Anna North, BuzzFeed, August 2012
"Stories of parents pushing kids to succeed in school above all else have been making headlines lately, but new research has found that social relationships are a much better predictor of adult well-being than a kid's grades.
"They found that social connectedness was highly correlated with adult well-being. Academic achievement, however, was not. The authors noted that they might have seen more of a connection if they'd included factors like job satisfaction in their measure of well-being, but they left these out on purpose. Their goal was to study not the traditional markers of success, but instead to look at peoples' "positive emotional functioning, sense of coherence, social engagement and character values." And as it turns out, kids' social lives seem to have a greater effect on the development of those qualities than their test scores do.
"This came as no surprise to John Stanrock, psychologist and author of the textbook Adolescence. He says there's a general feeling among some child development experts that in an age of No Child Left Behind and constant standardized testing, "the social world of adolescence has totally been neglected." He adds that schools don't spend enough money on counseling services, which can help kids with difficulties fit in better.