A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Parental Involvement: How Much Is Too Much?

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Since Day One, parents have always been told that parental involvement is the key to their child’s academic success. But is there a point where being involved is more of a hindrance than help?  A study from Duke University and the University of Texas at Austin details the best ways to help your child thrive in school.

Helping with homework has always been considered a bonus for kids. Now a new study finds those advantages start fading in middle school.

“The curriculum has changed, definitely, since I learned math,” said mom Courtney Hylton.

Researchers looked at data about kids from the time they were in the first grade to the twelfth. They also tracked 63 measures of parental involvements, such as helping with homework, talking about college, and meeting with teachers.

Duke researcher Angel Harris, PhD, told Ivanhoe, “Roughly 15 percent of the time, parental involvement was associated with increases in achievement. About 30 percent of the time, 35 percent of the time it was associated with decreases in achievement.”

Fifty percent of the time, it made no difference. The researchers also found, across all racial groups, helping with homework was found to lower achievement in reading and math. So what does help?

“Having expectations of your child to have education beyond high school seems to be associated with achievement across the board,” detailed Harris.

Professor Harris and his colleagues also found that reading out loud to young children made a difference, as did talking to older students about their college plans. Also, talking about the importance of school is associated with increases in math and reading.

Courtney’s daughter, Jordan, said her parents “just kind of encourage us to get better and that we will get there.”

The study also found that parents can improve kids’ academic performance by as much as eight points on a reading or math test by placing them in a classroom of a teacher with a good reputation. This is one example for which race did seem to matter. White parents are at least twice as likely as black and Latino parents to request a specific teacher.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Angela Clooney and Roque Correa, Videographers.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Original research: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/678451

facebook twitter instagram youtube arrow up Play Icon Envelope Arrow Right Arrow Down