Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Impatient?




My son and I had a conversation last week that really got me thinking. He was watching a movie on TV, and when a commercial came on he said he wanted to watch the movie again. I explained it was just a commercial, and his show would be back on soon. He had no idea what a commercial was! I realized that when he did watch TV, it was normally something I had recorded with our PVR, or from Apple TV or Netflix. So basically this kid had no idea what a commercial was, but he knew he wanted it over now! I tried to explain that he had to wait for his movie to come back on, but he just didn’t understand and totally freaked out.

I was kind of shocked at how impatient he was being. But what could I really expect since I had set up this behaviour? Anytime my son wanted to watch a show, I just started it up with the click of a button. He didn’t have to wait, and I never had to think about it. The kid had made it to the age of 2.5 without even knowing what a commercial was. How crazy is that?

It made me think to a few other similar instances we have had like this. Sometimes I bake with my son, and one time we made muffins and I had to put them in the oven to bake (which I told my son), and he said “no mommy, we go to Starbucks”. He didn’t think we had to wait, we just had to head over to the Starbucks Drive-Thru where we usually pick him up a muffin on Saturday mornings.

So basically I accidentally taught my son that any show or movie he wants to watch is available at the push of a button, and if he wants a muffin he doesn’t need to wait for it to bake, we can just hit the Starbucks Drive-Thru.

I’ve noticed a lot of things in my son’s life sort of arrive instantly as well. If he wants to play a new game on the iPad, I can download one instantly. If he is hungry, I’ve already got snacks in my bag, a drink on hand, or if I’m without we can stop by Starbucks to grab a milk or an apple juice (or a muffin!).

I guess I hadn’t realized that giving him everything he wanted in an instant would be an issue. I’m really not sure what I was thinking.

Well, actually I have some idea of what I was thinking. Drive-Thru’s, the PVR, Netflix – these were all easy ways for me to get things done. Why bother making a snack or waiting until we got home when I could just head through a Drive-Thru? Meanwhile my son was taking this all in and realizing if he’s hungry that is where we go, and food is waiting for us.

The same went for what he’s been watching on TV. I’m not sure if he will ever understand rushing to get home to watch his favourite show. Or missing a big show because he was out living his life – he can just tape it!

I know he won’t really grow up in the same world that I did, but I think I do need to focus on reinforcing the idea of patience. Patiently waiting for something to bake in the oven because it will taste fresher (and hopefully better) than a store-bought muffin. Or planning on watching a show (commercials and all) that we can’t quickly get through, and instead taking snack or game breaks during commercials.

I’m always trying to take advantage of all of the great things we have the option of using now like groceries delivered to your doorstep, and an endless supply of Apps at the push of a button. These things are all great, but I also need to focus on slowing things down and showing my son that good things come to those who wait. Or at least to those who walk into Starbucks to pick out their own muffin instead of using the Drive-Thru.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *