Your Real Influence on Your Kids

What do economists have to tell us about parenting? A recent Freakonomics Radio podcast interviewed a number of economists trying to answer the question “how much do parents really matter, and in what dimensions?”

They discussed that research shows parents have little influence on the amount of education their children ultimately received or the amount of money their adult children eventually make. Parents have a far greater influence on their children’s relationship skills.

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University and author of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids had this to say:
There’s a great Swedish twins study, where the twins were in their fifties and sixties and seventies, and even when you’re in your seventies, whether or not your parents were kind to you stays with you, and you know, identical twins, fraternal twins have similar and quite high levels of agreement on these questions, which is the smoking gun for nurture really mattering. So the way that your kids feels about and remembers you. The quality of the relationship. This is where you really have an effect and where it is very long lasting, it really does last a lifetime.

Your children learn to how to love from you loving them. They learn how to treat others with empathy by experiencing you treating them with empathy. It is your relationship with them that has the biggest influence on them.

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