I don’t know about your kids, but mine have no concept of waiting for anything. None! They want everything now. Not in five minutes time, or in two months time. Now!
It’s Not Their Fault, It’s All Of Ours
This is the reality of the world we live in now. A world where everything is instant.
Think back 15 years ago. Internet banking was still fairly new. You still had to go into the local branch to do most transactions.
Today you can send money across the world instantly, from your phone! And you can’t do half the stuff you need to do in person in the branch, but that’s a topic for another day!
So you can’t really blame them when they don’t understand the concept of waiting for anything, because most of the time they don’t have to.
This really gets to me sometimes though. Like, when we go anywhere! Literally, ANYWHERE. If they have to wait for five minutes they immediately ask for my phone so that they can be entertained. The idea of having to wait with nothing to do is something they won’t tolerate, and quite frankly, can’t cope with.
Are They Just Spoilt?
Another aspect of this is their short attention span when it comes to all things ‘new’. Be it a new toy, a new movie on TV, a new app on the iPad. They might nag you for weeks to get the latest this, or the latest that. Then as soon as they have it, they are obsessed with it for about five minutes before they already start looking for the next thing that they ‘have to have’. The next new release.
It’s not always a case of being spoilt, despite what our parents generation think. It’s a case of – this is their norm, this is all they know. And it’s certainly not their fault.
The bad news, we are just as bad!
Think about it! Our generation as parents of young children is consumed by things such as the next model of phone handset, the newer model of car, the latest technology, the next holiday destination to tick off our list!
Not just that, what about our obsession with speed?
How soon can I get that?
How long do I have to wait.
My internet connection is too slow.
Why is my online delivery taking so long?
We have all become so impatient when it comes to waiting for things. It makes me wonder about that saying,
“All good things come to those who wait.”
Well that might be so, but I don’t know because we’re all too impatient to wait and see what it is that might be good.
What’s The Problem?
My concerns for them are that they won’t learn the value in working hard for something good. If they are raised to believe that they will get everything they want just by asking for it, how will we teach them to work hard to achieve something significant. An education is not the latest iPad.
For example, my eldest daughter is doing so very well in Grade One. She got almost full marks in her first ever set of tests. I was so proud. Unfortunately I didn’t realise they were doing tests at school, and one night this week she had a complete meltdown. I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying through her sobs. It turns out that she’d got one “wormy” wrong and for that one test she got 33/40. All her other marks were 18/20, 20/20, 30/30, which is amazing! But, this one wrong thing literally tipped her over the edge. She couldn’t handle it.
The point of this story is that, if she is so used to doing well in everything, and gets knocked down so hard at the first real hurdle, then maybe I’m not doing her any favours. Maybe I have dropped the parenting ball because almost everything in her life has been pretty easy up till now (except for when her shoes are too slippy – let’s not go there!)
Not A Perfect Parenting Moment
The other day she didn’t want to do her homework, probably because she feels she knows everything, because she’s doing really well in school. This does not sit well with me. Again, it comes down to working hard to achieve something. So, in my not so perfect parenting style, I decided to appeal to her competitive streak and said to her, “Well if you don’t do your homework, and all your friends do, then they will be more clever than you are and overtake you. Is that what you want?”
We do a lot of homework now!
I don’t want to push her too hard, because she is still little. But I do want her to operate at a level that is constantly challenging her at her personal level.
So What Should We Do About It?
I really don’t know. I don’t have the answer.
As a mother though, I do try to take the opportunity, when I can, to teach my children that it’s okay to wait your turn.
This can be challenging sometimes, especially when your four-year-old backseat driver yells at you to “Just go already!”. (I’m not kidding!)
Maybe I’m making too big a deal about this. Should I just accept that this is the norm? Should I just stress less?
Maybe It’s All Too Much
I might be rambling a bit now. I know I haven’t come up with any answers to the problems and issues I’ve raised, I just needed to write my concerns down.
As a mother, I want to try to find a way to balance out embracing the speed and pace of the modern world we live in, with also teaching my children that they need to work hard for significant achievements. Achievements that are worth far more than just the next range of LOL dolls! Something that they can be proud to say, “I got that because I worked hard for it.”
I certainly don’t want them to imagine that they will one day be handed a Diploma, just because they attended a good school. I want them to learn, before it’s too late, that just because they have the latest laptop to work on, or a car to drive themselves to lectures, won’t guarantee them a Diploma.
Again, I’m rambling. This mindset of ‘what’s next’, and ‘I want it now’, will not sustain them in the real world without learning the value in working hard for what they want. It’s not about having everything now. It should be about working hard to get what you want so that you value it more.