When dealing with oppositional parents, it may be beneficial to consider
the role of parents in their child's education in order to guide them
in an appropriate direction.
The role of parents may be divided into three main categories: (1)
the parent's role in showing support for their child's education, (2)
the parent's role in making their home a good place for learning, and
(3) the parent's role in helping with homework. Following a brief introduction
to each topic, a list of suggestions for parents has been provided.
It may be helpful to share these suggestions with parents.
By recognizing the roles of parents in their child's education and
offering them support to reach those roles, staff members are communicating
to parents that their role in their child's education is valued. By
working together, staff and parents can create and maintain a high-quality
educational program for children.
Showing Support for a Child's Education
According to a research study by Ronald Ferguson, "Nearly half of
a child's achievement in school can be accounted for by factors outside
the school, including parent support." Consequently, the most important
support any child can receive comes from the parents. This support ranges
from being responsible for making sure that the child arrives at school
well-rested, well-fed, and ready to learn, to setting high expectations
for their child. The following are suggestions of how parents can support
their child's education:
* Attendance: Good school attendance is important to academic
achievement. When students are absent from school they miss vital instruction.
Parents have control over their child's attendance and this includes
arriving on time to school, and not taking students out in the middle
of the school day.
* Attitude: Parents need to display a positive attitude toward
school in general. If parents have a positive attitude, the child will
also have that positive attitude toward school. Parents must be careful
in how they address school concerns in front of their child. If they
display a negative attitude toward school, their child may adopt that
as his/her own attitude toward school.
* Priority: Education must be given a top priority for it to
come out on top. Therefore, parents must make education their first
priority, above all other after school activities.
* Support: Children need their parent's help. When a child needs
help on homework or other special projects, it is their parents that
they turn to. Parents need to offer support and help their children.
They may even need to find help outside of the home, a tutor, for example.
* Role Model: The parent needs to be a positive role model for
the child in helping to shape the child's opinions and attitudes about
* Get Involved: Research reveals that high self-esteem and student
achievement are closely related to positive parental involvement in
school. When parents get involved at school it can be a motivating factor
to the child. It tells the child that the parents think that school
* Communication: Parents need to keep in touch with their child's
school and have a positive relationship with the teacher.
Making a Home a Good Place for Learning
As their child's first teachers, there are many things that parents
can do within their home to make it a good place for learning.
* Read, Read, Read: One of the most important things a parent
can do for their child's education is to read to their child or have
their child read to them. Parents can also encourage children to read
by themselves. It is also important for children to see their parents
reading. Trips to the local library are always encouraged.
* High Expectations: Parents need to set high expectations for
their child's behavior and learning.
* Praise and Encouragement: When parents offer praise and encouragement,
they have a positive influence on the child's motivation and confidence
in becoming a successful learner.
* Effort: Parents need to emphasize effort as well as achievement.
* Routines: It is important for parents to establish family routines
that include time for completing homework, completing daily chores,
eating meals as a family, and having a regular bedtime.
* Television: Parents need to monitor their child's television
wisely. It is important to limit the amount of time that a child spends
watching television, as well as the types of television that they are
watching. Parents can help their children choose television shows that
will enhance their learning.
* After School Activities: In order for education to be a priority,
children need to be limited on the number of after school activities
they are involved in on a regular basis. While after school activities
such as sports, scouts, music, or others have numerous benefits, it
is important for parents to remember that school needs to be the first
priority. The parents are responsible for making sure that these other
activities are not impeding on their child's education.
* Listen: It is important for a parent to encourage their child
to share information with them about school. Parents need to listen
to their child and respond with understanding.
* Reinforce Learning: Parents can reinforce learning by taking
their children on visits to museums, parks, or theaters. These informal
activities can be some of the most enjoyable and important learning
experiences for children.
* Monitor Grades: Parents need to be aware of their children's
grades. Parents can reinforce and praise accomplishments, and offer
assistance where additional work may be needed.
Helping With Homework
As stated earlier, many children can not succeed in school by themselves.
They need parental support. One way for parents to support their children
is by helping them with homework.
* Provide a Quiet Place: It is important that children have a
suitable place to do their studying. This should be a quiet, organized
place, away from the distractions of the home (television, phone, and
* Reward Progress: Parents should use a lot of praise to reward
good achievement and effort and display their child's good work.
* Talk About Homework: Parents need to talk to their children
each day about their homework. They should check the student's homework
to be sure it is complete and ask their child questions about the homework.
But they should not do the homework for the child.
* Schedules: It may be necessary for parents to help their child
develop a homework schedule. Parents may also need to help their child
break their homework into smaller tasks, and help them plan for long
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National Association for the Education of Young Children, "Making Child
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at http://npin.org/library/1999/n00091/n0009.html, 1999.
"Parents Need to Become Involved in their Child's Education." [Online]
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Wildman, Louis and Wang, Jianjun, "An Empirical Examination of the
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