Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parental Influences Differ In Determing Child's Later Academic Success

Date:
August 13, 2009
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Mothers and fathers play different roles and make different contributions to a child's upbringing, but a father's influence upon a child's academic success later in life is felt the most when he's involved from the very beginning, according to a new study.

Mothers and fathers play different roles and make different contributions to a child’s upbringing, but a father’s influence upon a child’s academic success later in life is felt the most when he’s involved from the very beginning, says a University of Illinois expert in early childhood education.

While a mother’s involvement in school was found to be positively related to a child’s academic achievement, a father’s involvement was found to be negatively related to later student achievement, according to Brent McBride, a professor of human development at Illinois.

When it comes to schooling, fathers are typically only summoned late in the game when the light is blinking red – “when the child is going to flunk, is going to get expelled, is getting held back or is exhibiting a behavior problem, which would account for the negative relationship,” McBride said.

“Men typically don’t become engaged in the school process until there’s a problem. Then you have the big conference where both parents come in, sit down and sort everything out.”

But if a father hasn’t engaged with a child before they go off to school, “there’s even less likelihood he’s going to be engaged even when there is a problem in school,” McBride said.

“That’s why it’s not hard to understand why men don’t become involved in the school process that much, because they’re not involved early on in the process.”

According to McBride, there’s a clear relationship between what fathers do early in a child’s life and how much they’re involved once their child goes off to school.

“If fathers establish early on that they’re going to actively engage in the parenting process,” he said, “they’re much more likely to continue that engagement as they grow older.”

Along with establishing a model for themselves, fathers who are devoted participants in their child’s early years are also setting up expectations within the family unit that their partners see “as active engagement in the child’s life,” McBride said. “And when the child sees that, they grow to expect it. They know that Daddy wants to be involved, and respond to it.”

McBride, who also is the director of the university’s Child Development Laboratory, believes one of the reasons men have trouble having adjusting to the role of father is because fatherhood is, in some ways, less scripted than motherhood.

“If you’re not used to being around children, or you don’t understand how children develop, parenting may seem awkward and even somewhat intimidating,” he said. “We need to help fathers realize that what they do is really important. If we wait and only get fathers involved when kids are having problems in school, that’s too late.”

Fathers and father figures, McBride says, can have at least as much of a unique impact on a child as mothers do, and therefore should be seen as co-equal partners in parenting.

“We shouldn’t forget about what men are doing in the family constellation,” he said. “When we talk about arenas or domains that have typically been the mother’s expertise, we are too quick to dismiss the father as having any impact at all. It’s important when we talk about issues of early parenting that we not to get locked into the ‘parents equals mothers’ mindset.”

One of the keys to changing that mindset is working with service providers – teachers, social service workers and daycare workers – to change their perception of fathers.

“We have to work with service providers so that they recognize that if they want to get men more engaged in the process, which most professionals would concur with, then let’s focus on getting them engaged from day one of a child’s life,” McBride said.

Typically, when children are sick, there’s a “high probability that daycare or school will call the mother and not the father first,” he said. Not necessarily because the mother is better informed about the child’s health, McBride said, but because “that’s how they’re socialized to think, that Mom is the only one who can respond in that situation.”

“It’s a totally different mindset, one where Mommy isn’t necessarily called first when something goes wrong. But they’re the key to really having an effect and changing what goes on in families.”

McBride said these analyses suggest that we need to think more about men, fatherhood and what role they play as parents.

“We need to look at the bigger picture, because these analyses all point to the same conclusion: that men and women each contribute uniquely to child outcomes,” he said. ”Any chance we get to help men discover what fatherhood really means to them and give them a model toward that engagement.”

The results of McBride’s research were published in an article titled “The Differential Impact of Early Father and Mother Involvement on Later Student Achievement” in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology.

McBride’s co-authors were U. of I. students W. Justin Dyer and Ying Liu, and Geoffrey L. Brown, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the American Educational Research Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. McBride et al. The differential impact of early father and mother involvement on later student achievement.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2009; 101 (2): 498 DOI: 10.1037/a0014238

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Parental Influences Differ In Determing Child's Later Academic Success." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812111443.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009, August 13). Parental Influences Differ In Determing Child's Later Academic Success. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812111443.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Parental Influences Differ In Determing Child's Later Academic Success." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812111443.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins