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Comforting Piece of News! Toddlers Who Throw Tantrums May End Up More Successful
  • Tantrums are a typical part of child development, but it can be incredibly frustrating and exhausting for both parent and child. And while we have written various strategies and techniques to calm down a child having a meltdown, this may help stretch your patience a little further when dealing with a challenging toddler: a recent study found that children who were outspoken in their views went on to enjoy success later in life.

    Yes, that means your child’s defiance can actually be a good thing — and all your hard work in disciplining your child may well be worth it.

    The study is small, but it was 40 years in the making and published in the journal Developmental Psychology. It was “designed to examine how student characteristics and behaviors in late childhood predict career success in adulthood.”

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    Psychologists at the University of Luxembourg collected data from 745 children at age 12, including factors such as family circumstances and status, a child’s intelligence, and his performance and behavior at school. Researchers then followed up with the children at age 52 and observed their career success and income, so they could understand how their childhoods influenced their future.

    According to study results, there were “direct and indirect influences of student characteristics” — like being a responsible student or breaking rules and defiance of parental authority — “on career success.”

    Researchers found that kids who resisted authority grew up successful. They went into higher education and achieved senior positions, earning a higher income compared to the well-behaved participants on average.

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    So can you finally heave a sigh of relief knowing that your toddler's tantrums may lead to something good? Well, if you’ve been pulling your hair out because you and your toddler are constantly locked in a battle of wills and he is really testing your patience, you can think of this study for comfort. 

    The study does not suggest, however, you can let your child get away with everything — you will end up with spoiled and entitled kids. But take a second look at what you think is a child’s misbehavior — it may be a personality that thinks out of the box and shows a willingness to push boundaries.

    You want to achieve balance between discipline and nurture with your child’s behavior because that’s how they learn grit, a trait that shows “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Psychologists are now focusing on grit as the critical element to success and happiness, as they’ve found it to be the most reliable predictor of a positive outcome in children.

    The end goal is to raise a child who can think for himself and not just a child who defies authority on a whim. There’s a big difference, and that’s the more likely reason why the kids in the study were able to achieve success. Good luck!

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