How does parenting style affect academic achievement?

Welcome back to Best Case Parenting. We have talked about a whole host of different parenting styles on this site, anything from lazy parenting to parallel parenting. Why do parents care so much about these styles? Probably because they want to find a style that will help them bring up their child in the best way they possibly can. How about academic achievement? Does parenting style affect this too? That’s what we hope to talk about today.

A good majority of parents see education as a key factor in their child’s upbringing. A lot of parents will go to great lengths to help their child get ahead in education. For example, moving their whole family to a new house just to get in the catchment area of a better school. Formal education plays a big part in a child’s academic progress, but it is not the only factor.

The number one role model in most children’s lives are their parents, either adoptive or biological. By nature, children are vulnerable beings who are highly dependent on the adult members in their lives, primarily needing parents to make decisions for them. Therefore, for a child to grow in an all-rounded way, it is clear that parental guidance will play a big part.

In this article, we hope to shine a brighter light on this issue. Mostly by talking about different parenting styles and how they may potentially affect your child academically. We hope that it will give you a good starting point when it comes to realizing the impact you might have on your child as one of the major adults in their life. Just remember that no one is perfect! There is no such thing as a perfect parent! Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit these parenting ideals perfectly, they are just there for guidance purposes. If you do find a parenting style you wish to replicate, I suggest you go educate yourself further on the subject 🙂

Be aware that we will only go over some major parenting styles here today, if we went over all of them we would be here all day! However, this should give you a good insight into how your parenting could affect your child.

With all that said, let’s get into it.

What does an academic achievement entail?

First, one must understand what academic achievement entails. The education system constitutes a curriculum that each student is required to follow. While some students go through the education system with no clear goals, some have a clear set of goals that they want to attain. Academic achievement therefore entails meeting the set academic goals of a student at whatever level of their education.

What does research say?

A group of researchers headed by Debora Valcan did any interesting study in the Educational Psychology Review. After looking at 42 related studies published over a 16-year period, they concluded that “modest, naturally occurring associations exist between parental behaviours and future EFs (executive functions) and that early childhood may be a critical period during which cognitive parental behaviour is especially influential.” Not only did they find a link between parents’ behaviour and their child’s development, but also that this link is the strongest when the child is in their younger years.

You can’t call this conclusive, but it gives a good indication that your parenting style can have an affect over your child’s academic achievements.

Types of parenting styles

Now lets go over some of the main parenting styles that exist in modern parenting:

Authoritarian parenting

Through research, it has been established that children coming from authoritarian homes achieve academic excellence because for them excelling in school is similar to obeying the law. In an authoritarian set up, we have parents on one end as the formulators and enforcers of the law, and on the other end, we have the children who are conditioned to obey the set laws. Among the rules meant to be followed is meeting the set academic expectations of the parent, and children don’t have a chance to cite their reasons for failure. The effects of failure are usually punitive measures, which most times can be adverse. Such a parenting style can negatively affect a child, whereby children end up rebellious at some point in their lives. Authoritarian parenting is highly discouraged because it breeds children scared of expressing themselves because freedom of expression is heavily frowned upon within the home. Most children live their lives to satisfy family expectations, hence academic excellence achieved here is met through children putting as much pressure on them similar to the pressure they receive from home.

Authoritative or democratic parenting

Authoritative parenting, also known as democratic parenting, is whereby parent-child relationships are greatly embraced. As much as the parent sets the home rules just like in the authoritarian style, children here can question rules which are too harsh because they have a right to be heard. Punitive measures can only be taken where the mistakes of the child are apparent. The parents using this kind of parenting style often have high expectations of their children, more so in academic achievements. The children are made to understand the importance of good grades. The final decision on what the child does often lays with the parent, but the decision is made after thorough consultation with the child. In this regard, a parent might choose specific subjects for the child, but after thorough consultation, a consensus can be reached, allowing them to pursue those subjects they love the most. Also, children are highly encouraged to be independent, and this eventually helps them in their adulthood life. The academic achievements children from authoritative homes attain don’t just end at school since the results get to show even in other areas of life way after they have left school. You can read an interesting study that points to that outcome HERE.

Indulgent style

Indulgent style of parenting can be termed as freestyle type parenting. The children from such homes often have more influence on the parents’ decisions.

Parents can have household rules in place, but most times, the rules are not enforced. When it comes to academic achievements, most times, the child’s personal effort will push them to succeed more than parental guidelines will. Indulgent parenting focuses more on meeting the material and other luxurious needs of a child than teaching the importance of good grades. Research has shown that parents who tend to use the indulgent style of parenting often want to feed their childhood traumas. For example, parents who grew up in poverty would wish to to overcompensate through their children. Therefore, the parent will accord their child the freedom and material things they lacked growing up.

Uninvolved style

Uninvolved parenting is similar to absenteeism. Most parents using uninvolved parenting have no control over their children. A home with no rules might breed careless future citizens who don’t value any form of achievement in their life. At times, academic achievements might be driven by personal effort, but the parental influence is still significant even for the development of the child’s brain.

Most reading and writing skills are best taught at home with firmness, but with lots of love. When such firmness and love are absent, then the chances of a child becoming an academic achiever become narrow. The question of how does parenting style affect academic achievement, therefore, can be best answered by stating that; parent behavior constitutes the energy from which most children draw their motivation. Additionally, the brain of a child develops best dependent on the relationship the child has with the parent. The main reason most schools give students homework is so that parents can get a chance to impact their children’s education. However, a child can only study best in a home with parents who are willing to assist in doing homework and even creating home timetables for their children. When children experience firsthand how much their parents value education, their motivation to be academic achievers will automatically grow.

How do parenting styles influence school achievement?

