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Those who shared and were kind to fellow students were more
likely to graduate college and find a full-time job. The "problem children,"
however, were less likely to finish high school or attend college and possibly
have police records or substance abuse problems. These individuals would
struggle to resolve problems, not cooperate with others or listen at a young
Researchers from Penn State University and Duke University
used teachers' evaluations of kindergartners, looking at their social skills.
Teachers evaluated a child's ability to listen, share, resolve problems and
help others. They were then given an overall score between zero and four.
After the children reached their mid-20s, researchers
determined how well they were doing. For every one-point increase in a child's
social competency score in kindergarten, they were twice as likely to obtain a
college degree, and 46 percent more likely to have a full-time job by age 25,
according to CNN.
There was a 67 percent chance of being arrested and a 52
percent chance of binge drinking in the students whose social score had at
least a one-point decrease. While the numbers can be alarming to parents, the
lead researcher, Damon Jones of Penn State University, says not to worry.
"The research greatly shows that these are the type of
skills that are malleable, in fact much more malleable than say, something like
IQ or other things that are more likely traits that are more ingrained," Jones
Social skills and emotional responses can be learned, so the
end result can differ. Playing games and reading together can help children
learn healthy interaction and emotional maturity.
Children's success later in life doesn't have to be
determined by their kindergarten selves if they can improve their emotional
responses and change their social skills.