The virtue of the month at Parent Cue is Self Control. When I found that out I tried to skip this month. I asked Reggie if I could sit this one out because I’m so terrible at that particular virtue. He beat me in a game of basketball though, did not see that dunk coming, so here I am.

At Orange, we define self-control as: “Choosing to do what you should do, not what you want to do.” Today, I’m going to teach you a really simple way to teach your kids about self-control.

Are you ready? Here are the steps.

  1. Tell your kids that it’s dangerous to use your phone in the car.
  2. Don’t use your phone in the car.
  3. Repeat as necessary.

Was that too quick? Let’s jump into a little more detail.

Eventually, your kids are going to drive, and when they do, you are going to give them an impassioned lecture about phone safety. But, if for the previous 16 years they’ve watched you use your phone in the car, they’re going to completely ignore you.

If your actions scream one thing and your words another, kids don’t listen.

So, one of the best ways to teach self-control is to have self-control.

If you’re already a perfect parent who locks their phone in the trunk of the car and never, never, never, never sends a text while driving, that’s great. Maybe instead you should practice not bringing your phone to the dinner table or not being on it when you’re helping your kids with homework. I promise there’s at least one area of your life where you need more self-control with the phone.
The best way to teach a lesson is often to live a lesson first.

Try it with your phone in 2016.