I believe that self-regulation happens over time as humans grow and mature. For instance, my seventh grade students have a hard time regulating their behavior and emotions. Dr. Stosny from Psychology Today (2011) defines self-regulation as “the ability to act in your long-term best interest, consistent with your deepest values” (para. 1). In my classroom, I notice that my students have a hard time thinking about their long-term best interest. They can barely make it to lunch, let alone think how their decisions affect them in the long-run. I think back to when I was their age, and I was so emotional and had a hard time controlling my behavior. But I can see how I have grown up and become better at self-regulation as the years have gone by.
Daily, I self-regulate by managing my behavior. If a student makes me upset, instead of reacting in a way that would jeopardize my job or hurt the feelings of the student, I try to approach the situation in a way that is professional and caring. I do not just say what first comes to mind, but instead I assess the situation and react accordingly. As an educator, it is my job to teach not only Texas History, but citizenship and character values. I try to set an example for my students.
Learning how to self-regulate is important for many reasons. It helps you remain focused on what really matters, your values and goals, rather than getting caught up in the emotion. Having proper communication with yourself and others can help this process. When humans grow and mature, they are learning how to effectively communicate with others. Think of a toddler. When their mother is talking to a friend, toddlers demand attention right when they need it. They do not usually wait patiently, but instead interrupt a conversation for their own needs. As they grow, if taught manners, the child learns to wait for a moment to interrupt or to say “excuse me” before interrupting. The parent is teaching the child to self-regulate and control their behavior.
As Dr. Stosny points out in his article, “consistent self-regulation requires focus on your deepest values rather than feelings” (2011, para. 16). When you learn how to self-regulate, you are free to pursue your goals and focus on your most important values. This creates an identity that is self-motivated and goal oriented. Learning self-regulation is one of the most important values a person could have.
Stosny, S. (2011, October 28). Self-Regulation. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201110/self-regulation