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Higher Test Scores

In a study mentioned by Daniel Goleman in his classic book Emotional Intelligence, researchers studied two sets of kids.

One group was able to delay gratification, the other satisfied their wants right away.

All of the kids had a choice about a tasty marshmallow set before them. When the experimenter left the room, they could eat the treat if they wanted, but if they waited until the researcher returned, they would get two. Some kids ate the marshmallow almost immediately while others waited. To be sure, waiting was hard and many stared longingly, and some sat on their hands. One kid even licked the table!

These students were studied through high school. One interesting finding was that, as a group, the kids who could wait had significantly lower incidents of drug use and delinquency. Another conclusion was that the ability to delay gratification out-ranked IQ as a predictor of high SAT scores.

Wise parents and teachers can take heart. When kids’ wants, whims, and demands are not simply given in to, they learn they can survive the struggle and that life will be the better for it. Teaching kids to wait is a good lesson for life.

Thanks for reading. If you like this, get your friends on board!

Jim Funk
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.