Instant Gratification Junkies :: Are We Raising Them??

I want it and i want it NOW! Are you raising instant gratification junkies? You're not alone, it's survival mode! But is it healthy?

Instant Gratification Junkies :: Are We Raising Them??

I want what I want, and I want it NOW!

Our lives are consumed with needs and wants, and for the most part, our society makes it pretty easy to obtain things quickly.

Do any of these below sound familiar?

  • Hungry and don’t have time to cook? There are drive-thru’s, gas station foods, and microwaves for that.
  • Having a bad day at work and need some release? That’s what happy hours provide.
  • Bored and need some entertainment? That’s exactly what scrolling through social media delivers.
  • Kid throws a fit and you just need it to stop before you pull your hair out? Just give him what he wants!
  • Emotionally taxing day with nearly unbearable stress? Bust out the credit cards and swipe for some retail therapy!
  • Need to lose a quick 5-10 pounds? Fad diets are designed to drop weight quickly!

Instant Gratification Junkies :: Are We Raising Them??

Instant gratification is when we seek immediate rewards without much effort or delay; acting on short-term impulses and not truly considering the consequences, because all concern for potential outcomes is outweighed by desire that propels us forward without question. We don’t think about the wave of negative aftermath that our impulses can cause, and we often refrain from deliberating repercussions that affect our children.

I’m guilty of being an instant gratification junkie.

And now that I’ve turned 40 years old, I can honestly admit that I am paying for the years of “I want it and I want it NOW” that I allowed for myself and my family. Yes, I can admit it!

I yoyo-dieted for years, constantly restricting and binging, and now my metabolism laughs in the face of a diet. Could I have made it any harder on myself? All for the quick fix, the instant indulgence, the refusal to do things the right way.

Instant Gratification Junkies :: Are We Raising Them??

And it’s not just my body, either! If you’re anything like me, you often have to learn the hard way about how immediate fulfillment can train your family to resist patience, refuse hard work, and require results without really thinking through the costs. Survival mode, am I right?! That’s what we tell ourselves in the moment. If I sit back and reflect, I can name more times than I would like to admit when I fed my kiddos unhealthy meals, junk food, microwave popcorn, sodas, and surprise treats that had zero nutritional value but met the need of the hungry moment. I allowed phones at the dinner table to combat boredom, and screens even though screen time was already met. I bought them toys to appease fits, and caved into cravings because it was easier.

But the mom-guilt in the aftermath isn’t the worst part.

The worst part is that these actions are setting our kiddos up for failure when they realize that there are negative health consequences associated with choices we make, and there are just some things in life that don’t happen instantly. You don’t always get what you want. That’s a tough lesson to teach, but it’s our job to help our children understand that some good things in life are not always the quickest, easiest things to get, and, well, it IS true: we don’t always get what we want. I mean, try throwing a fit to your boss because you don’t get the raise you want – that will never end well.

It’s not easy to reverse, to start giving yourself and your family things that require patience, effort, higher expenses, and to refuse things that cause instant delight. Even worse, try changing expectations for yourself and your family after you’ve made a habit out of the immediate gratifications – that can be grueling. Try telling yourself that you have to exercise and reduce alcohol intake and processed foods, and then telling your kids that you can’t buy them a toy just because they need it now, and then convince yourself that your credit card doesn’t need swiping while you’re wiping away tears of stress. I’m almost positive that you will be met with opposition.

So how do you do it? How do you cure your family of being instant gratification junkies and promote a healthy level of patience, perseverance, and intolerance for immediate pleasure?

Instant Gratification Junkies :: Are We Raising Them??

  1. First, live by example and hold yourself accountable. Your kids are sponges and absorb more of your behavior than they let onto. If they see you run to a vice to heal the moment, they will seek vices too.
  2. Second, remove temptation. Don’t buy junk foods and the unhealthy, processed meals.
  3. Third, don’t give in! Practice willpower and exercise your ability to say NO. Stand strong.

You can do it if you are determined, and the best way to stay determined is to understand the breath of negative outcomes from instant gratifications.

Don’t be a junkie!


Kimberly Wigglesworth
Kimberly is a wife, mom, friend, community leader, and full-time business executive. She’s a Baton Rouge native, third-generation LSU grad with an MPA, and a self-proclaimed champion of both mastering chaotic schedules and creating coocoo jingles (mostly about burps, butts, and farts) to laugh kids out of tantrums. She enjoys playing board games with her husband and friends, jamming to throwback songs from the 90s, hosting neighborhood game nights, and spending time with her family and two puppies. Coffee is her crutch and comedy is her prescribed medicine for life’s insanity.


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