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#1 Key to Helping Your Child Grow Into a Happy Adult

Katie Malinski

Health, Wellness, & Safety

You might think that giving your children academic advantages in early life—things like the best schools, lessons, or extra tutoring are the most  helpful things you can do to help them get ahead and thereby set them up for an adulthood full of happiness.  Many parents do, and make sacrifices so that their children are given these advantages.  However, as it turns out, childhood academic success isn’t the most important factor in supporting adult happiness.

Researchers in New Zealand recently published the results of a large, long-term study that compared the link between adult happiness, and early academic advantages and social connectedness in childhood and adolescence.  And would you believe it?  Social connectedness in childhood/adolescence turned out to be a much stronger predictor of adult happiness.

What this means for us as parents is not that school and learning and academic success don’t matter—of course they do.  But sometimes we can lose sight of priorities, and this research reminds us not to do this.  A child’s self-concept, his ability to make friends, her confidence in herself and her abilities, his connectedness with peers and peer groups—those skills and abilities predict adult happiness.  Something to consider when evaluating your child’s overall health and success!

See more information on this research here:

5 Tips for Helping Develop Strong Peer Relationships for Your Kids:

1. Encourage your child to have play dates – and be a willing hostess

2. Never criticize their choice of friends – treat their peers the way you would treat your own children

3. Build strong mom-friends (or dad-friends). Many children develop strong bonds with the children their parents are good friends with.

4. Unless safety is an issue, be flexible and willing to allow your kids to play with other kids.

5. Keep your children involved in extra-curricular activities. Many of the best friendships develop from sports teams, summer camps, the marching band or youth church choir.


How are you helping foster peer relationship for your children? Share your ideas in the COMMENT box below!

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Katie Malinski

Katie Malinski LCSW is a licensed child and family therapist and parenting coach. In addition to her one-on-one work with families and children, she presents dynamic parenting workshops on a variety of topics, including: Beyond Birds and Bees, Parenting Through Divorce, Typical Parenting Conflicts, and many more. Learn more about Katie at