Why Kids Need a Little Self-Control

We all know them: parents whose children run wild in public, allowed to behave in ways that make the rest of us cringe and calculate privately how we can avoid them until they're 25. (Though we probably won't like them then, either.) 

This is not, of course, the same thing as the parents whose infant shrieks once on a three hour flight or in a restaurant. I'm talking about the ones ordering another glass of wine while their kids perform impromptu one-acts for busy servers who must pretend to find little Ruby or Miles' harassment cute.

It turns out that it's not just social graces the children -- and parents -- lack. It's self-control, an attribute that has more bearing on one's success in life than intelligence

Today we're happy to introduce a six-part multimedia series, "How to Build Your Child's Self-Control" examining the science behind the skill. The series is a collaboration between Big Think and Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D. and coauthor of Welcome to Your Child's Brain. (Aamodt is also the former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, the leading scientific journal in the field of brain research.) Here's how she summarizes what she'll be writing about in the coming weeks: 

Parents who worry about increasing their children's intelligence should instead focus on building self-control. This basic brain function predicts life success in many areas, and it can be improved by practice. Learn about research-tested ways to help your child develop this important set of skills.

We'll be releasing a new article in the series every Sunday for the next six weeks, starting with today's post, "Why Build Self Control?", so check back on Sunday mornings to read more.

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less