Instant Gratification is the Root of Child’s Tantrums

  • Dr. Sapna Sharma
  • 25 September 2018

Nowadays, parenting deals with a lot of pressure from even their very young children. Even toddlers cause anxiety to parents- an anxiety, which is born out of trying to fulfill their toddler’s demands. Very young children are now seen to command their parents into wish fulfillment.
Parents succumb quickly to tantrums just in order to stop the howling, wailing and thrashing around of arms and feet. Or just to stop the stress of dealing with an unwelcome situation. They quickly give in to the child’s demand, unreasonable or not! In doing so, they forget that the world will not provide instant gratification for every demand. Parents are unable to teach their children how to cope with denial and /or disappointment when wishes are not instantly fulfilled while focusing only on quelling a tantrum. They fulfill the demand. They do not or rather, can not, at that minute, think of the long term effects of the wish fulfillment they have just agreed to.
Later, the same children demand bigger, expensive things. They hold their parents to ransom, if their parents refuse to oblige. These same children, who are now used to having their demands instantly met, are completely ill-equipped to deal with real life situations like rejection from a girlfriend or boyfriend.  Some troubled teens even slit their wrists. Some score inadequate marks in qualifying exams. These are the indicators when we need to evaluate our parenting pattern and even consult a Parenting Counselor. However most of us prefer to just complain and continue.
These children veer towards extremes of behavior because they have not been brought up with the knowledge of delayed or postponed gratification. Most of these children do not resolve to better their grades in another exam; because their parents are quick to seek admission by paying high capitation fees.
“Instant gratification means having a wish fulfilled as soon as it comes to mind.”
This is a deadly disease which today’s generation is strongly prone to.  Smoking, drinking and attraction flings are other forms of this disease. One dangerous offshoot is to expect to get a girl/boy to like you and be attracted to you in return, only because you like them. A fearful part of this expectation is the violent backlash if the girl refuses the attentions. Rejection by a girl leads to extreme behavior by the disappointed suitor: the boy does not hesitate before causing facial or physical mutilation, rape and even other types of verbal and sexual assault.
The first and foremost duty of all parents should be to teach their children to accept ‘no’ as an answer to some demands. Children need to be taught very early in their lives to put control measures on their wishes and desires. Do not hesitate to take guidance from a parenting Counselor to deal with your particular situation. On the contrary, today, parents are overextending themselves, trying to fulfill their child’s every demand. Have we made ourselves incapable of facing the fact that our children will have worrisome, obstacle-ridden lives? Can we not respond to unreasonable demands of our children by getting them to distinguish between necessities and luxuries? Can we ask them if they have earned the thing that they are demanding so strongly?
If the kids are small, we can always teach them to incentivize their lives- aim for higher school grades to get their wants fulfilled. If they are young adults, we can ask them to pitch in and be responsible for household tasks and duties, maybe even take up part-time summer jobs!
Learning restraint and self-control is even more important than getting a degree. We need to teach our children the power of patience. We should learn to avoid being emotionally blackmailed. Instead we must practice and teach our children the benefits of ‘delayed gratification’. Please remember it’s parents who need to take help from the Parenting Counselor to create the right environment for their children instead of dragging the children to the counselor with an intention of ‘FIXING’ them. 



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