Raising kids is hard, raising them to be above-average productive members of society is even harder. Indeed, one of those hard things about raising kids is hearing endless advice on how to raise kids “right”; so don’t listen to everyone and their ideas. Instead, listen to the science and collective wisdom of really smart people. It turns out that making kids do chores is a good way to help kids be better adults as it engrains in them a mentality of helping and “pitching-in” when needed.
In the Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history, (spanning 75 years and counting–from 1938 to the present), researchers identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful:
The first? Love.
The second? Work ethic.
And what’s the best way to develop work ethic in young people? Based on the experiences of the 724 high-achievers who were part of the study (including people like future-President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of The Washington Post) there’s a consensus.
Thanks to Liz!
Raising a child is hard, and raising a child who is well behaved is harder. It might be easier if you’re positive about it though. There’s a growing body of research that backs up what many already know: publishing children doesn’t work; rewarding their behaviour does.
Positive reinforcement of good behaviour makes a much greater difference on behaviour than punishment. How do you put this is into practice can be found in an an interview with Alan Kazdin, who also outlines why it’s important to do.
One is gentle instructions, and another one is choice. For example, “Sally, put on your,”— have a nice, gentle tone of voice. Tone of voice dictates whether you’re going to get compliance or not. “Sarah, put on the green coat or the red sweater. We’re going to go out, okay?” Choice among humans increases the likelihood of compliance. And choice isn’t important, it’s the appearance of choice that’s important. Having real choice is not the issue, humans don’t feel too strongly about that, but having the feeling that you have a choice makes a difference.
So now that’s what comes before the behavior.
And now the behavior itself. When you get compliance, if that’s the behavior you want, now you go over and praise it … very effusively, and you have to say what you’re praising exactly.