When does impulse control develop? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 8 Old 10-14-2010, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
wallabi's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: the countryside of Japan
Posts: 126
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The title says it all, really. When do kids really start to develop impulse control?

At what point does expecting a child to NOT run off down the street with a friend to her house, while mama stands at the top of the hill (next to the car we were about to get into) calling "stop!" become a realistic expectation?

Happily when 4 yo dd took off running full-tilt with her 4 yo friend after preschool yesterday it was in a safe-ish place, but I had rather thought we had outgrown this running away and not stopping thing.
wallabi is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 8 Old 10-14-2010, 10:33 PM
One_Girl's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,701
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 43 Post(s)
The part of the brain that controls impulse control doesn't fully develop until the early 20's. I think four is old enough to understand the consequences of running away from your mom or not listening when your mom says stop though. I never had any issues with my dd running away from me though so I don't know for sure. When kids get together with friends they do tend to forget self control and they sometimes do things they typically would never do.
One_Girl is offline  
#3 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
wallabi's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: the countryside of Japan
Posts: 126
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
well, true, impulse control developmenting is a long process. Maybe I should reword my wonderings a little.

I am struggling to mantain realistic expectations with dd right now - she can do so so many things (and some of them suddenly - I had no idea you could do that yourself, sweetie!) and can converse and understand so much that it is a little hard for me to see where her actual limitations are, just at the moment. It makes it tricky for me to decide whether she is willfully not doin something she can do (like not run off with her friend - I thought she was capable of that!) or whether I am expecting her to do something that really, she can`t quite pull off on her own yet.

Does that make any sense?
Anyone else want to chime in with what their idea of realistic expectations for a four year old are? Just in general terms, or as relates to impulse control and running off?
wallabi is offline  
#4 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 09:38 PM
reezley's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OK, I'm sure I'm not the right person to offer an answer to this question, but the answer for us so far, is "not yet, at almost 6 years old". They seem to have new reasons almost every year for pulling stunts like that. First, they don't know the rule, then when they're a bit older, they test the rule to learn it, then they know the rule but find new independence that they're testing out (my 3.5yo just wants to do stuff that big kids do, that's often why he'd run off). Then, they eventually develop more of an "attitude" where they know they're testing YOU. Or like the PP said, with a friend they are feeling out that new relationship, doing things together they wouldn't alone. At almost 6, I have no idea why ds1 runs when I say no sometimes, but it does happen way less than it used to.

So, totally unhelpful, just know that in my opinion it's not unusual to lack that control at 4.
reezley is offline  
#5 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 10:51 PM
ssh's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,680
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My almost 5 year old has pretty good impulse control unless something is really interesting, then it's gone. Impulse control differs form child to child just like other developmental issues. I still hold DDs hand when we're near a road.
ssh is offline  
#6 of 8 Old 10-15-2010, 11:15 PM
LynnS6's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,447
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Impulse control while well rested, well fed and healthy (and not around other children)? For ds, about age 3 (he was incredibly early, IMO). Dd about 4 1/2 to 5.

Impulse control around other children? Age 6 for dd.

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#7 of 8 Old 11-04-2013, 01:08 PM
Asiago's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,910
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
From my reading, 4.5-5 is more common and the range is 3-6 years. Three would be the early side of the range for onset of impulse control.
Asiago is offline  
#8 of 8 Old 11-09-2013, 10:18 AM
nina_yyc's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 2,010
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would love to know the definitive answer to this questions.  There's more to it than age.  My almost-4yo has better impulse control than my almost-7yo.  It crosses my mind about daily that maybe it's just because my youngest hasn't thought of evil impulses yet that need to be controlled or that my 7yo is going to end up in therapy...but I am hoping it's just different personalities.  I just look for continuous improvement.  More impulse control than yesterday is all I ask :)

nina_yyc is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 16,288

31 members and 16,257 guests
AMG , anisaer , bananabee , Boodah'smama , Deborah , Dovenoir , emmy526 , hillymum , Iron Princess , K5Family , katelove , Katherine73 , kathymuggle , Lucee , manyhatsmom , Michele123 , moominmamma , OllyMolly , philomom , SammysLittleOne , scaramouche131 , Shmootzi , Skippy918 , sniffmommy , sren , StarsFall , worthy , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.