3 Ways To Raise A Successful Child, According to Science
Raising a child comes with plenty of worrisome areas. Will they grow up ok? Will they be healthy? Will they like the name I gave them? And look, there's only so much you can do, you are, after all, human too. But, according to science, there are a few ways you can (nearly) ensure your child will grow up to be successful. Here are three ways science says you can help your kid be their best future self.
Give your kids a few chores around the house
According to research by Marty Rossmann, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, household chores give children a sense of responsibility from a very young age, which they bring into adulthood. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, Rossmann's work included an analysis from a longitudinal study that followed 84 children across four periods in their lives. Rossmann found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends. They were also more likely to achieve both academic and career success.
"Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we've stopped doing one thing that's actually been a proven predictor of success—and that's household chores," Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and co-author of the book "Raising Can-Do Kids," further shared with The Wall Street Journal.
However, as Lifehack noted, it's key to keep chores and allowance separate as further research shows that external rewards can lower intrinsic motivation.
Travel with your children around the globe
Traveling the world is both good for you and your children's future success, according to experts.
"By spending time in unfamiliar towns, cities, or countries, you become tolerant and even accepting of your own discomfort and more confident in your ability to navigate ambiguous situations," Todd Kashdan, psychology professor and a senior scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University, wrote in the Harvard Business Review. Furthermore, Kashdan pointed out, a study of 485 United States adults showed that exposure to foreign travel was linked to a "greater ability to direct attention and energy, which helps us function effectively in diverse situations and display appropriate verbal and nonverbal signals of emotion." By visiting more countries throughout one's life they build a greater immersion to other cultures and bring those learnings home with them long after the trip ends.
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Let them fail
In an "everyone gets a trophy" era let your kid be the one who loses every once in a while. Sure, it may hurt, but it's good to let your kid fall down, according to author and teacher Jessica Lahey.
As she pointed out in book, research shows that allowing children to fail provides them with a sense of autonomy in their decision making. She also pointed to the research done by Wendy Grolnick, a psychologist, whose work included observing pairs of mothers and children as they played in a room. Grolnick would label the moms as either "controlling" or "autonomy-supportive." She then put the children in a room alone and asked them to perform a task. The results, Grolnick explained in her book, were "striking." As she explained, the children who had controlling mothers gave up when faced with a task while the others thrived.
"Kids who were raised by controlling or directive parents could not contemplate tasks on their own, but the kids who were being raised by autonomy-supportive parents stuck with tasks, even when they got frustrated," she wrote in her book, which was excerpted by Quartz. "Kids who can redirect and stay engaged in tasks, even when they find those tasks difficult become less and less dependent on guidance in order to focus, study, organize, and otherwise run their own lives."