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Helping parents raise healthy and responsible kids.

Chapter Five Excerpt : Self-Discipline

Chapter Five: Self-Discipline: Developing the Muscle to Say No to Something That Feels Good

Becoming a responsible sexual adult starts with understanding that sexuality is an energy that we learn to control and direct in a responsible manner. As our bodies begin to transform into adult bodies, our senses start to respond to sexually stimulating cues in our environment, activating the energy of our desire. As parents, we hope that our children will choose to use this energy in a way that aligns with the values we’ve taught them (see Chapter 8). But too often I see children who have been taught responsible behavior, who can articulate very wisely how they want to conduct themselves, but in that moment when they are filled with desire, are unable to act on their values. What’s missing?

Whether it’s sexual desire or the desire to eat a second helping of cheese cake, if we can’t stop ourselves from immediately gratifying the demands of our senses, all the good intentions and values in the world won’t help. Our children need to understand how the environment that they choose to live in has the power to activate their desires. Once activated, our kids need the internal muscle to stop and assess whether they want to act on their desires or redirect that energy in another way. The best gift we can give our children is helping them develop the muscle to pause when their desires are activated and choose how they want to release the energy of their desires. To have the strength to pause when your senses are demanding gratification, to be able to hold that energy and to choose how you want to use it, is to have developed the muscle of self-discipline.

Self-discipline is a pre-requisite for remaining healthy in every aspect of our lives. But with the risk of AIDS and the prevalence of alcohol abuse among teens, sex is a part of our lives where having self-discipline is critical. Unfortunately there is little in our consumer driven culture that positively reinforces us for saying “no” to that which is pleasurable.

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