Friday, October 07, 2005

Freakonomics - parenting Freakonomics - parenting

In Freakonomics, the authors ask the question of what does it take to be a good parent. Rephrased, this asks what are the indicia that predict successful children. The results of their analysis are, to a very good extent, contrary to the conventional wisdom.

The following were found to be signficant - positive (+) or negative (-):
+ The child has highly educated parents
- The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.
+ The child's mother was 30 years or older at the time of her first child.
- The child had low birth weight.
+ The child's parents speak English in the home.
- The child is adopted.
+ The child's parents are involved in the PTA.
+ The child has many books in the house.

But the following were not significant:
* The child's family is intact.
* The child's parents just moved to a better neighborhood.
* The child's mother didn't work before kindergarden.
* The child attended Head Start.
* The child's parents routinely took him to museums.
* The child was regularly spanked.
* The child regularly watches TV.
* The child's parents read to him every day.

What is the difference between these two lists? The first is "nature" and the second "nurture". The biggest predictor of a child's success is his genes, and the first list (mostly indirectly) is correlated with such. On average, richer parents are smarter, as are parents who have more books in their house, women who don't have children until after 30, etc. On the other hand, adoptees tend to not be as smart as their adoptive parents (or the biological children of such), due to the economics of adoption. And, low birth weight babies also tend to be of lower socioeconomic status than normal, plus, they are more likely with teen aged mothers, also correlcated with lower socioeconomic status.

So, bye, bye, Baby Mozart.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:47 PM  
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10:47 PM  
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1:37 PM  
Anonymous grandparents said...

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4:10 PM  

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