By Javeria Faizan 


Instant gratification is the impulse to feel pleasure or satisfaction without any detainment. Simply put, this means wanting something and wanting it swiftly. No doubt, we reside in a world of instant gratification where we can acquire everything with a singular touch of our fingers. Food can be ordered at the drive-through or via a home delivery service. Money can be instantly withdrawn from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Communication can be done through prompt messaging services. Moreover, entertainment is readily available on different streaming services like Netflix. Even cabs can be called to our doorstep like Careem and Uber. But all of this is coming at a price, the price of laziness and impatience.

Since instant gratification is the norm, our children are accustomed to it too. They also expect to have what they want without any physical effort or responsibility on their part. They want it and they want it now. There is no beating about the bush. Regrettably, they are unable to comprehend the long-term effects this type of behavior is having on them. Once they get used to having their wish granted as soon as they utter it, kids begin to lose their patience and tolerance level. They want to be satiated quickly within no time. The impatience for fulfillment is making them unable to consider the after-effects their impatience is creating. However, it is observed that Instant Gratification is a major child development issue that needs to be addressed on a serious note.

When their demand is instantly gratified, it loses value. This is a personal experience. While out shopping, my daughter asked her dad to buy a doll. Being a doting dad, he bought it at once. The next day that very same doll was lying under the bed, long forgotten about. This situation implies that if kids have never had to work for something, they won’t know how to plan and strategize. Being used to spoon-feeding, they are unable to solve their own problems. They start developing low resilience and are left needy, stuck and depressed. The unhealthy habit of impatience makes them frustrated easily. They cannot tolerate frustration, even over the smallest thing. We, the parents have to take action to stop the adverse effects this behavioral trait is having on them. We can help them practice self-control by appointing some techniques.

Instant Gratification: A Major Child Developmental Issue

In this article, we are suggesting some strategies that you can follow to overcome Instant Gratification.

1- Avoidance

As the saying goes ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Keeping the tempting item hidden and away from their sight is helpful. Things like candies and cookies can be secured in cabinets to help kids overcome their desire of having them.

2- Distraction 

Distracting them away from the desired object also works. For example, screen addiction can be lessened by taking the kids to outdoor activities.

3- Abstraction

Abstraction is turning away from the tempting properties and focusing on abstract features. This practice enables them to see past its temptation turning it into an object of abstraction.

4- Self-directed speech

Teaching them to employ easy phrases that remind them to control their impulses. When giving them cookies tell them in advance that they can only have one. They can keep repeating ‘just one cookie’ to overcome the temptation.

5- Mentoring

We ourselves can serve as good role models for our children to follow. Jumping up to check your phone as soon as it pings, shows our own level of impatience. When they see our kids get accustomed to us regularly delaying satisfaction, they learn to do it themselves.

These strategies are not very hard to follow. Consistently applying them is harder. By assuring that our children properly learn to delay gratification in everyday situations, we can bring about healthy overall development.

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