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We all have a little Impulsiveness!


What’s life without a little impulsivity?

Talking to parents on the phone day in and day out I hear a lot about how our campers tend to be impulsive. Quite often I am asked if it is okay that their child is impulsive and if we have the resources to deal with impulsivity. I assure them that impulsivity is common among our campers and that we manage it with lots of supervision, positive outlets for ADHD energy, and a very high staff to student ratio.

Google “impulsive decisions”. Do it! If you do, you will find nothing more than a series of “bad” impulsive decisions. Yes, being impulsive can be dangerous in some aspects of life, but does it really need to be labeled so negatively? When framed in a positive light, impulsiveness becomes spontaneity.

For instance, I made an impulsive decision to go swimming and hiking with friends. That decision turned out to be a magnificent experience that I will never forget. If I had thought about the decision and weighed the positive and negatives, I probably would have ended up at home writing a blog. Sure, here I am at 11:17pm writing this blog, but I believe that my experience and the laughter I had with the people I care about was worth it.

That same day I decided to buy a pair of FRYE boots. Yup, a pair of expensive boots that I couldn’t really afford, but you know what? I sure do look good in those boots! In the end I will have to pinch pennies a little tighter over the coming months, but I feel happy as I walk around basecamp and soak up the compliments!

The question is how do we prevent our children from making an impulsive decision that can hurt them? A good first step in helping change impulsivity into healthy behavior is to teach patience. Many of our campers come to us wanting instant gratification. In this world of the internet, it is difficult to teach patience.  At SOAR, our campers learn patience by unplugging and becoming more in tune with the slower pace and rhythm of nature.  Click wait to view “How to teach your child to wait.”

I like to think of myself as really patient, although I’m sure my friends and family think otherwise…. But being patient sometimes bottles up my frustration, so I run to get it out! Help your children find those healthy avenues to be impulsive. At SOAR, kids have the opportunity to release energy through all kinds of crazy adventure activities like rock climbing or whitewater rafting!

Lastly, talk with your kids about the results of their impulsive behavior. What could have they done differently and how would the consequences have changed? Role playing the situation helps them see it from a different perspective. The key part of this discussion is that it should happen when they are calm and not in upset mode.

Remember that there will always be slip ups, so allow them to happen within as safe an environment as possible. At SOAR we strive to provide that safe environment for learning where “slip ups” or mistakes are ok and we move forward! Even I have a slip up every now and again. So sure, shooting my boss with a water gun was not the smartest choice I’ve ever made, and I ended up with a Jeep that was drenched on the inside (retaliation can happen impulsively too)!  But this interaction also resulted in a more friendly and comfortable relationship with this person. This is a potent memory that shapes my identity at SOAR. All of my impulses are a small piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am. I urge you to embrace the impulsivity, spontaneity and creativity that lie within your child.