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How to Teach Your Child Self-Discipline! Part 2 of 3

How to Teach Your Child

Self-Discipline, Part 2 of 3


By Judy Flury, Ph.D.



Consider Dr. Walter Mischel’s famous longitudinal study known as “The Marshmallow Test.”  Conducted in the 1960s at a preschool on the campus of Stanford University, the experiment consisted of Mischel placing marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year olds.

The children were told that they could have one marshmallow now, but that if they waited for several minutes, then they could have two (it would take self-discipline for the child to make themselves wait the extra minutes in order to get the better outcome when what they really wanted to do was to grab a marshmallow right away.) 


Some of the children bypassed the certainty of a better outcome (double the number of marshmallows) by grabbing a marshmallow right away and eating it, while others waited -- some even covering their eyes so that they couldn’t see the marshmallows and wouldn’t be tempted. 


Mischel followed up the entire group of children and found that, 14 years later, at the age of 18, the kids who had grabbed a marshmallow right away suffered from low self-esteem and were seen by others as envious, stubborn, and easily frustrated.  The kids who waited the required time to get two marshmallows had better coping skills, were more socially competent, more self-assertive, more trustworthy, more dependable, and more academically successful.  They even scored an average of 210 points higher on their SATs!


These are results that would make any parent to sit up and take notice, wouldn’t you say?  So, let’s look at some strategies and techniques that you can use to help your child develop the all-important trait of self-discipline: be continued on the next post!



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