Discipline that is imposed is inferior to self-discipline.
Self-discipline is a slow process that starts with a realisation that it is necessary. This realisation doesn’t dawn at the same time on every child. It can happen anytime. Something makes an impact on the child; maybe a story or a film, maybe losing a race, a casual remark made by a teacher, or wanting to perform on stage and get applause. It happens at an individual level and follows a unique experience that seems to draw aside a curtain in his mind. Things are no longer the same after that thought has been thought and that feeling has been felt. . .
Being close to our child will help us notice when that happens. We understand how passionately he feels about something, passionate enough to exercise self-discipline in pursuing it.
Acquiring self-discipline is a process that takes time. Backsliding is as common as it is with diet or exercise programs we adults commit ourselves to. As long as we intuitively gauge his commitment to what he is trying to excel at, that’s enough.
The ignition key has been turned. He’ll learn to handle the gears, the accelerator and the brakes, and keep an eye on the road as well!