So You Can Redshirt Your Kids Into Being Future CEOs

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New research finds that a link between your child’s likelihood to become a chief executive officer and her birthday.  A study from the University of British Columbia revealed kids born in the summer are less likely to grow up to be a company head.  Which is devastating if all you care about is raising a CEO.

Co-authored by Ph.D. students Qianqian Du and Huasheng Gao, the study looked at birth-dates within a sample of 375 CEOs from S&P 500 companies between 1992 and 2009.

An examination of company leaders in the S&P 500 found that just 6.13 percent of CEOs were born in June and less than six percent in July, compared with a combined 23 percent with birthdays in March and April.  “Our findings indicate that summer babies underperform in the ranks of CEOs as a result of the ‘birth-date effect,’ a phenomenon resulting from the way children are grouped by age in school,” said Maurice Levi, a finance professor.

If your child is already born, you can’t switch him into the March babies, but you can hold him back in school to avoid what Levi calls the “birth-date effect.”  Instead of being grouped with the youngest children, your kid will now be part of the oldest of the class – a practice known as “redshirting.”  Redshirting is intended to give your child an extra boost, a glimmer that she will be able to excel ahead of the pack.  And she will know as young as five that you have great expectations of her.

It’s not a secret that decisions made early on in your baby’s life – even pre-conception – can have an effect on that child’s development.  Parents today are looking to take advantage of as many positive factors as they can.   Pregnancy diet, prenatal yoga and Chinese astrology are all popular references for expecting mothers to get things started on the right foot.   Once babies are born, there are thousands of books looking to capitalize on a new parent’s expectation to raise their child perfectly.  Problems with the education system add to the concern that we can’t control everything about our child’s future, but parents are doing everything they can to ensure the best circumstances — such as moving to the right school zone, taking out loans to pay for expensive private schools, and coordinating the ideal birth-date.

The practice of redshirting is a small part of a larger problem of modern day parents.  Are we putting too much pressure on our children to succeed?  Studies like this seem to encourage goal-oriented competitive thinking.

Redshirting, when done on a case-by-case basis, is fine.  Only you know whether your child is emotionally mature and intellectually capable to handle kindergarten.  But this movement that parents must hold them back to ensure they qualify for a position as a future CEO is overkill.  The study doesn’t address a child’s level of happiness or their self-esteem.  It is a result-oriented study that doesn’t take into account their individuality.   Even with every advantage, nothing you can do can guarantee your child’s success in life.   And we all define success differently.

(photo:  Blaj Gabriel / Shutterstock)