Recognizing impulsivity Pt:2
Dr Jozelle Miller
August 24, 2021
Recognizing impulsivity Pt:2

Important outcomes in our lives are often determined by the balance between functional and dysfunctional impulsivity. Take for instance, as a consumer whose impulsivity is relatively high on the dysfunctional side, he or she is more likely to be an impulse buyer. When the balance tips in favour of functional impulsivity, the consumer may simply be more adventurous in their buying behaviour.

Causes of Impulsive Behaviour

How we make decisions is a complex process. The cause of being impulsive may not always be evident. People may also indulge in risky behaviour for reasons other than impulsivity. It’s also not uncommon to see impulsiveness in young children who haven’t developed self-control.

Studies show that impulsivity may have something to do with the prefrontal lobe. Other research suggests an association between impulsivity and brain connectivity.

How to control impulsive behaviour

How to approach this behaviour depends on the cause. In many cases, the person is not at fault. They may not have the ability to change.

When it’s your child, you can:

n Make them aware of their impulsivity and how it affects them later.

n Explore alternative behaviours by role-playing.

n Teach and practice patience.

You can deal with your own impulsive tendencies by:

n Mentally walking through potential scenarios and practising how to stop and think before acting.

n Dealing directly with your usual impulsiveness by making it harder to binge, splurge, or dive headlong into things.


Everyone behaves impulsively sometimes. Most of the time, we can work to limit those behaviours on our own. Sometimes, impulsive behaviour is part of an impulse control disorder or other type of mental health condition. These disorders can be treated.
If you have major problems due to impulsive behaviour, help is available. Take the first step and see a doctor.