Science Says Parents Of Successful Kids Have These 16 Things In Common

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Danielle Andrew 08 Sep 2016, 12:35

Good parents want their kids to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and go on to do awesome things as adults.

And while there isn't a set recipe for raising successful children, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success.

Unsurprisingly, much of it comes down to the parents.

Here's what parents of successful kids have in common:

1. They make their kids do chores

"If kids aren't doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them," Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of "How to Raise an Adult" said during a TED Talks Live event. 

"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. 

Lythcott-Haims 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.  

She bases this on the Harvard Grant Study, the longest longitudinal study ever conducted.

"By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life," she tells Tech Insider.

2. 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.

"This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future," said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research, in a release.

"From an early age, these skills can determine whether a child goes to college or prison, and whether they end up employed or addicted."

3. They have high expectations

Using data from a national survey of 6,600 children born in 2001, University of California at Los Angeles professor Neal Halfon and his colleagues discovered that the expectations parents hold for their kids have a huge effect on attainment

"Parents who saw college in their child's future seemed to manage their child toward that goal irrespective of their income and other assets," he said in a statement.

The finding came out in standardized tests: 57% of the kids who did the worst were expected to attend college by their parents, while 96% of the kids who did the best were expected to go to college.

That parents should keep their expectations high falls in line with another psych finding — the Pygmalion effect, which states "that what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy" — as well as what some teachers told Business Insider was most important for a child's success.

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