Skip to content
Surprising Science

Why Kids Need a Little Self-Control

We all know them: parents whose children run wild in public, allowed to behave in ways that make the rest of us cringe and calculate privately how we can avoid them until they’re 25. (Though we probably won’t like them then, either.) 

This is not, of course, the same thing as the parents whose infant shrieks once on a three hour flight or in a restaurant. I’m talking about the ones ordering another glass of wine while their kids perform impromptu one-acts for busy servers who must pretend to find little Ruby or Miles’ harassment cute.

It turns out that it’s not just social graces the children — and parents — lack. It’s self-control, an attribute that has more bearing on one’s success in life than intelligence

Today we’re happy to introduce a six-part multimedia series, “How to Build Your Child’s Self-Control” examining the science behind the skill. The series is a collaboration between Big Think and Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D. and coauthor of Welcome to Your Child’s Brain. (Aamodt is also the former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research.) Here’s how she summarizes what she’ll be writing about in the coming weeks: 

Parents who worry about increasing their children’s intelligence should instead focus on building self-control. This basic brain function predicts life success in many areas, and it can be improved by practice. Learn about research-tested ways to help your child develop this important set of skills.

We’ll be releasing a new article in the series every Sunday for the next six weeks, starting with today’s post, “Why Build Self Control?”, so check back on Sunday mornings to read more.


Up Next