Get Adobe Flash player

Nice guys do finish first, and it starts in kindergarten

    Well, what do you know? According to recent research from the American Journal of Public Health, kids who are nice, well-behaved and polite go on to succeed at a higher rate than their surly little punk counterparts.
    All those stereotypes of ruthless, cold-hearted schemers rising to the top are not that accurate – at least if you look at personality traits of kids who go on to be successful.
    According to an article on the study published in USA Today July 17, kids judged to have good “social competence” go on to achieve healthy, economically viable lifestyles ahead of those  who have problems getting along with other students and teachers.
    The study, which followed 750 kids for 20 years, (until they were 25 years old) found that how the children behaved in the youngest school grades gave one of the best predictors of how they would turn out down the road.
    The social skills that translated in success: cooperation, resolving conflicts, listening to others points of view and the ability to give suggestions without being bossy, according to the USA Today article.   
    These skills, which needless to say many adults still lack, were thought to be just as important as academic grades as an indicator of who would go on to a good job and who would end up behind bars.
    The study found that kids who had the basic social skills were more likely to have graduated from college and be holding full time jobs during the study period.
    Kids that had been judged to have weak social skills were more likely to have substance abuse problems, require public assistance, and to have been arrested and unemployed.
    Parents who have some ill-tempered badger of a child at home can take heart that the researchers found these social skills, just like  math, can be improved at any point to increase the chances with later success.
    There is a certain amount of justice in this study’s findings. The kids that win the behavior award also stand a better chance of winning in life over the bully.
    The study’s findings clearly buck the old saying of nice guys finish last. Maybe, its not really that surprising that overall it’s students who know how to get along with others and have basic manners and discipline that come out on top eventually. Who wants to hire, promote or deal with some pushy jerk?
    If the grown-up bully happens to own a company then they can play the role of Bad Boss but there aren’t any movies about bad entry-level employees getting promoted – except the occasional comedy.
    As the school year rolls out, parents should take note of this study. These discipline, respect, and courtesy traits are clearly areas that need to be handled at home before your kids get to school.
    And this ought to be some inspiration to address discipline problems: You really do need to take your parenting seriously not just to get the school off your back, but to help your kid end up employed at a decent job.
    While some parents  ignore their children’s shortcomings, this study makes clear that sooner or later the child will face the consequences of all the things a thoughtless parent lets slip by.
    Better to be reined in by a mother or father as a youngster than have the courts or a boss do the reprimanding down the road.
    So as school bell rings for this academic year, do your child, his teacher, class, school and society a favor, instill respect and discipline when you parent. Good behavior pays off in the classroom and according to this study, down the road in life.