“Are we there yet?”
These are words that try parents’ souls.
Everything happens “in the moment” for kids. The “befores” and “afters” just don’t count.
Giving kids too many choices is dangerous but telling them something cool will happen is suicide.
“Can we do it now?”
“How ’bout now?”
“It’s now, now, can we do it?”
“You said soon. Is that now?”
“Now” is a beautiful place to live but it comes with baggage. You can’t hang on to it and planning for it is where joy and disappointment walk hand in hand.
Growing up isn’t a bad thing but there’s no way your relationship with TIME will not change. Once Christmas Eve becomes more exciting to you than Christmas Day, “you’ll be a man, my son.”
Adulthood isn’t without “nows”. Becoming enveloped in a good book, movie or interesting activity is that very place. Kids just spend more time there. Transitioning from that place can be a bit unsettling. That’s important to remember when kids put off responding immediately to your command. It takes a moment. I try to allow a pause before I feel defied and get angry. Just don’t let them push their luck too long. 😉
Have you heard about the “Marshmallow Test”?
If you haven’t, (KABAM!) now, you will. Like that? You are being informed “now”, and you’re reading a text written “before”. If you already know about the test, bear with me ’til the later “now” happens. Take heart, I could be asking you to wait until “after later”.
That’s “forever” in kid language!
So, psychologists believe they can predict a child’s likelihood of success by measuring her ability to delay immediate gratification in favor of a larger reward. Kids are offered one marshmallow and told they can enjoy it NOW or? … they can wait, which will result in a better reward of two.
The test is very telling but there’s no reason to believe your kid, who gobbled up the first offer, will be a loser. Those kids are the “tomorrow isn’t promised” crowd and there’s a value in being spontaneous. But it would be wise to use the test result as a signal to practice more gratification delays. Kids absolutely need practice with manners, virtuousness, and delayed gratification. Be advised, the “Are we there yet?” torture will be an inevitable by-product but well worth it.
If this Time theme was a bit too much to wrap your head around, this classic movie clip may help.