Parents can promote children’s academic competence through their parenting behaviors. I will discuss the findings of a study that explored how general parental behaviors and styles are related to children’s academic achievement.
School-specific and general parenting behaviors
Parents can influence their child’s academic achievement through both school-specific and general parenting behaviors.
- School-specific parenting behaviors include for example helping children with homework and talking about school issues.
- General parenting behaviors include responsiveness (being supportive, accepting and sensitive to children’s needs) and demandingness (controlling children’s behaviors).
School-specific parenting behaviors are expected to have larger effects on children’s academic achievement than general parenting behaviors.
General parenting behaviors related to better academic achievement
This study summarized previous research on the effects of general parenting behaviors. Better academic achievement in children was related to:
- Higher levels of responsiveness: being supportive, accepting and sensitive to children’s needs
- Behavioral control: communicating clear and consistent expectations of appropriate behavior and trying to monitor children’s behavior
- Autonomy granting: encouraging and allowing children to make decisions and encouraging the development of independence
The effects of these general parenting behaviors were small.
- Be supportive and sensitive to your child’s needs
- Tell your child what behavior you expect of him/her. Keep track of his/her behavior, but try not to be too controlling. Stimulate his/her independence.
- Allow your child to make choices, for example about what activities he/she would like to do.