These parents know that raising kids involves sacrifices. When the choice is between their favorite show on television, and reading a book to their toddler, such parents choose the latter, making a sacrifice of their favorite show. As every parent knows, numerous instances pop up every day, when a choice has to be made between something that is good for the child, and something that is preferred by the parent. It turns out that parents who make a wise choice at those times stand a better chance at raising a well-developed, rounded child, who grows up to be successful and happy. This does not mean that parents have to sacrifice all the time. No. there should be balance between activities done for the sake of children, and done for one’s own sake.
Parents who are addicted to television, smart phone, or the I-pad do not raise successful and happy children. Studies show that parents who are addicted to smartphone themselves, have children who are also very addicted, right from an early age. Children who are addicted to chatting and net-surfing from a small age have difficulty concentrating at school, and their grades drop.
Children who grow up on a diet of coke and potato fries are not likely to get far in life. Parents of happy and successful kids see to it that their children have healthy and tasty food to eat, and that their kids do eat well. Children growing up in such families are healthier, both physically and mentally, and are able to do well academically and non-academically.
Parents who have the reading habit raise children who like reading. These parents read to their children when they are small. They also see that there are enough and more books available in the house for the children to read. Reading is a priority at home.
Harvard Grant Study, the longest longitudinal study ever conducted, show that kids raised on chores go on to become employees who collaborate well with their colleagues, are more empathetic because they know firsthand what struggling feels like, and are able to take on tasks independently. Children who do chores around the house without expecting any reward in return, grow up to be responsible and willing to work hard. Their parents know that quality work ethic begins from home. These children do not have servants waiting on their every whims and fancies. They start living in the real world very early in life; the real world where you have to earn your keep.
Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, waiting for one’s turn, controlling anger, being polite, being helpful to others, not saying rude and bad words – these are all social skills one needs to learn at a young age, and parents have to teach these skills actively, whenever the opportunity arises. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University studied more than 700 individuals from kindergarten to age 25, and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults two decades later.
Parents who have healthy and happy relationships with each other create a family that is stress-free, and conducive to optimal growth of children. Their children are spared the trauma of separation and divorce, and the pain of witnessing every day conflicts and fights at home. A University of Illinois study suggests that even children in single-parent families with no conflict do better than children from two-parent families ridden with conflict.
Parents who say ‘yes’ to whatever their children demand may be doing them a disservice. David Walsh, Ph.D., in his new book, No: Why Kids — Of All Ages — Need to Hear it and Ways Parents Can Say It, writes about our reluctance to deny our kids’ requests and why hearing “no” actually builds character. Parents who say ‘no’ to kids bring them up to face real life where they will hear a lot of ‘no’, in relationships, and in the workplace. Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation to have an immediate reward, and wait for a later reward. Usually, the later reward is larger and more valuable than the immediate reward. A considerable number of studies have linked the ability to delay gratification to positive outcomes such as psychological health, physical health, academic success, and social competence.
Bowling Green State University psychologist Eric Dubow, in a 2009 longitudinal study of 856 people in semi-rural New York, found that parents’ educational attainment level when the child is 8 years old significantly predicted the educational and occupational success of the child 40 years later. This is particularly true in families where the mothers had a high educational level. Studies also show that a high socio-economic status also contributes to children’s educational and social achievement levels.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has discovered that children and adults think of success in two ways: either as something they achieved because of innate ability and intelligence, or as something they achieved due to hard work. Parents of risk-taking children tend to think of success as a result of good effort. Therefore, when the child fails, they attribute it to lack of effort put in, and just encourages the child to try better next time. This is the ‘growth mindset’ as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’. If children are told that they aced a test because of their innate intelligence, that creates a “fixed” mindset. If they are told that they succeeded because of effort, that teaches a “growth” mindset.