Pop Quiz, Hot Shot


In an episode of The Department of Parenting a listener provided the following parenting quiz (taken from Freakonomics). Try to determine which option in each pair is suggested (according to currently available research) to have a significant impact on a child’s long-term welfare while the other option seems to have a negligible effect:

1. highly educated parents family being intact
2. quality of neighborhood socio-economic status
3. age of mother (30 or over) mother staying at home (not working) from birth to kindergarten
4. pre-school attendance (Head Start) low birth weight
5. English spoken at home regular visits to museums
6. use of corporal punishment being adopted
7. parent involvement in PTA frequent screen-time (TV)
8. parent regularly reading to child existence of many books in the home

1. A
2. B
3. A
4. B
5. A
6. B
7. A
8. B

Quote from Freakonomics:

To overgeneralize a bit, the [right options] describes the things that parents are; the

describes the things that parents do. Parents who are well-educated, successful, and healthy tend to have children who test well in school, but it doesn’t seem to matter much whether children are trotted off to museums, or spanked, or sent to Head Start, or frequently read to, or plopped in front of the television. To parents and child-rearing experts who are obsessed with technique, this may be sobering news. The reality is that technique looks to be highly overrated.

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting


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