Nancy Shute, NPR.org, February 14, 2011
"Economists and public health officials want to know whether teaching self-control could improve a population's physical and financial health and reduce crime. Three factors appear to be key to a person's success in life: intelligence, family's socioeconomic status and self-control. Moffitt's study found that self-control predicted adult success, even after accounting for the participants' differences in social status and IQ.
"Maggie Starbard/NPRCathie Morton, a teacher at the Clara Barton Center for Children, leads the kids in a clapping exercise to signal that it is time to shift gears and start cleaning up.
"IQ and social status are hard to change. But Moffitt says there is evidence that self-control can be learned.
""Identical twins are not identical on self-control," she says. "That tells us that it is something they have learned, not something they have inherited."
"Teaching self-control has become a big focus for early childhood education. At the Clara Barton Center for Children in Cabin John, Md., it starts with expecting a 4-year-old to hang up her coat without being asked.
"Director Linda Owen says the children are expected to be responsible for a series of actions when they arrive at school each morning, without help from Mom and Dad. The children sign in, put away their lunches, hang up their own clothes, wash their hands before they can play, and then choose activities in the classroom.
""All those things help with self-management," Owen says."