The good news is that self-control can be taught, said Alex Piquero, a professor of criminology at Florida State University.
According to the research, children who improved their self-control as they aged fared better in adulthood than their scores would have predicted.
"There is a lot of research that shows there is effective training parents and teachers can do in the first 10 years of life that improve kids' self-control," Piquero said. "If we can identify these deficits early, they can improve their self-control and we won't have the negative outcomes."
The Nemours Foundation has more on teaching your child self-control.
SOURCES: Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D., professor, psychology and neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Jay Belsky, Ph.D., professor, human development, University of California, Davis; Alex R. Piquero, Ph.D., professor, criminology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Jan. 24, 2011, PNAS, online
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