to keep control on themselves, their emotions and their urges in order to achieve long-term goals. Same goes for empathy; if a child does not have understanding and control over their own emotions, they will not be able to step into another person’s shoes and understand what they are feeling.

Therefore, as proved by the evidence, self-control is a beneficial value to learn as a child. Since children learn faster than adults, teaching them self-control as a virtue that is continuously practiced will help them throughout their lives. It will help them gain better eating habit, and they will have a better health in general. They will also be better in a professional work space. Evidence proves that people who been taught self-control, will be more motivated than those who haven’t been taught self-control. Children will also be able to form better relationships as they grow older, and will be able to see multiple perspectives of a situation. In conclusion, self-control should be taught to children, so they prosper and succeed with their lives.

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