This study used a theoretically-derived set of items of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment to develop the Achenbach Self-Control Scale (ASCS) for 7–16 year olds. Using a large dataset of over 20,000 children, who are enrolled in the Netherlands Twin Register, we demonstrated the psychometric properties of the ASCS for parent-, self- and teacher-report by examining internal and criterion validity, and inter-rater and test–retest reliability. We found associations between the ASCS and measures of well-being, educational achievement, and substance use. Next, we applied the classical twin design to estimate the genetic and environmental contributions to self-control. Genetic influences accounted for 64–75% of the variance in self-control based on parent- and teacher-report (age 7–12), and for 47–49% of the variance in self-control based on self-report (age 12–16), with the remaining variance accounted by non-shared environmental influences. In conclusion, we developed a validated and accessible self-control scale, and show that genetic influences explain a majority of the individual differences in self-control across youth aged 7–16 years.