If young people are going to resist constant internal impulses, they need to be taught one vital skill: Self-regulation.
In Dunedin, New Zealand (a lovely city and their center of the Great Highland Bagpipes), every other year teachers and parents evaluate each child between the ages of three and eleven on levels of aggression, hyperactivity, lack of persistence, inattention, and impulsivity. These ratings, along with those from the children themselves, result in a self-control score for every child.
Here are some interesting conclusions from their long-term study:
- At 32 years old, the boys and girls who had had lower scores were poorer, had worse health, and were more likely to have committed a crime than those exhibiting more self-control.