fisherkids newsletter
september, 2015

We have to apologize.  Well, not  I have to apologize for missing several months, yet again, of newsletters.  The last time I sent a newsletter, I mentioned that our family is consumed with healing our daughter's alopecia.  It still is.  But the great news is that she truly is healing and as all of you know, as parents, we will do whatever it takes to help our children!

So, I appreciate your patience.  As we mentioned in the last newsletter, we have taken on another job to provide us with the insurance benefits that were out of reach with two self-employed parents!  Please don't misunderstand me; we are grateful for the work.  We are grateful for the means to provide for our daughters and son.    We appreciate your patience as we figure out how to juggle and balance it all!

We are so excited for fall! I'd love to say we love the cooler weather, but here in Texas, we are simply grateful for the POTENTIAL for cooler weather.  We have our s'mores bar up and ready for friends to enjoy when our house is filled with neighborhood children (thanks to the autoimmune diet for our family, the s'mores are gluten free with super dark chocolate, but s'mores nonetheless).  School has started which means routine has kicked back in from a very relaxed summer.  I love the relaxation of summer, but I also welcome routine.  We have changed up our responsibility magnets, given the kids a small raise for the new school year, and made all new chore sticks for the year. 

This certainly doesn't mean our kids are jumping for joy at the thought of chores and responsibilities, but it does mean that the expectations are set and accountability kicks in.  Children may roll their eyes at expectations, they may huff and puff when we ask for their help, and they may act like we are the worst parents in the world, but they do need boundaries.  That is how they grow into viable citizens of our society.  Our job as parents is not to be their best friend, rather to be their guide, and it's not always fun and easy.  But it is the right way to raise our children.  So get your game on for the we go!

In This Issue

Delayed Gratification in Children

Raising responsible children doesn't change with socioeconomic status; just because you may have the means to provide certain things doesn't mean you should.  For example, saving for something, (whether an action figure for a four-year-old or a car for a sixteen-year-old) that you could easily provide for your child teaches invaluable lessons.  Of course there is a higher level of accountability and ownership.  Of course there is a sense of pride.  But let's take a look at what else may happen as we encourage our children to delay gratification.

Delaying pleasure has become increasingly more difficult over the years.  Social media, Google, credit cards, heck even marathons on Netflix are all immediately gratifying.  It's difficult for our children to delay pleasure, but it is consequently more difficult to teach our children to delay gratification.  Doing so, however, has its benefits.  Like the delayed gratification itself, the rewards are delayed as well.  Please take strength from knowing you are doing the right thing!

You may have heard about the Marshmallow Experiment conducted by Walter Mischel from Stanford University.  Published in 1972, the experiment evaluated over 500 children put in a situation of choice.  A marshmallow was placed in front of them and they were told if they waited 15 minutes without eating the marshmallow, they would be rewarded with another one at the end of the 15 minutes.  If they didn't wait, they would not receive another one.  Footage showed many children grabbing the marshmallow just as soon as the researcher left the room; some waited a bit then grabbed it; some waited the full 15 minutes and received a second marshmallow. 

What is fascinating is the longitudinal follow up from this study (conducted in the 60s, published in 1972).  Tracking down the participants 40 years later, traits and behaviors were examined.  It was discovered that the children who were able to delay gratification had "higher SAT scores, better social cognitive and emotional coping throughout adolescence,...higher educational achievement, higher sense of self-worth, better ability to cope with stress and less cocaine/crack use..." ( Mischel et al, 2010).  Early delay ability among the subjects also seemed to protect against disposition potential later in life, such as bullying behavior, physical/verbal aggression, and mental vulnerabilities such as borderline personality disorder.  Those who were unable to delay gratification were also more likely to be overweight by the age of 11 years.

The early thought was that innate will power was the key.  Since the early studies, however, it appears that parents can equip children with strategies to delay gratification and enhance will power.  According to Metcalfe and Mischel (1999), the neural mechanisms associated with gratification seem to be tangled into "hot" and "cold" networks.  The "cold" network is the ability  to delay pleasure while the "hot" network is the inability to delay pleasure.  The hot network can be initiated under certain physiological/environmental situations, such as stress. 

Another study by Kidd, et al (2013) was conducted that associated delayed gratification with environment (a reliable, trustworthy environment vs. an unreliable, untrustworthy environment).  If the children knew, for instance, that the researched was not really going to come back when (s)he promised, then the child recognized the situation as unreliable, thus would eat the marshmallow, knowing the delay would not pay off.  Vice versa, children in reliable environments, who knew the researcher would come back, were more likely to delay gratification because they trusted that the delay would pay off with a second marshmallow.

What does this mean for parents?  We can create an environment for our children that allows for trusted, reliable delayed gratification, which correlates with better academic outcomes, fewer risky behaviors such as sex and drugs, better health and body weight, greater self-worth and self-esteem, and fewer destructive personality vulnerabilities such as bullying and aggression.  Often what is easier for the parents is not the best choice for the outcome of the's easier for me to buy our children something than to create an environment that allows them to earn the money.  It's easier for me to just wash their clothes myself than to teach them how to do it.  But no one said parenting was easy.....our reward is often delayed!

Other resources used for this article:
chore stick
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Remember that your friends can receive 10% off fisherkids products with checkout code "fisherfriend".  If they mention your name in the checkout message, we will also send you a referral code for 25% off for you!  Thank you for your help as we spread the word to all the responsible parents out there!
Customer Feedback

{Holley from Texas}Yeeeeah! Hubby says we just got it in the mail. See, I have been on a really bizarre form of chemo for 7 years. Your videos about teaching responsibilities across the board is all so very important to me. I've had to have nurses, care aides and assistants, but teaching kids responsibility when you have someone hired to help is very difficult. This is the last thing I want for my child to be one of the "entitlement kids" . My husband will...even use it himself!  I cannot thank y'all enough for developing this...I can add my care aide with a customized responsibility magnet. And since she is our miracle only child, daddy and I will be on the chart as "siblings". I can't wait!

What's awesome, is yesterday it began to work before it's even on the wall. I was so exhausted from physical therapy and was so happy to make it to the grocery store... with her... alone... for the only the second time this year. That's huge. My energy/ time are most valuable and so easily lost. When we were having "issues", I told her 3 of the consequences on the negative wheel (we'll have a positive one). I numbered them, then she drew which one she had to do. No arguments! No fussing, well. she did a little bit, but that was that! I didn't even raise my voice . And to me with such low energy and constitution, it is gold! It literally can be the difference between having a great day and suffering a neurological episode that ruins the rest of a week! Thank you, thank you, thank you for developing this!  Thank you to the family for helping share this endeavor.

Blessed be!