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Study Says Mothers Would Rather Their Kids be Extroverts Than Future Einsteins

posted: 08/21/17
by: Amanda Mushro
Kindergarten kids friends arm around sitting smiling
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As moms, we just want our kids to be healthy and happy and maybe even go to bed the first time we ask, but if you could choose your child's personality, which qualities would top your list? Would you want an incredibly intelligent child or the kid with tons of friends that lights up a room every time they walk in? According to a new study, rather than raising a genius, researchers found that most mothers would choose to have their kids be the life of the party.

A study published in the journal Personality And Individual Differences asked mothers to choose the quality they would want most for their child; extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness to experience. The study found that out of the 142 mothers who took part in the survey, 51% rated having a child that is an extravert as the most desirable characteristic. Just 10% rated intelligence as the top quality they want for their child. Conscientiousness was even less valued than intelligence, with just nine per cent of mothers citing this as the number one trait and agreeableness only grabbed a fifth of the mothers vote.

Even researchers were surprised by the results. "Given that higher levels of intelligence and conscientiousness are both linked to positive life outcomes such as success at school, at work, and in relationships, it's surprising that only one in 10 mothers valued them as the most important characteristics for their child," said lead researcher Dr Sophie von Stumm. "While extroversion can have many benefits it is also associated with negative behaviors in adulthood, such as higher alcohol consumption and illegal drug use."

How do studies like this one help parents? Dr Sophie von Stumm says it helps researchers and parents better understand nurture over nature, "Understanding how mothers view personality is vital as their values influence their parenting and, through this, how their child's personality traits develop." Researchers said they would like to see if these mothers would answer differently as the child grows and matures.

If you could choose your child's personality, which qualities would you want for them? Tell us in the comments.