and Children’s Academic Outcomes?
and Children’s Academic Outcomes?
There are different ways in which the academic development of children is affected by the manner by which parents relate with them. Child Psychologists, other scholars and parents as well have worked to create the foundation of theories that demonstrates the considerable influence of parenting style on the performance of a child in and out of school. The recent interest in conducting research over the effect of parent-child relationship in the development of a child grew out of the increasing alarm over todays youngsters diminishing social, educational and health status. Generally, it is acknowledged that in order for children to make the most of their academic and other abilities they needed the full support and involvement of their parents.
Parenting Styles and Psychological Outcomes
Parenting is the practices, styles and involvement of parents in the growth and development of their children. The parenting practices are the acts or forms of discipline through which the parents impose restraint while parenting styles includes how the parents enforce them. On the other hand, parenting involvement is the manner of working with the children as well as school authorities towards the achievement of a better performance and success of the child. Parenting may comprise of behavioral controls such as supervision and setting of firm and consistent rules. Behavioral control may include punitive and limiting controls, for instance, parents may enforce instructions, reasoning that the child must recognize that there are rules that should be followed by each member of the family. Often these rules are too restrictive and limiting for the child and according to research, it encourages self-regulation and compliance that tend to result to lower cases of antisocial and conduct disorders.
A recent research that observed the effect of parenting style on the behavior of youngsters took into account the extents of affection such as responsiveness, and involvement, as well as the manner of setting limitations on acceptable behavior. Aunola and Nurmi, in their study of 196 children came up with the theory that high level of behavioral control results to low levels of behavioral problems, but it should be on the premise that the level of low psychological control (Aunola and Nurmi 2006). These types of cases were primarily observed in the outward display of problem behaviors such as in the wrongful expression of anger and other aggressive acts. Consequently, the researchers hypothesized that a high level of psychological control, when used in conjunction with a high level of affection, resulted in an increase in both the externalizing behavior problems and internalizing behavior problems (Aunola & Nurmi 2006).
There is a pronounced effect of psychological control in the behavior of children: parents often make use of it by either withdrawing love or stimulating the feeling of guilt in order to have a control over the behaviors of their children. Though the result is not consistent, studies discovered the association of psychological controls and behavioral problems, specifically in its linked to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. Consequently, there is difficulty on the part of parents and scholars in defining perfect parenting because of the topic’s complications. For example, one cannot completely define the parental supervision needed for behavioral control as children have different characteristics, behavior and temperament.
A research conducted by Aunola and Nurmi showed how the parenting style of mothers “played an important role in young children’s problem behaviors, whereas father’s parenting had only a marginal role” (Aunola & Nurmi 2006). It was found out that the high level of maternal psychological control that is mutually combined with a high level of affection leads to the observed increased in the of external as well as internal behavioral problems, most especially noted during the transition period from kindergarten to primary school (Aunola & Nurmi). On the other hand, the researchers theorized that a high level of maternal behavioral control that is “combined with a low level of psychological control predicted decreases in the level of external problem behavior” (Aunola & Nurmi 2009). The findings showed the unfavorable effect of the maternal psychological control, citing that too much affection became damaging to the child’s ability to adjust. The explanation for the negative effect of overwhelming maternal affection and psychological control is that the act induces guilt as well as it is too manipulative that it makes children lose their ability to decide and self-direct. This type of parenting encourages dependence of the child, while it impedes the child's ability to express themselves thus obstructing the development of healthy communication and relationship among family members.
The parental involvement in a child’s education encompasses the parent’s cooperation with schools and also includes direct working with their children with the aim of making the academic and other school related activities of the child run smoothly as possible. School policies often include rules that parents and teachers as well as other school authorities must regularly interact and cooperate for a better development of the students. The communication may involve matters such as the academic progress of students, academic or behavioral problems, and expectations for home engagement (Hill 2009). There should be a regular involvement and communication between the parents and the teachers, though, most of often the two have different reason for interacting. While teachers most often initiate communication with the parents because of academic or behavioral conerns, parents communicate with the teachers due to more “proactive reasons and their initiated contact is positively associated with achievement” (Hill 2006).
