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Is Your Kindergarten Behavior the Reason You Can't Succeed?

Parents, beware: Your child's success in life could be determined as early as kindergarten.

A new study focused on 800 children over the span of 20 years, examining them in kindergarten and in their mid-20s. The results published in the American Journal of Public Health found a link between early social skills and success later in life.

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 age.

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 told CNN.

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.

Image via Getty

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