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13 Ways To Raise Successful Children

Children may not come with an operator’s manual, but the best parents don’t seem to need one.

The parents of successful kids have 13 things in common that help launch their offspring to happy, prosperous adulthood, according to new research described in  How many of these traits did your parents demonstrate?

  1. They believe in chores. Kids who do chores learn that in life there is work to be done, and everyone needs to contribute for the betterment of the group.
  2. They teach social skills. Developing the ability to get along with others, problem-solve and control emotions at an early age is critical to success as an adult, according to a study done by Penn State and Duke University.
  3. They set high expectations. Kids tend to live up to their parents’ expectations, as evidenced by standardized test data that shows 96% of the best performers were expected by their parents to attend college.   What’s more, parents who believe their child will go to college seem to manage their kids in that direction, regardless of such obstacles as low family income.
  4. They get along with their spouse. Kids who come from homes torn by parental strife tend to struggle more in life.  This is true for children in both intact and divorced families.
  5. They’ve got some level of educational achievement. Moms who finish high school or college tend to raise kids who reach the same level, according to a University of Michigan study.  The same study found that children born to teen moms (under 18) were less likely to finish high school or college than their counterparts.
  6. They teach math early. A child’s knowledge of numbers, counting and other basic math skills before kindergarten helps predict later success in both math and reading, according to a study of 35,000 preschoolers.
  7. They are close to their kids. Children who receive attentive care and have a sound emotional base in their first three years do better in school and have healthier interpersonal relationships, says a University of Minnesota study.
  8. They are less stressed. Emotions are contagious.  A parent who is stressed can transfer those feeling to their kids.  This is one problem with “helicopter parenting.”  Children pick up mom or dad’s fear about every little thing on the playground and internalize it.
  9. They value taking risks to grow. Parents of successful children urge their kids to take on new challenges to test their innate intelligence and talent.  These parents are fine with the occasional failure if it comes as part of a growth process.
  10. The mothers work. A working mom is a good role model for both daughters and sons.  Harvard research shows that daughters of working women go to school longer, are more likely to become supervisors, and make 23% more than peers raised by say-at-home moms.   The sons of working mothers contribute more to the operation of the household, which helps undermine stereotypes that support gender inequality.
  11. They have more money. Sadly, there is no escaping the fact that a child’s academic achievement is closely tied to their parents’ income.  While there has always been an achievement gap, the divide is getting worse, according to Stanford University research.
  12. They walk the line between permissive and authoritarian. Parents of the most successful children tend have an “authoritative” style. This means they work to direct their children and explain their reasoning, instead of dictating or allowing them to run free.  This approach teaches kids to respect authority without being overly controlled by it.
  13. They teach grit. Last, but perhaps most important, these parents teach their kids to envision long-term goals and commit to achieving them, regardless of the obstacles.  It’s no surprise that a University of Pennsylvania psychologist discovered that the top performing Ivy League and West Point students all have this trait in spades.
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