Poorly behaved children earn more money as adults

This story first appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.

See ya later, suckas.

I'd stick around and chat, but I need to start planning my retirement -- THAT WILL BE FUNDED ENTIRELY BY MY CHILDREN. That's right, no more ink slinging for me. Or at least not once my 3- and 6-year-old daughters are grown. As it turns out, kids with attitudes like mine will be making BANK when they're adults. According to a new study in Development Psychology, bratty kids out-earn their better-behaved counterparts. I'm going to be rich!

The study of 745 people from Luxembourg started in the 1960s and spanned 40 years. Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Free University of Berlin looked at children starting at age 12.

They examined how behaviors in late childhood predicted "career" success in adulthood by exploring the influence of the parents' income, plus "childhood intelligence and student characteristics and behaviors (inattentiveness, school entitlement, responsible student, sense of inferiority, impatience, pessimism, rule breaking and defiance of parental authority, and teacher-rated studiousness) on 2 important real-life outcomes (i.e., occupational success and income)."

What they found was that a child's propensity to be a rule breaker, spurn parental authority and act irresponsibly contributed to their affluence as an adult.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports children at the beginning of the study filled out questionnaires about their behavior, while their teachers wrote about their studiousness. At the start, the research team predicted the kids' eventual accomplishments would depend "on their personalities, not just their intelligence and family background" -- and they were right.

The most noteworthy indicator of affluence was "a willingness to resist authority," as those kids who flouted their parents were more likely to stick it out in school and go on to earn advanced degrees. The scientists speculated that a prosperous future was a result of a "higher willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims," or perhaps as a willingness to behave unethically in order to further their positions.

As the mom of two girls, it'd also be interesting to know more about the gender make-up of the bratty-kids-turned-successful-adults in the study, since many of the attributes of the triumphant grown-ups are ones not typically ascribed to girls and women, including assertiveness that leads to better outcomes while negotiating salaries.

That being said, I can only imagine that my strong-willed daughters will strong-arm anyone who stands in their path to whatever it is they have their eyes set on, which, these days, is usually the ice cream sandwiches in the freezer and later bedtimes.

The way I see it, if I get a dollar for every time-out to which my kids have been sentenced -- or, better yet, for every time-out to which my kids have flatly refused to submit to -- I'll be getting all the dollars. Couple that with my older daughter's refusal to eat anything that isn't white and my younger daughter's insistence on living with hair that most closely resembles a bird's nest, and before you know it, I'll have a bank account rivaling the Donald's. (Now can there be any doubt that he was probably the brattiest kid of them all?)

More from Babble:
'No' and 9 other things our toddlers conveniently misinterpret
Don't call my daughter 'shy'
I'm raising a strong-willed child, to put it nicely
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