Good Relationships Are More Important Than Academic AchievementAs your kids head back to school it's important to find ways to help them achieve academically. But a new study shows that social connection is a more important route to adult well-being than academic ability.
So test them on their spelling words and double check their homework. But make sure they still have time to make friends and connect with you.
Craig Olsson explored the relative importance of early academic and social pathways to adult well-being. His 32-year study shows that academic achievement appears to have little effect on adult well-being. Instead, positive social relationships in childhood and adolescence are key to adult well-being.
Related: 12 things your kids MUST see you do
Put away those flash cards and read more.
"Well-being" here is defined as a combination of a few things.
- A sense of coherence
- Positive coping strategies
- Social engagement
- Character values
- Positive emotional functioning
Related: Why quitting can actually be good for your kids... and you
Social connectedness in children is defined by the following:
- The child being liked
- Not being alone
- The child's level of confidence
- Social attachments with parents, peers, and school
- Participation in youth groups
- Participation in sports
Related: 28 ways to make your kid's teacher like you
This study supports the good old-fashioned notion that kids should be well-rounded, spend time with friends, play sports, do well in school, and hang out with their families. It really jibes with what I've been trying to do with my kids. But so much emphasis is placed on academic achievement these days, many parents feel like they just don't have time to focus on anything else.
That could be a mistake.
Craig Olsson concludes, "If these pathways are separate, then positive social development across childhood and adolescence requires investments beyond development of the academic curriculum."
- By Kacy Faulconer
Follow Kacy on Babble
For 7 things you should NEVER say to a kid, visit Babble!
MORE ON BABBLE
The 10 biggest secrets parents hide from their kids
7 reasons why it's good to be a "Mean Mom"
25 things every kid should experience
15 memories from childhood our kids won't have
5 things you MUST do before school starts this fall
Stay connected. Follow Babble on Facebook and Twitter.