Anybody who has kids — or hopes to — wants them to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and go on to do awesome things in the professional world.
While there isn't a set recipe for raising successful children, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success.
Using data from a national survey of 6,600 children born in 2001, University of California, Los Angeles professor Neal Halfon and his colleagues discovered that the expectations parents hold for their kids have a huge effect on attainment.
"Parents who saw college in their child's future seemed to manage their child toward that goal irrespective of their income and other assets," he said in a statement.
The finding came out in standardized tests: 57% of the kids who did the worst were expected to attend college by their parents, while 96% of the kids who did the best were expected to go to college.
This falls in line with another psych finding: the Pygmalion effect, which states "that what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy."
In the case of kids, they live up to their parents' expectations.
A higher socioeconomic status
Tragically, a fifth of American children grow up in poverty, a situation that severely limits their potential.
It's getting more extreme. According to Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon, the achievement gap between high and low-income families "is roughly 30% to 40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born 25 years earlier."
As "Drive" author Dan Pink has noted, the higher the income for the parents, the higher the SAT scores for the kids.
"Absent comprehensive and expensive interventions, socioeconomic status is what drives much of educational attainment and performance," he wrote.
Higher educational levels
A 2014 study lead by University of Michigan psychologist Sandra Tang found that mothers who finished high school or college were more likely to raise kids that did the same.
Pulling from a group of over 14,000 children who entered kindergarten in 1998 to 2007, the study found that children born to teen moms (18 years old or younger) were less likely to finish high school or go to college than their counterparts.
Aspiration is at least partially responsible. In a 2009 longitudinal study of 856 people in semirural New York, Bowling Green State University psychologist Eric Dubow found that "parents' educational level when the child was 8 years old significantly predicted educational and occupational success for the child 40 years later."
Read the full article "Science says that parents of successful kids have these 7 things in common" at Business Insider.