Being a perfect parent is impossible. It's a lifelong ordeal, rife with challenges and necessitates incessant hopefulness and perseverance. And sometimes it can be easy to get down on yourself as the person shaping your progeny -- after all, they'll never be perfect either. Regardless, it always helps to stay abreast of what researchers are learning when they study the ways in which parents can positively or negatively affect their kids. Here are several things the kids of the most successful kids do.

1. They enforce a consistent bedtime for teens

It's one thing to make sure your little one gets the appropriate amount of sleep. Babies sleep all the time anyway, and it's relatively easy to make sure toddlers and preschoolers go to bed and stay there until Mom or Dad says otherwise. Any parent of a teenager knows, however, that kids beyond puberty want to do their own thing and often think they know best. Of course, they don't -- especially when it comes to sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), 13- to 18-year-olds need between eight and 10 hours of sleep a night, and the vast majority don't get nearly that amount, resulting in increasing rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as higher rates of injury.

But researchers at the University of Rochester have found that parents can markedly increase the amount of time their teens sleep just by being strict about bedtime. The study asked teens to keep a week-long sleep diary, noting things like how long teens slept, how much energy they had during the day and any symptoms of depression. Their parents were asked to log data about how well they enforced rules regarding sleep and bedtime. Researchers found that parent-enforced bedtimes correlate with sleep duration, daytime energy level and mental wellness. Yet more than half of the parents involved in the study reported not having or enforcing rules regarding bedtime. And while screen time and caffeine may be commonly blamed for teenage insomnia, they didn't markedly affect teen sleep, at least in this study.

2. They get kids to eat healthy food

What kids put into their mouths directly affects their likelihood of becoming overweight or obese and developing chronic diseases. While it might be tempting to dismiss this obvious fact, wise people understand that physical well-being is a valuable asset and typically necessary to achieve great things.

Well, getting kids to eat healthier may be as easy as having them watch a little bit of special programming. A study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition Education involved 125 Dutch 10- to 12-year-olds some of whom watched 10 minutes of a kid-oriented healthy cooking program. Afterward, the kids were offered a snack. The children who watched the healthy cooking program were more likely to choose a healthy snack such as a fruit or vegetable, over chips or pretzels.

3. They don't engage in "phubbing"

In case you're unfamiliar with this term, it means ignoring the people you're with physically, so as to pay attention to your phone. While it might seem obvious that doing this to your kids isn't exactly stellar parental behavior, here's some solid science as evidence.

Chinese researchers conducted two studies which were recently published in the Journal of Adolescence. In one, they surveyed 530 students, ages 10 to 18, asking them about their perception of parental phubbing, depression and their demographics. Students who reported a high degree of parental phubbing also scored high in terms of depression. In the second study, they asked 293 students about topics involving parental warmth and something psychologists call "relatedness need satisfaction." They found that parental phubbing was correlated with a high degree of students' perception that they were rejected by their parents. Those feelings of rejection, in turn, decreased student feelings of being connected with others and having caring relationships with them. "As opposed to parental warmth, parental rejection is a serious risk factor for adolescent mental health," the authors write.

4. They practice mindfulness and compassion

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that young children whose parents learned mindfulness and how to be more compassionate had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. The training program was intensive and involved 39 parents of children ages nine months to five years old and lasted - get this - 20 hours a week for eight to ten weeks. Before and after the training researchers measured cortisol levels in both parents and their kids' hair. While the parents' cortisol levels didn't improve much, their little kids did. "We wanted to investigate whether a compassion-based practice might provide a similar opportunity to benefit the very young, whose minds are deeply impressionable and for whom chronic and toxic stress can impact their future stress reactivity and their physical development," wrote one of the study's authors.

5. They understand the value of a liberal arts education

Where your kids go to college and what they study can be a huge turning point in the trajectory of their success, but many parents believe a liberal arts education is a waste of money. Yet, according a study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, the 40- year median return on investment for a liberal arts education is nearly $1 million. Researchers analyzed federal data to figure out ROI at more than 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities. "The Georgetown study finds that the return on a liberal arts education is not typically immediate -- at 10 years, the median return is $62,000 -- but over the decades of a career, it is solid," writes Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post, in a summation of the study. "The median 40-year return of $918,000 at liberal arts colleges is more than 25 percent higher than the median for all colleges, researchers found." Experts believe the beauty of a liberal arts education is that it teaches people how to think, be flexible, appreciate the perspectives of others and communicate well, all of which are attributes which employers value.