Are Your Kids Brats? That Could Pay Off in the Long Run

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If you’re a parent of a bratty, disobedient kid, take heart: Your child will probably earn more money as an adult than his rule-following peers.

According to a new study published in Development Psychology, behaviors in late childhood are a surprisingly good predictor of career success in adulthood. Career success is a ranking that researchers used based on an occupation’s prestige and socioeconomic status.

“Rule-breaking and defiance of parental authority [were] the best noncognitive predictor of higher income after accounting for IQ, parental socioeconomic status, and educational attainment,” the study said.

The study is based on data gathered on 745 12-year-old children in Luxembourg from 1968 until 2008, when they were 52-years-old, Quartz said.

So, why would disagreeable, unruly children earn more money than their rule-following peers? Quartz said the study authors have a couple of theories:

“We might assume that students who scored high on this scale might earn a higher income because they are more willing to be more demanding during critical junctures such as when negotiating salaries or raises,” they wrote.

Another explanation, they said, might be that childhood troublemakers “also have higher levels of willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims, a characteristic that leads to more favorable individual outcomes — in our case, income.”

It seems that nice guys, or in this case, nice kids, do finish last.

“We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons,” the researchers wrote.

If this study rings true for my children, my rule-abiding daughter will earn far less money than her disobedient little brother. Food for thought, for sure.

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