NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many parents believe the more involved they are with their children’s education, the better their kids will perform in school.
But a new study finds that might not be true.
As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, researchers analyzed 30 years worth of data, tracking the different ways parents participate in their children’s academic lives — helping with homework, observing a child’s class and volunteering at their school — and the impact they have.
The results found most forms of parental involvement led to little or no improvement in children’s test scores and overall academic performance.
“If you are doing your child’s homework, if you’re sitting on top of your child, if you’re micro-managing your child, it turns out that it doesn’t make a difference,” said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in Manhattan.
Koplewicz said the study also indicated that, in some case, too much parental involvement can actually cause students to perform worse in school.
“Parents who are always fixing things, who are always arranging things and checking really defeat the purpose of letting a child learn that sometimes struggles and sometimes failures really help you to succeed the next time around,” he said.
Most parents Finch spoke to agreed that children need to be given some space when it comes to their academics.
“How are they supposed to learn or better themselves if the parents are helping them?” said Joe Decicco, a Stony Point, N.Y., father.
“It seems to make sense,” added Upper West Side mom Catherine Baumann. “I mean, ‘hovering’ and ‘smothering’ are not verbs that sound like they would be a good result for the kid anyway.”
Part of the study included interviews with groups of high-achieving college students who were asked how they were parented. Most of them described mothers and fathers who set high expectations, then stepped back.
“I think it works because it shows a form of independence,” said Kaycee Morton, a mom from Jamaica, Queens.
“We’re pretty independent and raised to be that way, and I want to try to instill that in my daughter,” said Andrea Sontz, of the Upper West Side, who has a 2-year-old, Lexie.
“You have to be supportive, especially when they’re very young, but as soon as possible, they need to have small challenges every day to learn on their own,” added Jesus Goya, of the Upper West Side, who also has a 2-year-old.
The study’s findings were the same regardless of the parents’ race, class or level of education.
According to the study, the parental habits that really work include reading aloud to young children and making sure your child has the right teacher for their needs.
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