Monday, September 29, 2008

Willpower and Kids

Every so often I get a newsletter for dieting, exercise and so on. The article on it this morning caught my attention because of what the author said about willpower.

"...being aware of your emotional triggers so that you can avoid them, Jillian says. She is not a big believer in the concept of willpower...thinks it is far better to control your environment to guarantee success. For instance, instead of telling yourself you are not going to eat any bread when you go to a restaurant, make an immediate request to the waiter not to bring any bread to the table...willpower just amounts to temporary moments of bravado."

I think she's right -- and it makes a really good argument for controlling certain behaviours and attitudes in general. We can talk all we like about training our kids to resist temptation, but let's face it -- it's hard. It's doubly hard when there are no holds barred on the things available for them to sample.

Where does that leave us parents? In the unenviable role of removing some things from our children's reach -- much as we would a pot on a hot stove when the toddler cruises by.