Motivated toddlers grow into successful adults

Study shows that teaching children as young as three to be self-disciplined helps them succeed in the future

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Toddlers who are well-disciplined and persevere at tasks, are more likely to be wealthier and healthier in adult life, a new study reveals.

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The research, released today, provides some hard evidence that parents can influence their children’s future position in life by teaching them certain life skills. These include self-control and self-discipline.

Following a detailed study, researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand have found that teaching children as young as three about self-discipline, perseverance and working hard, could mean that they are less likely to encounter health issues, financial woes or criminal convictions in later life.

In contrast, children who have lower self-control are more likely to develop problems from adolescence including early substance abuse, poorer health, teen pregnancy and lower academic achievement.

Lead researcher for the study, Professor Moffitt adds, “Our research singles out children’s self-control as a clear target for prevention policy, apart from all other influential features of children’s backgrounds, such as their family life, socio-economic status or the child’s intelligence.”
 
The study also highlights that a child’s self-control can increase with age, suggesting that it is never too late to intervene and help equip your child with the necessary skills.

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So the next time your toddler is demanding to watch another episode of a favourite TV programme, set some sensible boundaries and encourage him to work at something – perhaps building the highest tower of blocks he’s ever created.  

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