In the modern world, knowledge and skills have become the cornerstone of the society, and educational issues are the subject of interest as well as widespread concern. The current tendencies concerning school performance are associated with the collaboration between families, especially parents, and school staff members among which teachers play the most significant role. At the same time, parents’ expectations for their children’s school attainment make a considerable impact on the children, their prospects, and achievements because of the specific character of the relationships between parents and children that are likely to be described in terms of closeness and warmth (Child Trends par. 1-2). Thus, to help children be a success and improve the situation in education, the complex connections among children, parents, and schools should be addressed.
Studies show that parental involvement is an important variable that can positively influence the children’s education (Enterprise City Schools par. 7). Unfortunately, many parents don’t show up or appear to be getting involved for one reason or another. This lack of involvement can have an enormous impact on the children both in and out of school. If this continues, it will also affect the children’s educational development and success. The teachers and educational professionals can help by educating parents and students on the importance of parental involvement.
Causes of the Lack of Parental Involvement
According to the research, there is little doubt that the present-day schooling is notable for lack of parental involvement (Center for Public Education par. 1). It is possible to single out three key causes of this phenomenon: the lack of welcome in school settings, the lack of knowledge and/or education, and the shortage of time and family matters.
First and foremost, it is possible to state that it is the atmosphere within schools that makes some parents reluctant to interact with each other. Studies demonstrate that many people encounter parent cliques, i.e. adult cultural subgroups in the high school setting, and tight-knit groups of parents (Crawford par. 2). The difference between these two notions is slight; however, in the first case, however, the exclusion of a parent from school life and decision-making is harsher. Ignored and left out, parents do not wish to deal with such people and, consequently, seldom or never participate in school activities.
The lack of knowledge is the another frequent reason for the lack of parental involvement. It may be the negative school experience of a person that distorts the truth about the actual school practices. It may also be the difficulties in communication with teachers and other school staff members caused by their assurance that they will be unable to cooperate and apply their skills to practice in a proper way (National PTA par. 2). In other words, parents just do not know what they should do to begin collaboration.
The third cause of the lack of involvement pertains to family issues. A wide range of problems may be included from personal relationships difficulties, such as divorces, to financial straits. It does not mean that parents do not care what they child experiences. On the contrary, many parents, especially the single ones, have to work much in order to support their kids (Finders and Lewis par. 13). As a result, they have no time for school meetings and similar events.
Effects of the Lack of Parental Involvement
Apparently, the problems described above lead to negative consequences. The direst fact is that not only adults but also children are affected negatively. It can be stated that three effects are of great importance: social problems of children, worse academic performance (including grades), and risks of making poor choices.
It is statistically proven that children whose parents are not involved in school affairs for a variety of reasons have to face social problems, such as isolation from peers and low self-esteem that may result in loneliness, depression, and becoming a victim (Lereya, Samara, and Wolke 1092). Caring and attentive parents support their child, teach them successful communication, and serve as the example of appropriate social behavior.
The next effect is connected with academic performance. As it is demonstrated by different studies, parents of high-achieving students set higher goals for their children’s educational activities than parents of low-achieving students (Enterprise City Schools par. 17). However, it is impossible to establish standards without knowing what goes on at school. Parents who fail to be involved in school life and communicate with school staff can hardly provide their child with the expectations that correlate with school criteria. A child is likely to get confused if parents and teachers demand different things.
The final effect pertains to the risk of making poor choices. Research proves that students whose parents are involved in schooling usually have decreased use of drugs and alcohol (Enterprise City Schools par. 11). This issue is also connected with bad behavior tendencies: parent involvement significantly influences the way the children conduct themselves in their routine lives. These effects can be explained by the need for attention. If a child feels they receive enough love and consideration, they will not try to claim attention using destructive methods.
Ways to Resolve the Lack of Parental Involvement
Having discovered the causes and effects of the lack of parental involvement, one can suggest some measures that should be taken to improve the current situation and adequately resolve the problem. The potentially effective steps refer to educating parents, cooperating with parent and/or student mentors, and improving communication among students, teachers, and parents as the fundamental measure.
For those parents who lack education and do not know what they should do first, workshops hosted by schools may become a suitable option. These worships will aim at informing people. For example, simple and short parent handbooks shedding light on the main school rules, procedures, and policies may be provided (National PTA par. 8). Individual attention should be paid to parents who do not speak English or have poor knowledge of the language. As the first stage of work with such parents, printed materials that are sent home and passed out at meetings in the necessary languages can be a solution (National PTA par. 25). Parent education programs (seminar/webinars) can be useful for those parents who work much or have some other reasons due to which they cannot meet school staff members personally. These programs should be user-friendly and informative.
Mentoring can be an advantageous strategy in terms of psychological help. Children who need help will be able to raise their self-esteem. Parents are also to be involved in these programs. Besides, mentors may help children who need to improve their knowledge and grades by giving them additional lessons.
Communication among parents, children, and school should become the basis of the interaction. The individual approach is necessary. For example, it will be beneficial to send pictures of students at school and show parents how their children make progress. Communication on the phone or via e-mail may also be useful.
To sum it up, parental involvement is one of the most essential issues in terms of the modern education. The causes of the lack of the involvement vary, and it is necessary to understand the consequences of this phenomenon. To provide children with every opportunity to succeed and feel better, collaboration among schools and parents is vital.
Center for Public Education. Back to School: How Parent Involvement Affects Student Achievement (Full Report). 2011. Web.
Child Trends. Parental Expectations for Their Children’s Academic Attainment. 2015. Web.
Crawford, Leslie. Parent Cliques. 2016. Web.
Enterprise City Schools. Why is Parental Involvement Important? n.d. Web.
Finders, Margaret, and Cynthia Lewis. Why Some Parents Don’t Come to School. 1994. Web.
Lereya, Suzet Tanya, Muthanna Samara, and Dieter Wolke. “Parenting Behavior and the Risk of Becoming a Victim and a Bully/Victim: A Meta-Analysis Study.” Child Abuse & Neglect 37.12 (2013): 1091-1108. National PTA. Overcoming Obstacles to Parent Involvement. n.d. Web.