Research shows that the effects of instilling self-control in children last until their working life.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that children with higher self-control are more likely to find and retain jobs as adults compared to those with lower self-control.
People with high self-control are typically better at paying attention, persisting with difficult tasks and suppressing inappropriate and impulsive behaviors.
For the study, researchers used data from 2 previous studies of more than 15,000 children. Self-control was measured from children as young as 7 years old. Results showed that children with high capacities for self-control would spend 40% less time being unemployed as adults compared to children with low capacities.
Analysis of the 1980s recession also showed that those with lower self-control during childhood were most affected by the economic crisis. They were the first to lose their jobs and had difficulty finding new employment.
Several factors may have contributed to this, including their inability to deal with stress, a lag in skill development due to career interruptions, and a greater likelihood of falling into bad habits, like poor time management.
“Developing greater self-control in childhood, when the capacity for self-control is particularly malleable, could help buffer against unemployment during recessions and bring long-term benefits to society, through increased employment rates and productivity,” said lead researcher Michael Daly of the University of Stirling in Scotland
To help develop self-control, Daly suggested preschool interventions, school programmes, and engaging in martial arts, yoga and meditation exercises.
Sources: April 15, 2015. "Childhood Self-Control May Lead to Better Jobs Later in Life". parents.com April 14, 2015. "Childhood self-control linked to enhanced job prospects throughout life." sciencedaily.com