Schools are not just about academics because most education systems have adopted a holistic approach seeking to offer students all rounded growth. Therefore, school achievement can be curriculum or extra-curriculum achievement. A child who is not very gifted in the classroom might have other talents like in sports or music, which a school set up can help nature through various internal and external programs. A child’s achievements in a holistic education set up are highly dependent on the parental style used back at home because it is from the grassroots where most children draw their classroom confidence and even persona. Here are some of the ways of how parenting styles influence school achievement:

The authoritarian style limits the freedom of speech a child has because children are brought up not to question parental decisions but rather act accordingly. Self-expression is best developed at home through parent-child relationships, and the lack of it can spill over into the school life of a child. Children brought up in authoritative homes might find it hard to explore their talents if their up-bringing only points towards academic achievements as the only form of existing success. Therefore, such children are highly likely to sit on their talents and never pursue them.

When it comes to parenting styles that foster holistic achievements, then the authoritative parenting style takes the lead. Children brought up by parents exercising the authoritative kind of approach have proven to be achievers in the education system. In authoritative parenting, parents make the decisions, but children have the right to express their opinions on the decisions made on their behalf. Therefore, a child whose passion is in sport, music, and other extracurricular activities rather than academics can always express their desire to develop their talents while still pursuing their academics.

On the other hand, indulgent and uninvolved parenting are the worst parenting styles for any school-going child. Parents who seem disinterested in their child’s education give the child no reason to be aggressive in the classroom or outdoor sporting activities. On the flip side, children coming from an uninvolved parenting style might want better for themselves if they have friends coming from homes with good parenting styles. A child who wants better for themselves will always press on to achieve their life goals at any expense. Such children, if accorded just a tip of authoritative parenting, their achievements will be significantly better. Generally, any parent looking to have children who are great school achievers must understand one thing; being in a child’s life and positively impacting their education is the first door towards success a parent can open for a child.

How does parenting affect intelligence?

As much as parenting style is not the absolute determinant of intelligence (as genes play a big role) parenting style has a distinct effect on a child’s intellect. Research has linked borderline intelligence to parenting behavior. Most students and children found with borderline intelligence often come from uninvolved parenting backgrounds. A child’s full potential in school is best realized when a parent has a positive impact on the child’s life.

For example, children from authoritative parenting homes have an opinion about the decisions made for them. Through exercising their right to be heard, such children often tend to explore what is best for them in school while full knowing that they have the right support system. Even children born with a very low IQ happen to grow their intelligence along the way because of the right support system. To succeed in school, children require both emotional and social intelligence. Parents are the primary contributors to a child’s intelligence, both social and emotional.

Other factors that affect intelligence

 The economic status of the parents

 Nutrition

 Quality of family bonds

In general, intelligence can be developed right from a young age; hence even children with borderline intelligence are able to become better and go ahead to attain various achievements within the schools set up. As a parent, you should always be aware that academic success is not the only success that can lead to the child’s future success.

How does parenting style affect child development? 

The most significant influence on a child’s development is the daily stimuli they encounter as they go through life. Parents happen to be the constant factor in most children’s life’s unless circumstances dictate otherwise; therefore, most times, how a child develops is influenced by the parenting style.

Authoritarian style

Children with authoritarian parents grow up without experiencing parental warmth at any given point. Social skills, which are oftentimes developed from the family level, lack in such children. When a child from an authoritarian home excels in school, it often is because they have been conditioned to excel or otherwise face heavy punishment. In the end, the social skills of the child end up untapped, hence their development being one-sided. Also, because such children intend to impress their parents and evade punishment, they get to mature at a very early age, hence missing out on an opportunity to pursue things that children at a certain age pursue.

For example, it an expectation that the average ten year old would love some time out during the weekend playing with family and friends. Ten-year-olds rarely enjoy such freedoms from authoritarian homes; most of them spend what would be leisure time doing manual chores or studying dependent on the directions given by the parent on the given day.

Authoritative style

The authoritative style of parenting is more like a partnership between the parent and child. Most researchers have found that children brought up by authoritative parents get to experience holistic development. Instead of being conditioned to follow the rules, children here are taught the importance of following rules. If a child has issues with the rules set by a parent, they can always ask questions. The opinions of the children are often factored into the decisions made on their behalf by the parents. With such an environment, most children exhibit both cognitive and social development in all aspects of their lives.

Indulgent or permissive style

Children that exhibit the highest self-esteem are often from homes whereby the parents exercise indulgent parenting. Despite not being the highest academic achievers, indulgent parenting greatly helps in social development. Most children can make friends and develop meaningful relationships. The openness and friendship fostered from home allows children to discuss their hobbies and other interests. Therefore, a child who is less interested in academics can pursue other interests and succeed in life.

Uninvolved style

Children with uninvolved parents often struggle through life. Their social development is most times untapped, hence making the child experience some level of awkwardness around people. The child’s cognitive development is also greatly affected because the child does not know what it entails to have an emotional connection with their parent.

Effects of parenting styles on the holistic development of children

Mental health is a subject that is widely spoken about in the modern day world. Most people who have been found to suffer from depression often can have the source of their problems traced back to the parenting style they were brought up under. Children who grew up experiencing good relationships with their parents often end up being outspoken adults. Therefore, they are able to speak out whenever they are battling stress. The end result is usually a more rounded human who knows the best way to find solutions to their problems. On the flip side, a child of an authoritarian parent may never share their problems, as they are scared of the consequences. This will put undue mental stress on the child, something that could weigh heavily on their future development.

In general, the parenting style practiced by a parent whilst raising their children is the greatest determinant of academic excellence, school achievements, intelligence of the child and development. Therefore, to raise up holistically ‘successful’ future adults, parents must affect the right parenting at the very early stages of bringing up their children.

This is, however, a very complex issue. If you have any of your own advice or input to give, please do so in the comments section below.

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