Most of our kids live in a bubble of privilege with little to no awareness about the value of money.
In our quest to be perfect parents, we rush to satisfy even their faintest desires, sometimes even pre-empting their wants. We are wracked by guilt if we can’t provide what they want as soon as they want it – and in the right color.
Is it any wonder then, that they regularly come to us with unreasonable requests (well, unreasonable to us – perfectly rational to them) and expect these to be granted immediately?
Impulse control and delayed gratification are hard lessons to teach, especially given our culture of instant gratification.
Want a book? We don’t have to go to the library or bookstore – we can download it to our Kindle. Want to watch to a movie? There’s no need to check movie times – we can download it instantly too. We no longer have to wait an entire week to watch the next episode of our favorite TV series – we can just binge watch the whole season on Netflix.
Technology has improved our lives tremendously, but we must be aware that our compulsion toward instant gratification comes at a price – we are becoming less patient. We are not willing to wait – and our kids are watching.
Learning to wait may be one of the most important lessons you teach your child today to ensure a successful future. Early childhood delays in gratification correlate to better academic performance, higher paying jobs, better health, and more successful relationships.
Every aspect of our curriculum at Kids Finance Initiative emphasizes these twin skills of impulse control and delayed gratification, whether it’s in learning to distinguish between wants and needs, mastering the art of budgeting, or grasping the logic of making wise spending choices.
These are essential life skills that can and should be taught, the sooner the better.
So, the next time your little darling comes to you demanding the next “must have” item on his wish-list – take a deep breath and do just that.
And call us…maybe we can help too.