Kids Taught to Think the World is Nice are More Successful

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Children raised with a positive world view are more successful than children raised with a negative one. A negative instruction about the world given to kids could be to distrust strangers despite the evidence that a child isn’t likely to be harmed by someone they don’t know. It turns out that over a lifetime primarily negative impressions of the world negatively impacts one’s measurable success in life. The lesson here is to be positive and show children the good in the world.

The world is a good place with good people, don’t believe the haters.

Primal world beliefs (‘primals’) are beliefs about the world’s basic character, such as the world is dangerous. This article investigates probabilistic assumptions about the value of negative primals (e.g., seeing the world as dangerous keeps me safe). We first show such assumptions are common. For example, among 185 parents, 53% preferred dangerous world beliefs for their children. We then searched for evidence consistent with these intuitions in 3 national samples and 3 local samples of undergraduates, immigrants (African and Korean), and professionals (car salespeople, lawyers, and cops;), examining correlations between primals and eight life outcomes within 48 occupations (total N=4,535) . As predicted, regardless of occupation, more negative primals were almost never associated with better outcomes. Instead, they predicted less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts. We discuss why assumptions about the value of negative primals are nevertheless widespread and implications for future research.

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Go Ahead and Make Your Kids Work

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.

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Thanks to Liz!

Kids Don’t Benefit from Helicopter Parenting

Being a parent must be hard since websites are constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong. If you’re letting your kid explore the world on their own terms than you’re doing things right! Take a breather parents, it turns out that relaxing and stepping back is best for your kid. Parents who try to control their kids too much end up not letting the kids learn how the world works which means that later on in life those kids can’t cope. So, maybe just take it easy and watch your kids instead of directing them.

At the age of five the team looked at the children’s response to an unfair share of sweets, and their ability to think carefully about a puzzle under time pressure.

When the children were aged five and 10, the researchers asked teachers to rate problems such as depression, anxiety or loneliness in the children, the children’s academic performance, and their views of the children’s social skills. At 10 years the children were quizzed on their attitudes to school and teachers as well as emotional issues.

The team found that once factors including the child’s age, behaviour as a toddler and socioeconomic status were taken into account, more controlling behaviour by mothers was linked both to their children having less control over their own emotions and less control over their impulses by the age of five.

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A Healthy Mind Comes from Autonomy and a Sense of Control

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A new book authors William Stixrud and Ned Johnson describe a healthy way to raise children is to let me e themselves. In the book, The Self-Driven Child, they argue that children – and adults – benefit from a sense of control over their lives. Indeed, stress and anxiety increase when one feels that they cannot alter their surroundings or course of action. For a healthy child and a healthy adult life give yourself some slack to have control over things.

From a neurological perspective, when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious. So, the fact that kids are feeling more anxiety, by definition, suggests that their amygdalas are more active, which indicates that they are more likely to feel overwhelmed, stuck, or helpless.

Research on motivation has suggested that a strong sense of autonomy is the key to developing the healthy self-motivation that allows children and teens to pursue their goals with passion and to enjoy their achievements.

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Avoid Fat Kids by Owning a Dog

Recently Canada has been identified as being filled with fat people, and there’s a simple way to stop this waist problem from expanding: own a dog. Families that have a dog have kids who are fit and thinner than non-dog owning families.

Go play fetch and stay fit!

And an Australian analysis of 1,145 children found girls and boys with dogs 50 per cent less likely to be fat.

“If you’re a kid and a dog, you chase balls, you play soccer with them, you rumble with them, wrestle them on the carpet even if you’re watching TV,” said Jo Salmon of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. “It’s activity and it’s a mind thing as well.”

Children whose families owned dogs were more active, with increased light, moderate and vigorous physical activity, regardless of race or gender, reported Christopher Owen, an epidemiologist at St. George’s, University of London, who led the English study.

“The more active lifestyle of children from dog-owning families is really interesting,” he said. “Is it that owning a dog makes you more active or active families choose to have a dog? It’s a bit of a children and egg question.”

Keep reading the article here.

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