In a recent issue of Time magazine, Charlotte Alter interviewed nine families. All the children are now extremely successful adults, each in different ways, and none as the result of great wealth or fortune but through their own efforts.

They come from all across America, and they're leading their fields in a wide range of endeavours including medicine, politics, music, law and architecture.

Alter's aim was to discover the secrets of these "super-sibling" families. She spoke with the parents and their children both together and alone, and came up with six qualities these families share.

Among the parents, they include immigrant status and teaching qualifications - eight of the families had at least one parent who was an immigrant and/or an educator - and a tendency to become involved in political activism. From the siblings' viewpoint, almost all recalled being given great freedom by parents, feeling highly competitive with brothers and sisters, and having at least one direct experience of death or violence growing up.

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Do these qualities suggest some best parenting guidelines? When combined with clinical experience, I think they do. Here are six factors that I believe will give your children the best chance of fulfilling their dreams and ambitions.

Teaching your children to read at an early age is a key precursor to success.
Teaching your children to read at an early age is a key precursor to success.