You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

What your kids really need for success in school

How well your child performs in school is due to lots of factors — talent, family stability, motivation and organization. You’ll be attending meetings at school over the next few weeks where you’ll hear about the importance of making certain your child gets enough rest, eats a nutritional breakfast and exercises regularly.

I’ve been to dozens of these meetings over the years with my three kids, and have yet to hear one teacher (most of whom are dedicated and very caring professionals) discuss the single most important predictor of our kids’ success — self-control.

I don’t know when it became out of fashion to discuss self-discipline. It is the single most important factor that predicts your children’s school performance and later success in life. Even so, teachers and others seem reluctant to talk about this with parents. Here’s what I would tell parents if I were conducting an open-house this week.

1. Use the language of self-control. Your children’s success in my classroom depends a great deal on their ability to control their behavior and emotions. This means they will have to do some things they won’t like in the anticipation of greater rewards in the future. This will be hard for many of our students. I’ll help your children by using words such as self-control and self-discipline to emphasize the importance of controlling their behavior, rather than always relying on others to tell them what to do. I’d ask that you use the same language at home.

2. Stop-think-act. Children learn these self-discipline skills when they can control their impulses and reflect on the consequences of their behaviors before acting. I’ll be teaching your kids a simple three-step way to do this, called “Stop-Think-Act.” I’ll ask them to imagine a red stop sign in their mind before making any important decision, and then think about the various consequences of their choices. I’ll emphasize the importance of delayed gratification, encouraging them to postpone immediate gratification for the good feelings they will have tomorrow.

3. Praise self-control. I’ll be praising your child’s efforts and results. We’ll talk a lot about choices, and why doing what is right is more important than doing what feels good in the moment.

4. Manage the environment. I understand that children have varying degrees of self-control. I’ll work hard to progressively expose kids to more difficult situations as they are able to exert self-discipline in response to modest challenges.

Most students, even many high school kids, don’t have much self-control when placed in an environment that entices them with cell phones, computers and unrestricted time playing with friends. You are the expert on your child’s self-discipline. Please consider restricting such temptations at the beginning of our school year, but gradually reintroduce such privileges as your child demonstrates good management skills.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Ohio Brownie uses special effects video to help promote Girl Scout cookie season
Ohio Brownie uses special effects video to help promote Girl Scout cookie season

An Ohio Brownie made a video to promote Girl Scouts cookie selling season.  But Yula Douglas of Beavercreek didn't want to make just any video. She wanted the full suite of green screen effects, multiple settings, and even animal actors (it includes pet rats).  Yula scripted and directed the video with a little help from her parents...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Colgate Toothpaste This week at CVS, Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste is on sale for $3.99. Visit and click on “Special Offers” to print out a coupon good for 75 cents off this item. Then, when you check out, you will also receive $2...
Local psychologist offers tips on talking to kids about school violence
Local psychologist offers tips on talking to kids about school violence

With many struggling to cope with today’s school shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School, a local psychologist has tips for parents as they respond to questions and concerns about school violence. "I think it's important to allow children to talk about any anxiety or concerns that they may be having," said Mary Beth DeWitt, PhD,...
Teacher’s ‘silly question’ turns out to be a great one

Scott Ervin is an independent facilitator of parenting with Love and Logic and The Nine Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom. He is a parent and behavioral consultant based in the Miami Valley. More information: Q: Dear Kid Whisperer: I teach high school English. I read your column, follow your blog, and I do...
Kellyanne Conway's inauguration outfit sparks criticism
Kellyanne Conway's inauguration outfit sparks criticism

Kellyanne Conway spent her 50th birthday at the inauguration of President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending stories   She attended Friday festivities wearing patriotic colors.  But many people criticized Conway's outfit. Trump's former campaign manager and current senior adviser was dressed in a red, white and blue coat...
More Stories