7 signs a child will be incredibly successful

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Life not quite going to plan? Just shift the blame onto the shoulders of your childhood self.

Science has pinned down the childhood behaviours that predict success in later life - whether that means educational attainment, finding a more prestigious job and a higher income. Obviously, though, success is subjective.

No study investigated the traits that might lead to the adulthood ability to scoff a pizza in record time. So, if that's your definition of success, you can rest easy if your childhood doesn't quite match up to these behaviours.

Here's what the researchers found that children with extremely bright futures get up to. Spoiler: Do your homework.

1. They have good reading and writing skills

New research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology analysed data from 346,660 US high school students in 1960.

After checking back with participants 11 and 50 years later, lead author Marion Spengler and her co-authors found that having fewer problems with reading and writing was significantly associated with greater educational attainment, finding a more prestigious job and a higher income.

2. They are interested in school


Spengler's research found that attentiveness when it comes to school is also a predictor of success. 

She said in a press release:

Our research found that specific behaviours in high school have long-lasting effects for one's later life.

3. They're a responsible student

Spengler's team concluded that being a responsible student - for example, attending school, doing your homework and taking exams seriously - suggests that your adult life will likely be pretty fruitful. 

4. They do chores

Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of 'How to Raise an Adult' , doesn't seem like a bad person to take parenting advice off.

She told Business Insider:

If kids aren't doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,

And so they're absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the of the whole.

She based this claim on an 80-year-old study called the Harvard Grant Study, which found the biggest predictor of a person's success is whether they did chores as a child.

5. They're taught maths early on

A 2007 meta-analysis of 35,000 preschoolers across the US, Canada and England found that developing maths skills early on can add up to a huge advantage.

Northwestern University researcher and co-author of the study Greg Duncan said in a press release:

The paramount importance of early math skills — of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order, and other rudimentary math concepts — is one of the puzzles coming out of the study.

Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement.

6. They defy their parents

If your kids are rebellious, grit your teeth through the pain because you might actually be getting something right.

A study published in Developmental Psychology tracked the income and education levels of kids who attended Luxembourg schools in the 1960s.

Those who were willing to resist authority and defy their parents tended to stay in school longer and were more likely to go into further education.

7. They are gritty

Picture: iStock / Michael_Dodd


Yeah, not like that. 

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth uncovered a personality trait powerfully correlated with success - and, for some reason, she called it grit. 

Basically, it means you stick with your goals, particularly long-term ones, and don't give up. 


More: People who are always late are more successful and creative

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