Under the right conditions, our brains are capable of unparalleled levels of abstract thought, such as imagining a future goal and making detailed plans about how to get there. But under adverse conditions, our brains have evolved to cut down on the flourishes and focus in on the basics of survival in the here and now.
And in our society, hardly anything is more adverse to survival than poverty. It would be foolish to spend precious mental resources thinking about solving a problem that won’t occur for a month when you can’t afford dinner tonight.
…Like any other kind of thinking, self-control can be taught. …But that kind of involved parenting takes time, and financially poor parents are often “time-poor,” too.