The Waiting Game

Just a sec.

In a minute.

I heard you and answered you the first time.

Yes you can, once I’ve finished this.

You can see that I am in the middle of something right now.

You can have it later on, after lunch.

It’s not time to eat again yet, you’ve just had two breakfasts.

Your dinner is cooking, you need to wait a little while.

You can’t have everything exactly when you want it.

I will get it for you just not right now...

My daily script for life with small boys.

I know we used to nag my mother when we were kids, but I seriously don’t think we ever nagged as much as my kids do. And there were 4 of us!

When we heard the word “no” or “later” then we just shut up & moved on with our lives.

We most likely sulked about it, but we damn sure did not dare continue to nag incessantly.

Parenting has become a lot more PC in recent years. We as parents have to keep a lid on our frustrations much more than previous generations.

We have to be “at one” with our kids. Understand & empathise with their wants and needs at all times. Meet them at their level. Make sure their “cups” are full.

At what point can we just all be honest & say that sometimes they are just nagging & being plain annoying?!

I don’t believe any child should get EVERYTHING they want EXACTLY when they want it.

Sometimes they have to wait.

And maybe even wait some more.

And sometimes, God forbid, maybe not get what they want at all.

For a long time now, life feels like a power struggle, mostly with my eldest.

I don’t hold out on him often or intentionally, but sometimes I do make a conscious decision to make him wait a little.

If I am in the middle of something, and he is not in urgent need of anything, I give him a line from the script. In a minute. Once I’m finished this.

If I am eating or having a cuppa, he can wait.

If I have just gotten comfy on the couch, he can wait.

If I’m running to the loo, he can wait.

It doesn’t stop the nagging, in fact it usually makes it worse.

But children NEED to learn to wait.

Waiting is a vital self-regulation skill that needs to be learned.

The Marshmallow Test is a simple but fascinating experiment carried out among young kids to assess their self-regulation skills.

In summary, you can have that one marshmallow now, but if you can wait a little while, you can have two.

The study has shown that children who were able to regulate themselves enough to hold out, ended up more successful in life in general.

Patience, self-control, resilience, being measured in your actions, all attributes of a person who will do well in the workplace, and in society.

These skills will serve them well long before they are in any workplace. They will do better in school, have more solid relationships with peers, and be more resilient in general.

So my children will learn to wait.

Of course I will get them what they need and what they want.

But not RIGHT NOW.

And not EVERY TIME.

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