Benefits of Enforcing Delayed Gratification with Your Child

Article at a Glance

  • Instant gratification can lead to addiction and depression over time.
  • Delayed gratification sets up your children for future success.
  • Children struggle with delaying gratification; parents need to teach them.
  • Encourage goal setting, patience, and good decision-making with your child.

Every parent can relate to the struggle of dealing with a child who isn’t getting their way. As a parent, your first instinct may be to give your child everything they want to prevent a tantrum or because you want to make them happy, but is that the best option?

An article published in Deseret News recently commented on the dangers of constant pleasure: 

Too much pleasure creates problems. . . . Instant gratification in the form of immediate deliveries, phone feeds, entertainment offerings or even fruit always in season contrasts with most of human history in which our ancestors walked miles for a little honey and experienced entertainment rarely.

As with anything that gives instant pleasure with little effort, addiction can quickly set in. This addiction prevents people from experiencing pleasure or gratification from things like exercise or learning, which require significant effort.

One way to help your child avoid the dangers of constant pleasure or over-indulgence is by teaching them the value of delayed gratification and enforcing it when they are younger. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation of an immediate reward in order to receive a greater reward later on. This skill is essential for success in life, and it can be taught to children from a young age.

The Benefits of Delayed Gratification

One of the most famous studies on delayed gratification is the Stanford marshmallow experiment. In this study, children were given a choice between eating a marshmallow immediately or waiting 15 minutes to receive two marshmallows. The study found that children who were able to delay gratification had better life outcomes in general. They had higher test scores, lower rates of obesity, and better social skills.

Teaching your child delayed gratification can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. Here are some benefits of enforcing delayed gratification with your children:

  1. Improved self-control: Delayed gratification helps children develop self-control. They learn to resist the temptation of immediate rewards and focus on long-term goals.
  2. Better decision-making skills: Children who learn delayed gratification are better at making decisions. They learn to weigh the pros and cons of different options and choose the best one.
  3. Higher academic achievement: Children who have good self-control and decision-making skills tend to perform better academically. They are better able to focus on their studies and complete assignments on time.
  4. Improved social skills: Children who learn delayed gratification are better at socializing. They are more patient, empathetic, and able to communicate effectively with others.
  5. Better mental health: Children who have good self-control and decision-making skills tend to have better mental health. They are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
  6. Improved emotional regulation: Children who learn delayed gratification are better at regulating their emotions. They are less likely to have emotional outbursts and more likely to handle stress in a healthy way.

How to Teach Delayed Gratification

Enforcing delayed gratification with your children can be done in several ways. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Set goals: Help your child set goals and work toward achieving them. This will teach them the value of delayed gratification and help them develop self-control.
  2. Encourage patience: Encourage your child to be patient and wait for the things they want. This will help them learn to delay gratification and focus on long-term goals.
  3. Reward delayed gratification: When your child is able to delay gratification, reward them with something they enjoy. This will reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue delaying gratification.
  4. Be a role model: Children learn by example, so be a good role model for delayed gratification. Show your child how you delay gratification in your own life.
  5. Teach decision-making skills: Teach your child how to make good decisions. Help them weigh the pros and cons of different options and choose the best one.

Teaching and enforcing delayed gratification is one of the best things you can do for your child’s future success. It helps develop self-control, decision-making skills, academic achievement, social skills, mental health, and emotional regulation. So the next time your child wants something right away, encourage them to wait a little longer for a greater reward.

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