December 9, 2012
Parent Involvement: Helping Children Succeed
Children can succeed in school by learning from their teachers, however, parents involved with their child’s education teach them so much more. Children not only look up to their parents for love and guidance, they look for acceptance and encouragement. When parents are involved, they are teaching their children encouragement and showing them that they will be there for them in every way that they can. This also shows teachers and other school personnel that they are serious about their children learning all that they can learn with their help. Parental involvement in their child’s education is a vital part of the learning process that helps students succeed at higher levels. Parent involved homes have more of an impact than a home where the parent does not get involved. When a parent is involved, the performance of a child is so much greater. They don’t miss school, they go farther in their education, and they will attend better schools and they tend to behave better (Anita Gurian, PhD). Some of the things that parents can do at home to be involved include, but are not limited to reading to your child every night and talking to their child about the book that they just read. A parent can also limit the amount of television time, whether it would be watching television or playing games, so that this does not distract the child from the more important things in their life, such as their education. They should also check their backpacks and their homework every night so that when the report cards come home there are no surprises that their child is not doing their work. Some things that parents can do to be involved at the school includes but is not limited to, is help in the classroom, go on field trips as chaperones, tutor children that need excess help, and help with sporting events. Parents involved in all aspects from the classroom to the ball field, you are showing your child that you are taking an active interest in what goes on with them in every aspect of life. You are also showing the administrators that you are accessible at every possible level concerning education. Children start learning from their parents at home when they are young. A parent is the first teacher in a child’s life. They teach them how to talk and walk, among other things. The learning from a parent should not stop when a child enters school. On the contrary this teaching should continue with the parent pairing with the children’s school, so that they learn not only at school but also at home. This allows the child to obtain achievements in all aspects of their lives, which will give a child a sense of accomplishment. Children from different cultures have different educational opportunities available to them. These can include children from Hispanic, Latin American, or African American backgrounds. When parents are involved in their children’s education, they can teach them that they are not different from the other children and that they have the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else (Vang, 2006). It has been suggested that the one missing link in education equity is parental involvement (Colombo, 2006). There are several reasons it is just as important for a school to obtain the support of parents as it is for a child to have their parents involved with their education. Parents being involved with their children not only allow them to have success as they go along, but also to achieve things at a higher level. If a parent is involved in their child’s daily activities, then they will be very informed about where their children stand academically as well as socially. By being a very informed parent, you are enabling your children to have every resource possible when they do start to struggle academically. This allows you to have knowledge of your child’s grades, attendance and behavior. You also have knowledge of the other children that you children are associating with, reducing the chances of your child being bullied by another student their age, or someone older than them. In our society today, there are more children being bullied. This happens more as the children get older, but this is an issue at all ages of children. When parents are involved, this is not only seen by faculty and staff at their children’s school, but is also seen by other children. Although not a proven fact, this would seem to cut down on children getting bullied because there are more eyes and ears around besides the teachers and staff. The bullying seems to really affect the older children to the point that they consider hurting themselves to make it stop. They feel like they do not have a reason for living and they have nowhere to turn to when things turn bad. By being involved, parents are able to work with the teachers and staff to curve any type of activity such as this. Parent and teacher relationships have to be strong so that they can work with children to make them achieve their goals. If a teacher f
eels as though they cannot approach a parent, then this makes it really difficult to do what is best for the children in school, especially if a child is in danger of either being held back or failing. Another issue would be if a parent does not feel that the teacher is approachable. This would then make a parent question that specific teacher’s capability on being their child’s teacher. However, the No Child Left Behind Act has somewhat leveled this out. This law is meant to allow parents access to the schools performance and it gives them the opportunity to move their children if they feel like the children are not getting a good education where they currently are. However, sometimes the difficulty rests with parents not having the knowledge on how to get involved with their children’s education. They may not know who to talk to or what area that they really need to focus on. If parents would contact the school counselor, they can help them take the first steps in being involved and show them how to help their children’s teacher. This law also helps with the child’s success because it gives parents the ability to step in and play an active part in choosing where their child goes to school. If the school is failing in performance, then parents can move their children. This allows the parent to let the school know that they do not want their child to suffer any academic consequences because the school is not performing. This also gives them access to additional learning opportunities for their child. Most of the time when a child sees their parents involved with their class or their school, this will promote a positive relationship between that child and their teacher. This is really important for a child to have an open and positive relationship with their teacher so that they can achieve their educational goals. This will then enable them to move on to obtaining all the skills necessary to obtain their career goals and not settling for anything but the best. When a child has a positive relationship with their teacher and their parents, they are more apt to want to go to school. This positive relationship allows the child to want to ask questions about certain lessons, especially things that they do not understand. If a child does not feel comfortable in the classroom, then they are not going to feel comfortable asking probing questions for the work that they are assigned. The child will just assume that this is the way things are supposed to be if the positive relationship is not there between all parties involved, such as parents, students and educators. Parent involvement in a child’s education is just as important in a child’s life as their upbringing at home. This enables children to learn at school from both their teachers and parents. Parents involved in their children’s education are showing guidance to their children. When parents are involved, children succeed at higher levels and want to go to college. Parent involvement in a child’s education has so many rewards for all involved. When a parent takes an active role in the child’s education, the child tends to abstain from alcohol or drug abuse, suffering from eating disorders, struggling academically or suffering from depression. This allows the parent to have better conversations with their child surrounding tough issues in an adolescents’ life. The child of a parent who is involved with their child’s education tends to have an easier time with communicating with their parent. The tough conversations, such as bullying, drug use, or discussions about relationships and sex tend to happen a little easier because they trust that the parent cares enough to take the time to have these conversations. These conversations can make a difference in something like teen pregnancy. A child whose parent is not as involved will usually try to get and take advice from their peers rather than going to their parents. Parent involvement in education is just as crucial in a child’s life as it is to teach them how to walk. Whether you are a stay at home mom, or you have a full time job, your child needs to know that you have an active interest in their educational goals that they set for themselves. Educators are important to a child, but parents are an even more important part concerning their child succeeding in school from preschool to when they graduate from college. We as parents have to take the time to get involved for our child’s sake, so that they have the chance to live a full and productive life as children and responsible adults.
LaRocque, M. M. (2011). Parental Involvement: The Missing Link in School Achievement. Preventing School Failure, 55(3), 115. doi:10.1080/10459880903472876 www.aboutourkids.org
Involved parents: The hidden resource in their children’s education, Anita Gurian, PhD