Do you have a hard time telling your child to do something without them throwing a tantrum? Do they constantly defy authority? Is their favourite word ‘no’?
Believe it or not, this is great news! According to new research, stubborn children are more likely to do better in life, especially in education and in the workforce.
The study began in 1968 and scientists followed 700 children from the age of eight to their mid-life.
Children between the ages of eight and 12 were assessed for personality traits like self-entitlement, non-compliance, and academic conscientiousness. Studies were followed up 40 years later and all the stubborn children from the trial were now high-earners and overachieving academics.
“Drawing on a 2-wave longitudinal sample spanning 40 years from childhood (age 12) to middle adulthood (age 52), the present study was designed to examine how student characteristics and behaviours in late childhood (assessed in 1968) predict career success in adulthood (assessed in Wave 2 in 2008),” a researcher wrote in in the Journal of Developmental Psychology.
“We examined the influence of parental socioeconomic status, childhood intelligence, and student characteristics and behaviours (inattentiveness, school entitlement, responsible student, sense of inferiority, impatience, pessimism, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) on two important real-life outcomes (i.e., occupational success and income)."
The research was published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology.
The study also found that conscientiousness pessimism and anxiety was an indication of high-intelligence
“Childhood Neuroticism was found to be negatively related and childhood Extraversion to be positively related to extrinsic career success," they said.
"Conscientiousness was associated with both intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes. The personality factors predicted career success over and above general cognitive abilities.”
However, the study also points out that suborn people tend to value competition over their personal relationships. They also suggest that children who disobey the rules and stand up for themselves are more willing to stand up for their own interests, leading to higher salaries when they’re in adulthood.
"Student characteristics and behaviours play significant roles in important life outcomes over and above socioeconomic factors and cognitive abilities," the researchers conclude in the paper.
"We demonstrated that being successful is more than 'just' having good cognitive resources and coming from a socially advantaged family and that personality related characteristics and student behaviour measured early in life are important predictors of life outcomes in midlife."