Understanding Delayed Gratification With The Dad Podcast


Do you remember the Marshmallow Test?

Basically, a Stanford psychologist got a bunch of young kids and gave them a marshmallow.  He told them that if they waited 10 minutes before eating it, then they'd get two more marshmallows.

Years later, they looked at the kids that waited and found that they displayed higher intelligence traits than those that didn't.

Well, it turns out that the results weren't as true as we originally thought.  

Tyler Watts, who recently did research on the topic, explained it:

“Our results show that once background characteristics of the child and their environment are taken into account, differences in the ability to delay gratification do not necessarily translate into meaningful differences later in life.”

So, you're wondering why we even brought up the test.

It's because of what it says about parents and their kids.

Justin Worsham of The Dad Podcast explains: 

"It’s human nature to want to look for a quick and easy way to do anything. So, when the Marshmallow test was first done in the 60’s and 70’s, parents latched onto Delayed Gratification as an important trait for their child’s success later in life.

Sometimes I think parents see what they want to see in these studies, like a rorschach. Without even thinking about it, you connect with things that support your view. Like me when I found out about the Harvard Grant Study. This study followed Harvard Students from 1938 on. One of the findings was that the one thing all CEO’s had in common was that they did chores as a kid. That definitely connected with me because I have had a job since I was 9 years old, and I feel like that has helped me so much in my adult life. 

But, much like the Marshmallow test was done on the Stanford Staff’s children, Harvard’s Grant Study is, arguably, lacking a control group. Both schools have a reputation for being difficult to get into. 

Both hard work and being able to wait for what you want are great tools to have in your toolbox for life, but neither of these take relationships into account. Networking is very important in just about any career. 

I think the real takeaway from all of these studies is that we need to be aware of our bias, and there are no simple answers to the complexities of parenting...other than maybe to not over complicate it."

Read more about the Marshmallow Test at The Guardian

Scientists have found what they believe the best parental habits for creating successful kids.  Read all about it at Inc.

To hear more of Justin's take on delayed gratification, and other parenting topics, you can check out all of his stuff at The Dad Podcast

Check out his latest episode with Andy Forrester about all of their frustrations of parenting.


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