ave you been tired of asking your kid to finish their task on time? Do you ever wonder why some people are better than others at getting things done?

Much of the research surrounding procrastination has focused on identifying the underlying cause. While personality traits, such as impulsivity and perfectionism, have been linked to procrastination in some studies, other researchers have suggested that a genetic component might be at play.

46% of the tendency to procrastinate might be down to genes. A study previously reported in Psychological Science presented a startling result: up to 46% of the inclination to procrastinate is potentially hereditary. While researchers remain uncertain regarding which genes could be associated with this trait, findings from comparing identical and fraternal twins suggest that there may be an underlying genetic connection.

Procrastination—the voluntary but irrational delay of an intended course of action—is a widespread behavioral problem that can be harmful not only to the procrastinator’s psychological, physical, and financial well-being but also to other people that count on him/her - (Ferrari, 2010; Steel, 2010)

But our biology is not our destiny —there are ways to address procrastination and its associated problems, such as through positive self-talk and other cognitive behavioral techniques. It is also not necessary to understand the genetic roots of procrastination to get effective help -

By understanding our predisposition to procrastinate, we can create an action plan that works best for our individual needs, and modify it as needed.

According to Sharad Paul, MD, author of The Genetics Of Health: Understand Your Genes for Better Health, “People think that genes determine their fate,” he says. “This is only true if their actions lead in that direction.”

Genes are protein makers that cause different functions, says Paul, but you’re in control. “Our diets, exercise, and environment shape our genes and make them produce different proteins,”

“Based on the food we consume, our physical activity, and environmental influences - our genes are constantly adapting to produce varying proteins,” explains Paul. “In a way, understanding your DNA is like being in control of how well you operate- similar to tuning up an engine for peak performance."

Researchers show a link between procrastination and impulsivity, Daniel Gustavson of the University of Colorado Boulder and associates surveyed 181 pairs of identical twins and 166 sets of fraternal twins to explore their tendency towards impulsivity, procrastination, as well as the capacity for goal setting, and execution.

This discovery implies that genetically speaking, procrastination is a by-product of impulsivity in the modern world - much more so than it was for our ancestors. This trait continues to evolve as we do.

Patterns to see if your child is procrastinating

There are several patterns or signs that you can look out for to determine if your child is procrastinating. Here are a few:

  1. Delaying tasks: If your child consistently puts off tasks until the last minute or until they are past the deadline, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating.
  2. Distractions: If your child is easily distracted by other activities or is spending a lot of time on activities that are not related to their tasks, they may be procrastinating.
  3. Lack of motivation: If your child shows a lack of interest or enthusiasm for tasks that they normally enjoy, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating.
  4. Difficulty getting started: If your child has difficulty starting tasks or has a hard time focusing on the task at hand, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating.
  5. Excuses: If your child is consistently making excuses for why they are not completing tasks, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating.

If you notice these patterns or signs in your child's behavior, it's important to talk to them about their procrastination and work with them to develop effective strategies to overcome it.

Would you still depend on strict schools and teachers to build habits?

Strict schools and teachers can play an important role in teaching students how to develop good habits, but they should not be the only solution. Students learn best when they are given responsibility for their behavior, and this requires parents and educators to provide them with tools and guidance to help them understand why establishing positive habits is beneficial. It is also important for students to be able to take charge of their learning, by setting goals and managing their time. Self-awareness is key to developing good habits. When young people understand the consequences of their decisions, they are less likely to procrastinate and more likely to take action toward their desired outcomes.

Would forcing kids to comply with rules set by parents help?

Forcing children to comply with rules set by parents can help in some situations, however, parents need to be aware of their children’s individual needs and preferences. No two individuals are the same, and what works for one child may not work for another. It is also important to keep in mind that punishment alone does not help in developing long-term habits. When setting rules for children, it is important to combine them with positive reinforcement and meaningful consequences when needed.

Additionally, providing appropriate guidance and support, as well as giving children the opportunity to make their own decisions about how they will establish good habits, can go a long way toward helping them succeed in their goals.

How to help kids build the right habits and lead them to success?

Strategies to help kids break procrastination habits include:

• Setting realistic goals and developing a plan to achieve them.

• Emphasize the importance of completing all tasks, no matter how small, to build confidence.

• Encourage positive self-talk and provide lots of encouragement. Offer rewards for good behavior and draw attention to successes.

• Help them prioritize tasks and tasks that need to be done first.

• Teach them time-management skills, such as breaking down a big task into smaller ones.

• Establish a set routine for activities and provide structure during the day.

• Teach problem-solving and decision-making skills to help kids cope with any potential challenges they may face.

• Encourage self-awareness and reflection upon their behavior so they can understand why they are procrastinating and what steps need to be taken to stop it.

• Create a positive atmosphere at home and make sure your expectations are clear.

Ultimately, we can help our kids become responsible adults by teaching them how to work through their procrastination issues and understand the importance of completing tasks promptly. The more we can help our kids become aware of procrastination and learn how to manage it, the better equipped they will be for success later on in life.

Mar 11, 2023
Integrated Parenting

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