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The Problem of Negative Parental Attitudes Toward School

By TFD Unlimited Collaborator March 14, 2019

In this article, I am going to examine the effects of parental attitudes toward school on their children. Numerous studies have been conducted regarding the effects of parental attitudes on their children. Oftentimes parents' income levels influence their children's performance at school. In low income families, parents may find it difficult to provide nutritious food, clothing, books, educational toys or teaching materials. They may not find the time to read to their children or help them with their homework; whereas, higher income families can provide all of the necessities that their children may need to perform well at school. 

However, socio-economic level is not the only factor affecting children's performance or behavior at school. Children's behavior in and out of school is, of course, a product of their behavior and discipline at home. Children quickly learn what is expected of them and, in most cases, tend to act accordingly. Therefore, schools often focus on developing a good working relationship with parents. This may be accomplished through parent-teacher conferences, home and school meetings, or school social events involving parents and school staff. A strong partnership between parents and their children's school will generally result in better student behavior and, also, higher academic achievement. Communication between the school and parents is key. 

Generally, but not always, parents who have had the advantage of a higher education themselves will value the education of their children of greater importance. 

Parental attitudes toward education can be negative or positive. Most parents want their children to receive the best possible education. They may demonstrate that to their children by their involvement in the process. They may talk to their children about their day at school, help them with their homework, participate in school activities, and encourage and motivate them to excel. These efforts will pay off in their students' better attitudes toward school, increased efforts to achieve and better behavior in and out of school. 

Parents who have a negative attitude toward school may demonstrate that by their lack of interest in their child's activities at school or their academic progress. They will probably not see the importance of participating in parent-teacher conferences or school activities. They will likely show little interest in their children's activities in or out of school. Generally, these parents will find that their children show the same lack of interest or even disruptive behavior in the home. According to Rojalin Samal in his research project in partial fulfillment of the requirement in his Master's Degree in Development Studies published in the Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing .2013, "a negative attitude of the parents regarding education and schooling can prevent their children from getting education. With less parental support in school work, low level of motivation and poor self-esteem of children can result." 


In today's world, children have so many pressures to deal with that it is more important than ever for parents and teachers to do as much as possible to build and strengthen the self-esteem of our children. One powerful way to make that happen is by showing them that we are interested in their activities, education and development. Since students in every classroom have differing backgrounds, differing degrees of parental involvement and attitudes toward education, it has become extremely important to maximize parent involvement in their child's education as much as possible. Educators must go the extra mile to help all parents to understand what parent involvement in their specific children's education looks like. Perspectives often differ between how parents and educators define parent involvement. Of course, there are various degrees of parental involvement necessary for the child's best interest depending on the development and specific needs of each individual child. 

Although it is true that students enter a classroom from differing socio-economic backgroumds and with differimg parental attitudes toward education, research has shown that students at all grade levels experience increased academic success when their parents participate at school and encourage education encourage education and learning at home. 
Encouraging education takes on many forms. It begins before birth as a parent reads to his or her unborn child. It means providing as many books and educational toys as reasonable for children at their appropriate developmental levels. It means having regular conversations with your children about their experiences and aspirations. It means talking to your school age children about their experiences at school. It means sitting with your children and helping them with their homework. It means maintaining good discipline and teaching your children to respect their peers and adults whether in the home or outside the home. It means communicating with teachers even if the parent must initiate the conversation. As your child observes you actively participating in his or her education, he or she will learn that, as it is important to you, it must be important to him or her, as well. 

Just as positive parental attitudes towards school affect your child's education positively, negative parental attitudes toward school affect your child's education negatively. If you do not discuss with your children their lifetime goals and help them to work out a plan for reaching those goals, they will have no way of understanding how to get there. They need a map to follow. 

Many parents who have not had the advantage of a formal education themselves or may have had negative experiences within their educational background, may not appreciate our educational system and therefore may project a negative attitude toward education. Their children will be very quick to pick up on those negative attitudes and conclude that education is not important for them or their own families. In these cases, especially, a strong positive relationship between the school and the parents is imperative. Only when the parents adopt a positive attitude toward education can they pass it on to their children and future generations. Strong home and school associations and strong and willing educators must work extra hard for the sake of the children to instill the importance of education for today and for the future of our children and for our society.

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