The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment brings insight to why your children should wait for their sweets. In 1972 Walter Mischel of Stanford University run an experiment about deferred gratification. The study was to understand when the control of deferred gratification develops in children. But what does the ability to wait for something we desire relate to in later life?
Let's first learn a little more about the study. The children sat by a table, empty of distractions, where a marshmallow was placed in front of them. (Tempting!!!) The children were told they could eat the marshmallow but if they waited for 15 minutes, their reward would be a second marshmallow.
Over 600 children took part in the experiment. Only a minority ate the marshmallow immediately. Of those who waited (deferred gratification) one-third waited long enough to get the second treat.
Follow-up studies, 1988 and 1990, showed that ''pre-school children who delayed gratification longer in the self-imposed delayed paradigm, were described more than 10 years later by their parents as adolescents who were significantly more competent'' and the ability to defer gratification also correlated with higher SAT scores.
Perhaps I should have waited a little longer for all those things I wanted as a child?