All parents want their kids to do well in school and become successful in their future life. As there isn’t any set recipe for raising successful children, different couple applies different methods to be the parents of successful kids.
But, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success. Here’s what parents of successful kids have in common:
They make their kids do chores: Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult” believes kids raised on chores go on to become employees who collaborate well with their coworkers, are more empathetic because they know firsthand what struggling looks like and are able to take on tasks independently.
“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,” she said.
“And so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole,” she said.
They teach their kids social skills: Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University tracked more than 700 children from across the US between kindergarten and age 25 and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults two decades later.
The 20-year study showed that socially competent children who could cooperate with their peers without prompting, be helpful to others, understand their feelings and resolve problems on their own were far more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by age 25 than those with limited social skills.
Those with limited social skills also had a higher chance of getting arrested, binge drinking, and applying for public housing.
They have healthy relationships with each other: Children in high-conflict families, whether intact or divorced, tend to fare worse than children of parents that get along,
Robert Hughes Jr., professor and head of the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois and the study review author, also notes that some studies have found children in nonconflictual single-parent families fare better than children in conflictual two-parent families.
The conflict between parents prior to divorce also affects children negatively, while post-divorce conflict has a strong influence on children’s adjustment, Hughes says.
They develop a relationship with their kids: A 2014 study of 243 people born into poverty found that children who received “sensitive caregiving” in their first three years not only did better in academic tests in childhood but also had healthier relationships and greater academic attainment in their 30s.
As reported on PsyBlog, parents who are sensitive caregivers “respond to their child’s signals promptly and appropriately” and “provide a secure base” for children to explore the world.
“This suggests that investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns that accumulate across individuals’ lives,” coauthor and University of Minnesota psychologist Lee Raby said in an interview.
They value effort over avoiding failure: Where kids think success comes from also predicts their attainment.
Over decades, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has discovered that children (and adults) think about success in one of two ways. Over at the always-fantastic Brain Pickings, Maria Popova says they go a little something like this:
A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens that we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.
A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
At the core is a distinction in the way you assume your will affects your ability, and it has a powerful effect on kids. If kids are told that they aced a test because of their innate intelligence that creates a “fixed” mindset. If they succeeded because of effort, that teaches a “growth” mindset.