In case you missed it this past summer, take a moment to read Why Kids Care More About Achievement Than Helping Others, an article by Jessica Lahey. The June 2014 Atlantic piece describes a research project that surveyed 10,000 middle and high schoolers, asking them to rate achievement, happiness, and caring for others in order of importance. By far, students ranked achievement and happiness over caring for other people.
The article notes that many parents believe they are sending strong messages about values such as respect, caring, and kindness, yet the study illustrates a disconnect between what parents think they say is important and how their children interpret their parents’ messages. The students tended to believe that their parents rated achievement the highest.