8 Things Parents of Successful Kids Do Differently

Sep 12, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Mother and Daughter selfie
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When it comes to parenting, every person has his or her own style depending on what's best for their families — and their personal lives. But it's no secret that parenting styles can greatly shape the future of a child and determine their success in life.

Some parenting decisions have been proven to produce more successful children than others. Here's what the parents of successful children are doing differently.

1. They exhibit an authoritative parenting style

Parents who raise successful children exhibit an authoritative parenting style rather than authoritarian. Authoritative parenting can be compared to a hosting a democracy. Authoritative parents set rules and expect them to be followed, but they also allow rules to be up for debate. Authoritarian parents do not allow debate or even questioning of rules. Children of authoritarian parents tend to have lower self-esteem and are at a greater risk for depression than those of authoritative parents according to Psychology Today.

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2. They choose a healthy diet & exercise regime for themselves

Parents who are in good physical shape are better able to keep up with their kids and spend more time with them. Further, children look up to their parents, so being a fit role model means having fit children. Children with healthy parents are likely to mimic healthy behaviors throughout their lives.

3. They expose their children to different cultures

Exposing children to different places, people and cultures helps them to utilize parts of their brains that are not used in their natural childhood environment according to The Telegraph. Traveling activates the area of the brain responsible for a child’s cognitive functioning, social intelligence, attention, motivation and memory.

4. They give their children chores

The Harvard Grant Study asserts that the biggest predictor of one’s success is whether or not they were given chores as a child. Chores help children learn discipline, prioritization, cooperation and teamwork. Chores are children’s first peek into the real world and the hard work it requires, allowing them to anticipate the dedication required of advanced schooling or careers. 

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5. They teach their children how to learn from failures

Parents of successful children stress legitimate effort over actual success. While good grades are important to these parents, hard work is even more so. A child who's able to work hard but recoup when something goes wrong is much more poised for lifelong success than a child who's scared to start for fear they won't be perfect. 

6. They eat dinner as a family

Having a regular meal together as a family gives children consistency and structure, instituting personal discipline early. Family dinners also help to build relationships among family members and allow for children to address any issues they may be having. The American College of Pediatricians found that children who regularly eat meals with their families are less likely to exhibit negative high-risk behaviors, likely as a result of being less lonely and having stronger familial relationships. 

7. They give children their own responsibilities

Aside from assigning them chores, parents of successful children let them learn how to be responsible by themselves — allowing their kids to make their own decisions with their time and prioritization. For example, successful parents might allow their child to plan their schedule for the week or decide what to bring to school for lunch

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8. They help their kids develop social skills

Helping children learn how to interact and work well with others can determine the child’s success in the future. A 20-year study published in the American Journal of Public Health discovered that socially competent children are more likely to have a college degree and a career by the time they turn 25 and less likely to be arrested, engage in binge drinking or apply for public housing.


A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.

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