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How to guide the child to resist temptations?

Updated on April 14, 2016

What is a ‘temptation’?

Temptation means, “the desire to something, especially something wrong or unwise”. For example, “he was tempted to purchase the ice cream”, “Children are easily tempted towards sweets and chocolates”, “Don’t get tempted by chocolates from strangers”, etc. Temptation also means, “Something that seduces or has the quality to seduce”, for example, “Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit”. Further temptation means, “The desire to have to do something that you should avoid”, for example, “Hostel students are often tempted to stay out for late evenings”. Moreover, temptation means, “The act of influencing by excitement or hope”, for example, “Managers tempt the sales force for achieving extraordinary targets”. Thus, a temptation is a negative trait and though we usually use it frequently it develops undesirable traits in the person. Thus, as long as possible we should avoid giving temptations to the child.

What temptations are applicable to a child?

Children are often easily tempted to perform the forbidden tasks. They by nature are spontaneous, restless and energetic which leads them to such temptations. Children are often tempted to articles, toys, friends, ice creams, chocolates, TV, games, handheld gadgets, etc. To divert the child from such temptations is a Herculean task. We often tend to scold children for getting tempted so easily, where as they still may not have fallen prey to it. Reprimanding children for such normal human psychology of getting tempted so easily is like overreacting and curbing their childhood innocence. As parents, we should be wise enough to handle the temptations of a child normally and easily. Generally, as parents, we often tempt the child in following ways to prepare them timely:

- To wake up the child for the school, we usually tempt them by saying, “if you wake up early then we shall have breakfast together and I shall prepare your favorite snack.”

- So that the child finishes the meals, we often tempt them to take them outdoor for play, or by providing them video games.

- To encourage the child to complete the school work / lesson on time we often tempt them by saying, “if you finish your lesson timely then we shall visit the mall”

- To encourage the child to play outdoor games we often tempt them by saying, “I shall purchase a football if you play with me outdoor”

- To divert the child from toys of their friends we often tempt them by suggesting purchasing similar toys.

Thus, we often use temptations on a day to day lifestyle to divert the child with desired behaviour. This often creates an undesirable behaviour in the child which then has to be curbed with force. If we take some care before using temptations for diverting them then we can avoid large catastrophes in the future.

How easily we tempt the child unknowingly?

Unknowingly, we often tempt our children with things that are not suitable for the long run. For example, you want your child to finish their meals while you finish your work, so easily we resort to allowing them to watch TV or play video games along with having their meals just because you can’t focus on them at that moment. We often tempt our children with unnecessary toys, articles, stationeries, play time, etc. just because we are not able to give them the time and so that they don’t disturb us we allow them the thing of their choice and desire. Thus, the child learns to beg or ask for such permissions at the time you are busy and unknowingly will grant them the permission. There are many such cases where the child learns such undesirable behaviour just because we are not in a position to handle their tantrums if we control them. In a party or a social get together the child will start misbehaving or play mischief just in order to drag your attention to them then during such event we easily grant them using our mobile phone and playing games therein. Thus, we ourselves, give the opportunity to our children to get spoiled just because we are not able to give time or attention. Such events get converted into habits in a very short duration and the child starts demanding as if it was their right. It is then we realize that where the matter has reached and start controlling them by reprimanding them which again is an improper way to motivate good behaviour. We as parents should devote some time and effort towards behaviour management of the child and thus not to tempt them knowingly or unknowingly.

What are undesirable temptations and how do we guide the child to resist them?

Any temptation that further develops into an undesirable habit and behaviour is negative and should be avoided. Examples of it include, playing video games too frequent, not doing homework and making excuses, resistance to healthy food habits and resorting to unhealthy or junk foods, playing outdoor for long hours, visiting places which you denied, demanding things that you usually don’t allow, etc. are the side effects of unhandled temptations or allowing temptations knowingly or unknowingly. Parents should be vigilant and sharp enough to notice such behaviour changes in the child and take immediate and long lasting steps for its prevention and cure. The followings are ways and methods that will help you divert your child without tempting them.

- Explain: inform your child the consequences of resorting to temptations and why you don’t want him to fall prey to it. Make them understand the reason and logic behind it. This way you will fine tune reasoning in your child which will enable him to resist such temptations in your absence.

- Give time: instead of giving gadgets, or toys of desire to your child, give some time to your child. Play with the same old toy in an alternative way and teach them the different plays he can have with the same toy. Giving time to your child will provide security to the child and enhance the feeling of confidence in them which will be required in your absence.

- Follow rules yourself: mostly while trying to infuse good behaviour in children we often forget how we behave with them. This will have a ruining effect on the child and will force them to believe that every parent is like that and children are often neglected. Thus making rules and following it yourself is more important and will guide them to a responsible behaviour.

- Don’t keep nagging: We often have this habit of frequently instructing our child before the child learns from the act. Nagging is a negative trait and will often infuse low self-esteem in the child. If you know that your child is resorting to actions you denied then do not stop them or prevent them, rather monitor them and observe the rewards that your child is going to have due to such actions. Allowing them to experience and then making them understand is a better method than nagging. Let the child learn from self-experience as well rather than by just your set of experiences.

- Don’t Spank: Spanking teaches your child that it's okay to hit someone in order to solve a problem. Don’t hit your child too frequent though you may not physically hurt them but it has a lasting effect on their mind. Rather than spanking, hold on to your decision of not allowing the child with temptations even if the child shows tantrums. Don’t worry it will fade away easily and the next time it may not happen at all.

- Display Correct Approach: Rather than using controlling language and behaviour. Show your child the correct approach yourself. Show them how to eat properly, pour water into the bottle properly, avoid eating chocolates yourself, not resorting to temptations yourself, etc. Showing them the correct and logical approach will make them more responsible in the long run.

- Be Graceful: Even when you are angry, exhibit a graceful behaviour that forces the child to think and control their behaviour when they are angry. Loosing your temper to the tantrums of the child will show them that its ok to behave irritatingly if you are in disagreement with somebody or the situation. Behaving gracefully with your child will teach them to keep respect even during disagreements.

The list of such suggestions is exhaustive and endless. It is only through timely observation and need-based analysis of the situation that will allow you to teach your child how to resist temptations. Well, this is not as easy as mentioned here. The practical of the above theory will require a lot of patience and tolerance yourself. But if you succeed in keep such patience and tolerance then the rewards are much sweeter and desirable. Teaching your child how to resist temptations will require to resist temptations yourself but that is the only sure shot and effective way to such behaviour.


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