Have you ever heard of the marshmallow test? This is an experiment conducted at Walford Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s. In the experiment, a 5-year-old was presented with a reward (usually marshmallow or some other delicacy) and the child was told that he could either eat it right away or wait until the test taker left the room for a moment to return a double dose of that delicacy.
Such a simple experiment, in which the effort is rewarded, can well measure, for example, a child’s self-discipline, effort, perseverance, and patience. Children who participated in the marshmallow experiment at the age of 5 were followed for the next 16 years, and interesting patterns of behavior were seen in their academic lives.
Children who ate the treat before the test taker returned to the room generally performed worse in academic life than children who waited until the tester returned. Sometimes these kids even dropped out of school before graduating. Subsequent experiments suggest that the marshmallow test can provide more accurate evidence of future academic success compared to many other standardized and traditional intelligence tests.
How can we teach our children self-discipline?
Learning responsibility and self-discipline will help us gradually grow into independent, mentally balanced, and thus more mature people.
- Election discipline from birth. Put your child to bed for a nap and a certain sleep time in the evenings. It is also important that you talk to your child often from birth to develop his or her self-esteem.
- Set certain rules for your home. The child must know from a young age that the rules exist and must be followed. It is very important that the child understands that life has limitations. However, this does not mean that the rules could not be slipped a little on special days, such as birthdays, Christmas or a weekend with grandparents.
- Give the child responsibilities appropriate for this age. Ask the child to collect their own toys, help with washing dishes or cleaning the home, etc.
- Be encouraging. The child should always be encouraged in a positive way, not ever negatively. An example of positive encouragement is, “I know you’re good at it, and you’re sure you’re doing it right.”
- Establish good communication between yourself and your child. Your child should be able to trust that he or she can tell you what you want to hear and how well he or she has acted on something. It’s also good if you learn to negotiate with your child so that he or she doesn’t feel like he or she should do anything, but he or she doesn’t feel under constant dictatorship either. This strengthens the child’s self-esteem and encourages him or her to make the right things and make responsible decisions in agreement with other people.
- Explain “why” to them. If you explain to your child that he or she should brush his or her teeth so that they do not perforate, or that he or she should wear a seat belt so that he or she is not injured in a car accident, the child understands the situation and why it should work this way. because I say so.”
- Teach by example. There is no better way to teach than to set an example. Instead of just preaching about things, do as you say. Your actions will have a much greater impact on your child, allowing him or her to listen and follow more closely.
Follow this link to watch a (English) video on the marshmallow test.