Sunday, October 2, 2011

Self regulation and self control


The word generation gap has been very much used in all the situations whether it is related to academics or thought process of the people. There has always been discussions about the demeanour of the new generation not being as expected or as easily accepted by the old generation. This difference is natural because people are fond of change and experiencing new things often. But as we all have to live in the society and also with society, so it is very important that some basic norms are followed by all of us whether belonging to old generation or the new generation. Last few decades have seen this change taking place at a very fast pace and that is causing some discomfort between the people of two generations. It was all right till father and son or mother and daughter were feeling that way but now even the people of the same generation have started noticing that difference. Two real brothers who have the age difference of one or two years are openly saying that we have difference of opinion on so many issues because of the generation gap between two of us. This is not surprising because of the changes in the society,behaviour and mindset of people. Every day we witness new things and novel ideas of the people and this all is the result of the fast pace development taking place around us. Everyone wants to achieve everything instantaneously due to which the patience level of everyone in the society is going down day by day. This is leading us to the situation of being selfish in our thinking and approach towards life.
This made me to recall something which I read a few months back and that was related to delaying the temptation of the children and the impact of that on their life. Three psychologists namely Shoda, Mischel Peake worked on one important aspect of the life of children of the age of four to five years and they followed the growth of these children when they passed out from the school and their later life as well. We know that the children become very friendly to all around them and they also want to have everything which they see whether at home or outside. The three researchers approached a preschool and selected a group of children of the age around four years. The kids were made to sit in a group and something very tempting was placed near them. They were told that the adults will do some work and they should wait till the task is complete. If the children took the item of their choice before that, they were allowed to take only one item out of what was kept before them. If they could wait till the task was finished then they could take two items and if they could wait for one more task to be completed then they were eligible to take four items. As expected some of the children could not resist the temptation and took the item most liked by them within second of the announcement made. There were a few kids who waited for the first task to be completed and then took two items as permitted. One or two students could wait for the second task also to be completed and they took four items of their choice. Though it was difficult for all of them to resist the impulses and the desire to get something of their choice at the earliest possible opportunity but, few of them could control the temptation, resist the impulse and control the desire. The three psychologists kept the track of these children and they found that the children who could control their desire were able to perform better in the academics and the other aspects of the life in comparison to the children who took the things of their choice within seconds from the time it was announced. The difference between the two groups was very clearly evident in terms of the social and emotional development also when they were around fourteen or fifteen years of age. Those who had been able to delay gratification were more socially competent, self assertive and most importantly able to cope-up with the frustrations of  life. They were faced stress and the pressure of the external world courageously and were able to handle difficult situations more confidently. They were happy and capable to embrace the challenges and pursued them instead of giving up when they faced difficulties. Phil Peake continued following the academic and the social development of these children even when they became adult. He found that those who had been able to resist the temptations at the age of four were far better and more competent than the other group which could not resist the temptation. He found a dramatic correlation between the temptation control at the age of four and their SAT scores after their high school. The group which resisted the temptation was significantly higher in their SAT score than the other group.
This shows a strong correlation between impulse control and perseverance. This also suggests that if someone can control the temptation in their early age then he/she would be able to keep the frustrations at bay. That is the reason why the concentration power is of tremendous importance in the life of the children. I do not know whether mentioning the importance of Yoga will be appropriate here or not, because the Yoga also teaches us to control self. If we can teach our children to practice self regulation and self control, then most of the problems faced by them and the youth will be taken care of. But the problem is that directly or indirectly we are teaching them to achieve everything instantly . In most of the cases, parents fulfill the wishes of their children and indirectly teach them short cuts to success. Self imposed delay of gratification will help an individual regulate emotions and temptations. The ones who are able to self regulate are able to use their emotional intelligence in a better way than others. The problems faced by the society today are due to the reason that the people are not able to control their temptations. We see something new today and the strong desire makes us to get the same immediately without realizing whether it is required or not. The children of the age of five to six years have started comparing the things available to them or possessed by their parents and they feel great if the same is not possessed by their friends or the parents of their friends. Those who do not possess them would force their parents to get the same things which they do not have but are possessed by their friends. Temptation is not bad in itself but uncontrolled and unlimited one is very bad and that is why it is very important that we teach our children to control it and limit the desires as well. If that could be taught and inculcated in the habits of our children then they would definitely be able to do very well in their life and the generation gap would also not be a pain in the neck for us anymore. 


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