New York Daily News:
Psychology has identified two different prescriptions for how to solve the personal problems that people face today: self-esteem and self-control.
Both have been touted as ways to reduce crime, obesity, school underachievement, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and domestic violence. After conducting dozens of studies and reading hundreds of others, I have concluded that one prescription is snake oil while the other is as close to penicillin as psychology is going to get.
Here’s my takeaway: Forget bolstering self-esteem. Concentrate on building self-control. Self-control is good for the person who has it, for the people around him or her and, in fact, for society as a whole.
The evidence astonishes. Compared to others, children with good self-control do better in school. They are more popular with their peers. They grow up to earn higher salaries. They are less likely to be arrested. Adults with high self-control have better relationships and fewer psychological problems. And their own children are more likely to have the benefit of being raised by two parents instead of one.
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