In case you do not subscribe to The New Yorker magazine, the May 18th issue has a very informative article that I think parents should read. It's entitled "Don't" by Jonah Lehrer(left photo). The story is founded on a experiment involving young children in the late 1960s, a room, a bell and marshmallows, cookies and pretzel sticks. The children were left in the room with the treats and told that if they waited until the researcher returned to the room they could have two treats, but if they could not wait they were instructed to ring the bell and the researcher would return and the child would get one treat.
Now, more than 30 years later, those same test subjects have been re-visited and those who rang the bell quickly have more behavior problems, difficulty paying attention and maintaining relationships. Researchers continue to study what contributes to an individual's ability to delay gratification. According, to Lehrer, scientist have found a genetic link as well as an environmental link. To me, the good news is that if you believe your child has a propensity to be impatient, there are tactics you can teach him in order to improve his self control.