Delaying gratification is another important life skill you can help your kids develop. A famous psychological study, called the “Marshmallow Test”, proved this. It showed the effect of impulse control and willpower on academic, emotional and social success. A group of 4-year-olds were given marshmallows. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now, but if they could wait several minutes, they could have two. Some children grabbed a marshmallow and ate it. Others waited, some covering their eyes to avoid seeing the tempting treat. One child even licked the table around the marshmallow!
Over 14 years, the researchers followed the group and found that the “grabbers” suffered low self-esteem and were perceived by others as prone to envy and easily frustrated. The “waiters” coped better and were more socially competent and self-assertive, trustworthy, dependable and more academically successful. The lesson: strong willpower and impulse control will help us stay on task and meet our goals throughout our lives, whether it’s studying instead of watching TV or saving for retirement instead of spending. Setting financial goals is one thing you can do that helps teach delayed gratification. And setting goals can be easy.
Just writing them down and being able to see a list or a collage takes away some of the urgency around buying them. Waiting for a reward by setting goals in this way — and delaying gratification — also helps to counter any attitude of entitlement your kids may have picked up. Many parents also find they can delay gratification on “big ticket” items by connecting them to a special occasion like a birthday, Christmas or holiday.
Source: a Parent’s Guide to raise money-smart Kids – Robin Taub