Parenting in the current era of information overload and luxuries is not a cakewalk. Delayed gratification can surely create a balance and make responsible kids.
Who doesn’t want a magic wand in their life, which can change everything for the better within seconds? Especially, with parenting today, when we offer rewards and instant gratification in exchange for any work, as an easy way to get temporary relief, no matter what the long-term consequences are.
During my childhood when we had limited resources, I always wished for a magic wand that would help my wishes come true in the blink of an eye. The branded shoes, expensive pens, trendy outfits were nothing less than a luxury. Yet, I’m just 40 and as a mom to two kids who are a part of generation Z, the difference in mindsets is inevitable.
Sometimes, I feel life takes a full circle and new age words like ‘minimalist’ and ‘delayed gratification’ are actually not new. They are rephrased as per the new generation, but the gist is the same. One can say, it’s old wine in a new bottle!
We grew up in a minimalist way, which is the reason I still value things but don’t expect the same with my kids. They are learning to be minimalist and I make sure I add delayed gratification to their life. But what does it mean? Does it mean that one should not enjoy the fruits of hard work? Or one should never be rewarded for a good deed? How can this affect your life? Can parents practice it?
According to Wikipedia, “Delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later”. I must add that it does need discipline and self-control, which is an important life skill and a powerful addition to your personality.
The older generation did not have to learn the skill as it was already part of regular living and society. A hard-earned income those days wasn’t enough to fulfil all desires, even basic ones. Delayed gratification, in fact, helps us to manage situations wisely and judge if the short-term gain is going to prove worthwhile in the long run. In hindsight, the concept is equally powerful as before, except that we tend to abandon it midway, even if it carries a long-term benefit. A little tolerance is what all is required to hone this skill.
Satisfying a child’s need at the drop of a hat is common. The moment they demand something, you fix it within seconds. At times, a demand can be impulsive or triggered by peer pressure. Talk to the kids, make them understand the value in waiting. Most of the time, the demand goes away with time as it was unnecessary, to begin with.
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