My Daughter and Delayed Gratification

When I decided to perform the “Marshmallow Test” on my 3-year-old, Cami, I envisioned a blog post about How To Stand Firm While Your Child Melts Down.

The “Marshmallow Test” is an experiment to teach self-control and delayed gratification. A child is given one marshmallow and told they can eat it if they want. BUT, if they can wait until the adult comes back, they will get ANOTHER marshmallow…

I wondered how many parents had seen this adorable video of children resisting temptation in the Marshmallow Test, and how many tried to test their own children at home…

And I imagined lots of parents probably gave in and let their children have more marshmallows, whether they obeyed the rules of the Challenge or not.

I wanted to stress that the most important part of the Test is NOT celebrating when a child gets his/her reward. (Although, kids do need to learn that hard work pays off.) Instead, sometimes the most important lesson is how to deal with disappointment, when you let yourself down.

Kids need to learn that whining and bargaining isn’t a substitute for self-control! And, if there’s one thing I want my children to learn (which many of my peers did not) it’s that people who don’t complete the goal do NOT get the prize.

So, I gave Cami a piece of candy corn and told her she could eat it OR she could wait for 6 minutes and get THREE pieces of candy corn. And I filmed the test, while fully intending to film the crying and bargaining afterward–when she lost the chance for extra candy because she just couldn’t wait…

That was the plan.

Here’s my 3-year-old taking the Marshmallow Test.

As you can see, my daughter ruined my illustration.  So, I guess there’s nothing else for me to say on the topic.

If you want to watch me demonstrate a little “tough love” with a less motivated child, while they mourned the loss of their extra candy/marshmallow, you’ll have to let me borrow a less-motivated child.   🙂

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One thought on “My Daughter and Delayed Gratification

  1. Roberta Hite

    “…whining and bargaining…” I had middle schoolers who tried those with me,
    including pouting and even sticking their lower lip out and hanging their heads if I didn’t give in. I began learning that whatever worked with their parents that they would try the same with me.

    Like

    Reply

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