Everyone Currently Being Harried By Toddlers Should Take Heart, Because Disobedient Children Make More Money
If a misbehaving child is currently making you tear your own hair out, you can perhaps take comfort in the idea that that child might be flying you around Paris in your old age, because a new study says that disobedient children are likely to make more money as adults than their more obedient peers.
The new study was published in Developmental Psychology and was conducted by researchers from University of Luxembourg, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Free University of Berlin. It is an admittedly very small study that looked at only 745 children from Luxembourg and followed them from ages 12 through 52. Among those 52-year-olds, the ones who started out as naughty 12-year-olds were reportedly more likely to be financially successful as adults.
“Rule breaking and defiance of parental authority was the best non-cognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for IQ, parental socio-economic status, and educational attainment,” says the study, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
So that doesn’t mean that rule-breaking is a guaranteed path to financial success, but when you have two kids of similar backgrounds, the naughty kid is more likely to be more financially successful as an adult. The study will probably not come as a surprise to those of us who were very docile, eager-to-please children who grew up to be deeply envious of the fact that all our naughtier siblings and friends grew up to make giant piles of money. (That is especially true for all those of us who grew up to be freelance writers.)
Many of my friends are enamored of the saying, “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” printed on the lovely pillow above, which is available from CozyHomeStudio on Etsy for $26. That aphorism haunts me, though, because I am a very well-behaved woman. I tip well and wait my turn and don’t even jaywalk! Dammit. Maybe I should start shoving some old people to assure my place in history. A police record counts as “history,” right?
The researchers say they do not know exactly why rule-breaking children tended to be more successful, but they posit that it could be because children who are not cowed by authority grow up to be more assertive about negotiations, promotions, and raises. Or maybe they’re all still breaking rules to get ahead and we just don’t know about it.
An entrepreneurial attitude is a good thing for a kid to have, and I certainly wouldn’t mind it if my children were less cowed by authority figures than I
was am. But I don’t know how you encourage a child to be disobedient. Do you give them cookies whenever they don’t do what you say? That’s probably not a good idea, and rewarding disobedience seems more likely to encourage one’s child to grow up to be an entitled screaming brat than an economy-disrupting entrepreneur.
It’s probably best to continue encouraging obedience and just use the results of this study to make ourselves feel better when our kids pee into the radiators.