There are theories that associate parental involvement and the academic performance of children, such as the sociological and psychological theory. The sociological theory banks on the premise that the educational attainment of children is largely affected by the involvement of the parents. Involvement in their education may include such factors as financially providing for their schooling as well as in taking part in choosing and developing the school environment. The parent participation encourages the school authorities develop a better and conducive learning environment for their students resulting in better academic performance. Parents who took time and effort to be involved in their children’s academic life tend to devote more on building the potential of their children by allotting tangible and intangible resources. This basis, emphasizes the relationship between the involvement of parents and the attainment of the child as well as their link to high economic status. The psychological theory on the other hand, is based on the principle that parents who wanted to be involved in the education of their children are inclined to engage in spending play time with their children. Research revealed that time spent with the youngsters is likely to positively affect their cognitive growth and involvement is better when parents have a good relationship as it could also positively affect their children. Accordingly, parental involvement encourages self esteem and psychological adjustment that has an indirect positive effect on academic performance.
Parental involvement may take several forms such as school-based involvement where the parent spent time and effort to communicate and maintain a good relationship with the teachers and school authorities. The parents participate in school activities such as PTA meetings, school governance and other voluntary undertakings that are associated with school matters. The parent’s association with the academic performance of the child may also take the form of home-based involvement where they share moments with school concerns and engage their children in academic simulation at home. The interactions with teachers, schools and the children encompass relations that is even outside the school portals, that is, it includes matters that concerns the activities at home, in addition to the “expectations and values for education that are communicated directly and indirectly to children” (Hill 2009). The parents may use strategies such as regularly communicating with their children regarding school, helping them with their academic works and even in fostering the children’s interest in educational matters by creating a home environment that is conducive to learning. Academic socialization is also another important matter to consider in assessing the participation of the parent in their children's school wellbeing. The parent may choose to communicate their expectations and how they value education. For example, they may discuss the appropriate learning strategies and they may discuss future decisions with their children
One can perceive the value given to the education of the child when parents engage in the direct interaction with the child such as taking time to play or to spend relevant time for play. Parents may also show their involvement by being there to take responsibility for the welfare of the child. According to Hill and Taylor, “parental involvement and family-school relations are positively associated with academic achievement and children's aspirations” (Hill & Taylor, 2004). Hill and Taylor’s research highlights what other reserachers have already proven: children whose parents spent more time and effort to be involved in their children's education tend to bring about a positive outcome on the youngsters' performances. However, a very strict and authoritative parenting and low parental involvement have been linked to negative results about the children’s many development aspects. A recent study on the effect of authoritarian parenting showed that it hinders the development of children’s self-direction and autonomy and is negatively related to educational attainment when the individual reaches the age of twenty six.
Further research showed how parents with higher level of socioeconomic status tend to be more interested in the educational concerns of their children, this is in addition to parents who have higher educational achievement who have the greater inclination to actively promote the education of their children. On the other hand, parents with lower socioeconomic status are observed to be less involved in the education of their children. This may be attributed to the scarcity of resources and other problems. Other factors that affect the involvement of parents in the academic concerns of their children is their own psychological state. Hill and Taylor believed that depression and anxiety as well as the negative perception about themselves prevent parents from becoming involved in the education of their children.
The support and involvement of parents in the academic performance of their children is important, as proven by research that parenting can greatly influence the academic achievement of children. Parenting practices and styles are shown in the involvement of parents in the development of their children. The parents may opt to apply different types of parenting practices that can be beneficial or detrimental to the growth of their children, so it is important for the parents to weigh what type of discipline is needed in the upbringing of their youngsters. It is also important that parents became involved in the academic and school related activities of their children. Their cooperation is encouraged because of the positive association between parental involvement and the academic performance of their children.
Aunola, K. & Nurmi, J. (2006). The role of parenting styles in children’s problem behavior. Child Development. 76 (6) pp 1144-1159.
Hill, N.E. (2009). Parent Involvement. Education.com. Retrieved from www.education.com
Hill, N.E. & Taylor, L.C. (2004). Parental school involvement and children's academic achievement. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 161-164