The importance of waiting.

My daughter is right now crying her eyes out because we are making her wait to open a new toy. I had told her before buying the toy that she would have to wait until after dinner to open it, which she agreed to do, but the anticipation and her eagerness proved to be too much and she rapidly went from “Let’s open it tonight after dinner” to “I want to open it NOW!”

I rather think the husband and I have realised a bit late the importance of delaying gratification in a child’s life. At four years old, Alison finds it difficult to wait for anything. Arguably that’s a result of both nature and nurture – she is impatient by nature, and we have nurtured that impatience by never making her wait for anything she asks for. What we have been doing is giving her what she wants if she asks nicely with Ps and Qs intact. Guess we have been focusing too much on manners!

Only after the husband read an article in the papers that mentioned The Stanford Marshmallow Study did we decide that delaying gratification was well worth a try, since waiting is a valuable life lesson that we’ve been neglecting so far.

Doesn’t look like it’s going very well so far. I have been typing this for 10 minutes and she is still screaming. I wonder how long she’ll hold out. This is definitely something to start working on early with Number Two.

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