Bryan Caplan goes to one of his favorite topics ...and the topic of his next book (Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids). And...while Bryan is focussing on one set of research, I'd like to bring up another.
What effects might parenting have?
Personality? According to Harris, apparently not.
IQ? Again...apparently not much (iffy breastfeeding research?).
However, we have a bunch of other research out that indicates a couple other things that align well with the obsessiveness of the modern soccer-gymnastics-TaeKwonDo-and-Piccolo-mom?
Let me posit some claims that I think are supported by research:
1. Skills (All skills) are to be attained almost exclusively via practice.
2. "Talent" is fictional, and mostly skill that comes from extensive practice.
3. Some skills (sensory esp.) are much harder to learn after some age (language after 8? new languages after 10? music? many other sensory items).
4. Habits tend to endure. -- less certain.
Given this...while one may not be able to affect one's child's personality or IQ much at all...one can impact his/her skills...and skill acquisition is tremendously important.
Indeed...one's success in a chosen field may well be almost entirely determined by skill.
That skill may be mathematical, literary, culinary, algorithmic, musical, social, meditative, or any of a scad of others.
Is it not then likely that the proper approach to parenting...if one wishes to support a child's future success is to teach things as skills? And focus less on personality?
Though...as a counterpoint...the question of what falls into the category of skill becomes interesting as well.
IQ has major predictive impact on performance.
However, self-efficacy has a bigger predictive impact on performance.
And...self-efficacy (not the same self-esteem) is modifiable.
Food for thought about parenting.