What do parents of successful children have in common?

All good parents want their kids to succeed, but if you look around at the general population, clearly not everybody ends up being a high achiever. Want some advice on how to give your children an edge? Here are several things parents of successful kids do differently.

  1. They let their kids fail
    What used to be called “helicopter parenting” — constantly hovering over every aspect of a child’s life — has evolved into what some experts now call “snowplow parenting.” It’s when parents obsess over ways to prevent their kids from failing. Prime example: Actress Felicity Huffman and other wealthy parents recently accused of collectively paying millions of dollars to have test scores and other achievements of their prodigy covertly amplified so as to gain admission into elite universities.

Yet plowing through one’s own problems and pushing through frustration are valuable life skills which help kids grow into resilient adults. It can be difficult for parents to let offspring pave their own way, however. According to a recent nationwide poll of parents of children 18 to 28 years old, three-quarters have reminded their adult children about school deadlines, 16 percent have called or texted them to wake them up, and eight percent have contacted a college professor or administrator about a grade or other problem. But this kind of intervention isn’t good for anyone. Be a good parent and let your kids fail and learn from the experience.

2. They foster an understanding that kids can control their destiny
It’s called having an internal locus of control, which is believing that your actions matter and you can do things to affect your success. Opposite of that, having an external locus of control, involves thinking that you’re a victim of circumstances or fate, a mindset associated with anxiety and a feeling of not being in charge of one’s life. Researchers have found that kids who show an internal locus of control by age 10 are less likely to be overweight as adults and less likely to rate their health as poor or have high levels of stress. Parents can help their kids develop an internal locus of control by showing kids how their actions have consequences as well as supporting their independence.

3. They model accountability
Kids who grow up believing their choices have consequences, either good or bad, are more apt to succeed in life because they’re able to learn from their mistakes and be proactive about taking steps to improve their situation. But experts believe that talking to kids about this concept isn’t nearly as powerful as when parents practice accountability themselves. It means admitting when you’ve screwed up yourself, apologizing and making reparations when appropriate.

4. They teach social skills
Researchers have found a correlation between kids’ social skills in kindergarten and their future success. Kids better at resolving problems with peers, listening, sharing, cooperating, and being helpful are significantly more likely to earn a college degree in early adulthood, graduate from high school, and have a full-time job at age 25. Children less adept at those skills have a higher rate of having been in juvenile detention, being arrested, binge drinking, using marijuana and living in public housing.

Do you know of anyone who has some or all of these attributes?

Check out my related post: Do you bribe your kid?

Interesting reads:








  1. Having been at three ends (if this is possible 🙂 of this equation, as a child with a permissive single parent, a parent of a chaotic house of four kids (best thing ever was a chaos I couldn’t completely control) and a teacher of helicoptering parents and the hot-house flower kids they were foisting on me — you are spot on — I would only add — there is always a little bit of luck involved and maybe some humbling, “freaked-out” prayer. Also, parenting never ends, as much as my adult children might wish it did. Ha!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rex’s daughter models these attributes very well. The children are maturing naturally. Its tough being a parent these days. Expectations are high. Rex tells the young parents he meets not to sweat the small stuff. 3 basic goals…you’ve succeeded as a parent if your child grows up with 1. No criminal record. 2. Isn’t addicted to any drug, or, 3. Didn’t get pregnant or make someone pregnant! Pretty basic eh?
    We really enjoy your posts btw!
    Naomi (and Rex of course! )

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are telling me. Tough to be a parent! Pretty basic but well, as with any parent, we want our children to do their best and hence the pressure not only on the parent but sometimes the child. Agree that less is more sometimes! Thanks for reading!


  3. The more important question for me is how to raise children that are HAPPY? I have done much of it right and have three successful responsible productive children with no criminal record. One is pregnant (hurrah). But the levels of anxiety, stress, self doubt and misery I really hate to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Better man

    Thanks for the follow and all the best with your blog

    for your entertainment in social isolation/hibernation
    (find and insert that pic of bear when you “get a mo”, c)

    A church has a rat problem
    The church doesn’t want to kill the rats so they trap them and release them far away, but the next day they are back.
    Next they try ask them politely to leave, still they won’t budge.
    Finally the priest has one last idea, he baptized all the rats.
    Now they only come at Christmas and Easter.
    man walked into a bar. He sat down and asked the bar tender “If I impress you, can I have a free drink?”. The bar tender said sure, so the man reached in his pocket and pulled out a tiny piano. He then pulled out a small rat and set it by the piano. It crawled on to the bench and began playing
    music. The bar tender was amazed, so he gave the man a beer. Next, the man said “If I impress you even more, can I have free drinks for life?”. The bar tender didn’t think it was possible, so he agreed. The man pulled a frog out of his pocket, and it began to sing by the piano. The bar tender smiled and told the man that he was impressed. A man in a suit with a cane walked into the bar, saw the small animals, and offered to buy them for $2 million. The owner said no, but he offered to sell the frog for $500k. The rich man agreed, took the frog, and left. The bar tender couldn’t believe the owner just did that and said “Why did you just sell the frog?! There is no singing now!”. The owner laughed and said “Don’t worry; the rat is a ventriloquist!”.

    Two professors of economics were walking down a road when they saw a dead rat.
    The older one said – “If you eat this, I’ll pay you ₹10,000”. The younger one makes a quick cost-benefit analysis and finally eats the rat.

    The younger professor experiences a bad after-taste and wants the older professor to experience the same. When he sees another dead rat on the road, he dares the professor to eat it in exchange for the old ₹10,000. The senior professor, eager to recover his reckless bet, eats it.

    After a few minutes of walking silently, the younger professor finally says – “Looks like we’ve been eating dead rats for free.”

    The older professor remarks, “But don’t forget we just added ₹ 20,000 to the GDP!”

    Thanks for the follow and all the best with your blog

    “the totally unmusical pie piper”

    Shared by “the worser man”

    “Information and Inspiration Distributer, Incorrigible Encourager and People-builder” *

    * not bridges (thank goodness)!

    Well my family and friends say I’m “safest” just writing and sharing

    Driven to share, uplift, encourage and (perhaps even) inspire

    “Live each day as if it’s your last…
    and one day you’ll be right!


    So it may be better and safer for you following the rats!

    Don’t worry about the world ending today…
    it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand

    Liked by 1 person

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