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Columns : Family and Youth Empowerment Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

Teaching your children delayed gratification
By Pastor Wayne Carey
Oct 3, 2014 - 12:22:42 PM

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My eldest brother Elvis taught me a valuable lesson as a teen about delaying gratification. I didn’t understand what he was teaching at that moment in time, but I trusted him; and knew that he wanted the best for his little brother. I was in the process of receiving a basketball scholarship to attend college in Texas. My brother simple words were, “The girls will always be there. When you leave and come back home they will still be around; they are not going anywhere.”

Twenty five years later, I met a student who was frustrated and disappointed about his life. I asked him the simple question, why? Then he began to express himself about what he wanted to achieve in his life. I was very impressed with his ambitions.

However, his priorities were wrong. He was a ninth grade student that wanted what he wanted in his life right then. He wanted a brand new car to drive, and a big house to live in, and he was very serious about what he wanted.

It's imperative for parents to teach their children delayed gratification. This young man thought as a young adult, he should have lots of money in his pocket to be able to take his girlfriend to the movie theater. He never saw the process of school, then graduation. We then looked at what was most important right then and focused on some future goals.

Delayed gratification is passing up short term gains for long term reward. The ability to delay gratification is a major indicator of success for children and their parents. In our society, adults and children alike are bombarded with the temptation to give in to short term gains.

Parents should begin to teach their children the skill of delaying gratification early in their lives, as the earlier parents teach this skill the better off their children will be.

Here are several tips to help parents teach their children delayed gratification:

· Help children to make decisions and know what they want for themselves. It would be nice for them to put their decision in writing. Sometimes it can be hard for children to say no to things. They have to have a clear picture of what they want in order to resist the urge.

· Teach them to know what is important - they need to be taught values. In order for children to delay immediate gratification they need to know what is important to them. What do they value the most? Is it their education, or their friends? They must know their values.

· Teach them the importance of having a plan. Not every aspect of ones life should be planned out in detailed, but in order for anyone to reach goals, whatever they maybe, you need to have a plan. When children have a plan it becomes easier for them to resist the urge of immediate satisfaction.

· Teach children how to prioritize. Have clear priorities in life, such as school comes before entertainment, family before friends etc. Teaching children to have clear priorities will go a long way in delaying gratification.

Delaying gratification is not an easy task, but it is something that can be learned with a whole lot of encouragement from you as the parent.

I believe our increasingly-digital culture is only aggravating the problem of our youth not being able to delay gratification in many ways. When we have come to master this area of our lives, success will surely follow.

Pastor Wayne W. Carey is a Youth and Assistant Pastor- Counselor- Conflict Resolution Strategist- Author- Speaker- Self-Esteem Elevation Coach Contact: Covenantman44@yahoo.com


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