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Be consistent. Eat together. Let kids fail.
Send them outside to play. Fresh air never hurt anyone.
Establish house rules. Take away privileges. Let kids be bored. Carve out grown-up time.
Get over your guilt-trip; sometimes you need adults-only time to reconnect and recharge. Establish a regular bedtime. Refuse to be a short order cook.
Kids always have two choices for meals: Take it or leave it. Assign every family member chores. It simply means that, within broad limits, how parents raise and socialize their children may not be very important to adult personality. It also explains why adopted children often turn out to be very similar to their biological parents and not at all like their adoptive parents.
Thanks once again to Jay Belsky for alerting me to this article and for very useful discussions.
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The space-time continuum is the only thing unkind to women. Back Psychology Today. Back Find Counselling. Back Get Help. Back Magazine.
Why parenting has virtually no effect on children
Subscribe Issue Archive. Back Today. The media has made a lot of hay out of the long-running research, oohing and aahing at its length and scope. But I've got to tell you, the Harvard study is peanuts compared to the British birth cohorts. Interested in the conditions for mothers in the war-ravaged country, researchers decided to survey every woman who gave birth over a one week period in The result was some 14, detailed questionnaires about every aspect of birth in Britain at the time.
Then a generation later, they did it again, and again and again, surveying around 70, kids as they moved through their lives over a year time period to see how they were doing in terms of health, education, and overall thriving. You can imagine the reams and reams of data generated.
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What does it all boil down to? That is an enormous and ongoing question, but author Helen Pearson has a few powerful conclusions to share.
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In a TED talk last year full talk below, hat tip to Swiss Miss she explained what she learned as a scientist and mother from the experience of writing her book, The Life Project , on the cohort studies. Her first takeaway is both the least shocking and the most depressing: if at all possible, try not to be born poor. As just about everyone would expect, kids born into disadvantaged families grow up, on average, to do less well by any measure.
The trouble, of course, is that we can't choose our parents. And if that were all there was to it, the world would be unbearably sad.