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The “I Want It Now” Generation; See 7 Tips for Raising Patient Kids in a digital Age

Updated: May 31

My goodness! How time flies! It was just yesterday we were planning our new year's resolutions, right? Sometimes I have that feeling: "Is time speeding up or is it just me?" Speaking of which, if you find that time is moving too quickly, let's reflect on the possible driving forces behind that. To do so, it is essential to understand the importance of time and patience. The question is: "What's happening to our Patience?"

Well, we live in a culture of instant solutions, maybe it happens due to the immediateness and dynamism promoted by digital technology, so if you don’t know how to answer a question, you can look it up quickly at the touch of a button on your screen or a voice command to your home assistant. Also, If you’ve forgotten to buy your favourite nephew’s birthday present (who lives in another country), you can search online, buy it and have it delivered on the same or next day, and it is just as simple as that. And sometimes I have a feeling that we are living in a “The Jetsons” Cartoon. It is exciting, but not perfect!


As a consequence of this dynamic reality, waiting can be really hard, and when we don’t get what we want, the psychological reactions might be anxiety or dissatisfaction, these two human feelings are pointed out by studies related to technology habits and impatience.  Quoting the Wikipedia, we can find out that “patience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties”. Thus, these investigations mentioned above suggest that technology is making us more impatient, as a result, we are (in some way) losing our capability of waiting. 


IMPATIENT PARENTS = IMPATIENT CHILDREN

Ok Ok, we are talking about the consequences of this scenario in which adults are directly influenced by digital transformation, so why our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, and they are becoming less patient?

Here's the thing everyone, in an article written by Jennifer Welsh (Live Science) “Negative Parenting, Starts Aggressive Personalities Early” this author explains that parents who express negative emotions toward their children or handle them roughly, may be inadvertently harming their infants' psyches. In this context, as parents, we have to bear in mind that patience is a virtue that must be strengthened when raising children, who will become reflections of ourselves in the future. 


So, how to recognize that if you are an impatient parent? If you scream in , and/or talk loud, sometimes present an aggressive behaviour at home, and/or easily breaking down in tears, and/or had that feeling that you want to leave everything behind and run away, these are just some of the symptoms the psychologists can classify you as an impatient parents. Also, the Psychologist Katie Hurley (US News), explains that another relevant factor to take into account is the stress, and unfortunately, every family experiences some level of stress at different occasions of their lives and it can be caused by several reasons. Thus it is essential to be aware of possible triggers of your stress to address these and better cope before it trickles down to your children. These triggers can be time demands, financial issues, career stress, personal health concerns, among others.


On the other hand, Dr Deborah Lahn, a psychologist specialized in children's behaviour, explain that it is essential to understand that it is not always that parents are responsible for children's impatience, and it is something very common among small kids. Their sense of time is different from ours, and the period from the time they ask for something until they get it is a torturous eternity. Getting accustomed to tolerating particular inevitable frustrations and delays is part of our human development, and it is a slow and progressive training that they will have to assimilate throughout their growth.  What should we do to promote this valuable virtue in our children's lives?


7 WAYS TO RAISE A MORE PATIENT CHILD

Dr Lahn explains that from the age of two, the child can learn to be a bit patient, but for this, they need our help, so if we give them everything they ask for immediately, we are raising up demanding children who later on will be immature and intolerant adults. And for that, some strategies might be useful for parents, I got most of these tips from Dr Deborah Lahn that is a collaborator of KidsAndScreens, but also I have included some tips posted by Karen Quinn, on The Testing Mom WebPage: 


Set an example: If we raise our voices because the child took a little longer to come and have a meal, we are not giving them a model of serenity and, moreover, we transmit our own anxiety. Thus, we need to apologize to the child if we get out of control and lose our temper. When you get frustrated, yelling, threatening, and spanking won’t teach your child to control his own emotions when he is upset.  Model the behaviour that you want them to follow.


Introduce them to the concept of waiting: By the age of two years old, we can begin to teach our children to wait for a while until we serve the dessert or while we prepare their snack. Even if it is difficult for them, they can already learn from those moments.


Teach them good manners: explain to them that it is crucial to ask for things politely and do not give in to the dramas that they might use as a way to get what they want. 


Do projects that take time to pay off. Planting flowers from seeds, planting beans in a pot, baking a cake, and fishing all require waiting for the reward.


Make a schedule for screen time, snack time, play time, and plans for the day, for the weekend and for holidays. Schedules help kids learn to wait.


Do not give them digital devices when waiting is unavoidable: Waiting for a doctor appointment, or during a trip, we can invent small games, count how many red cars pass, tell a story or take some game. If they get entertained, waiting can be an enjoyable time.


Teach them that patience is vital for our social life: sometimes it is hard for the child to meet their immediate expectations, for example, to wait their turn to play on the swing. Try to explain why they need to wait their turn and what the benefits are, even if they still can not fully understand.


Children work for praise:  It’s the easiest reward you can give with the highest payoff. Children who receive praise for their patience and efforts seem to be more resilient and persistent.


My final considerations:  Don't forget to chill out! We know that some people are naturally patient, the rest of us need to practice patience for it to become a habit and it will not happen overnight. The more patient you are with your children, the likelier you are to be viewed positively by them, and it will effectively reflect on their behaviour.  


I  hope you found this post useful and informative. For parents, it is essential to recognize the issues of technology and to seek ways to calm their racing minds. It’s important to remember how enjoyable and beneficial patience can be because the best things in life are more than a click away. I hope you are enjoying the Summer, have a look at my post "Screen Free Summer - 15 effective Ideas "


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