What Role Does Child-Rearing Play in Student Learning?

Rachel Geren
Rachel Geren
Fourth grade teacher; M.A. in Educational Leadership-Principalship, Ed.S.
A father reads with his daughter for school.

What is Child-Rearing?

Child-rearing is the process of raising children. The child-rearing process begins the day a child is born, through their schooling, and continues until the child enters adulthood. There are many different approaches to child-rearing, especially in this day and age. The ideas and opinions behind appropriate child-rearing behaviors have significantly changed over the last twenty years.

The current generation takes a much more hands-on approach to the process of raising children, compared to previous generations that encouraged independence in children early on. There is not a “one size fits all” method to raising children or developing a parenting style. However, no matter the approach one takes to the parenting process, there is no denying that the child-rearing process has a massive effect on not only the child in general, but also their attitude and approach towards education, and ultimately, their success within the educational system.

How Does Child-Rearing Affect a Students’ Learning?

It’s no secret that the parent-child relationship has a massive impact on the child’s academic achievement. A healthy bond between parent and child leads towards feelings of security, confidence, and willingness to try new things. All of these attributes lend themselves to learning and achievement within the school setting. Healthy child-rearing is a balance of encouraging children to learn and achieve independently, while also assuring the child they are safe and cared for, and mistakes are okay (and encouraged!)

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. A poor child-rearing experience quite literally affects the development of the child’s brain. The flight or fight response of children growing up in unsafe or neglectful environments is often seen at school when the child is challenged in any way. It becomes nearly impossible for many of these children to learn when their basic needs are not being met at home. Of course, the school can assist with meeting many of these needs, but many times, the meeting of basic needs trumps the academic experience, so these students are missing out in some way or at some time. In cases such as these, schools should take every opportunity they have to engage with the families, and ensure the school is doing everything they can to support not only the child at school, but the entire family at home.

The health of the family, and the family bond, is directly correlated to the success of that child at school. By supporting their students’ families, schools are having a direct positive effect on the test scores, attendance rates, academic achievement, and most importantly, the physical and mental well-being of their students.

Promoting Healthy Parent Engagement

It is incredibly important that schools take an active role in promoting parent engagement within the school setting. There are a multitude of ways to encourage this relationship. First, schools must take a proactive approach to communication. In our current society, parents are busier than ever, and many parents are juggling multiple children in school. The school has to be aware of this, and sensitive to it when managing parent expectations.

Activities to Cultivate Engagement

There should be ample opportunities for parents to get involved in the school. Schools must be aware that many parents are working during school hours. It goes a long way to have opportunities to get involved outside of school hours. Whether that be parent breakfasts, evening dances or events, or even weekend fun, schools need to make it possible for all parents to be involved.

Parent Education Courses

A further opportunity to promote healthy parent engagement is to offer parent education courses in the evenings or on weekends. These can vary from a wide variety of topics depending on the age of the students. Information on how to tackle the middle school transition, how to understand the district report card, or warning signs to look for in your teenager all go a long way in helping parents feel they are equipped to manage the challenges that come with the child-rearing process.

The school is full of experts on many of these topics, and their knowledge can be put to use in helping and educating parents. Even just discussions on how to talk to your child about their thoughts, feelings, and ideas goes a long way towards navigating the difficult process of raising a child to adulthood. The schools are a treasure trove of resources in this area.

Streamlined Communication

Of course, not every parent can physically attend events at the school. There are still ways to promote healthy parent engagement from all parents. School communication should be streamlined and succinct. Many parents don’t have the time or energy to spend time sorting through multiple newsletters, emails, and papers sent home from each school. Knowing where the communication will come from and when, can go a long way in the parent engaging with the content.

Schools can offer communication via the building, or via the individual teacher. Individual teacher communication can be more personalized to each child and allow the parent to have a better understanding of the learning taking place as well as upcoming events. Communication from parents should also be open and encouraged, and they should feel comfortable approaching the school with any thoughts, concerns, or questions about student learning, and more.

Schools must take a creative approach to the process of engaging parents in their child’s education. A healthy school-family relationship is a huge piece of a positive schooling experience. There are many ways to engage parents if the school is willing to work together with all families, no matter the challenges or roadblocks standing in the way.

Teachers never stop learning; check out our available early childhood education graduate programs to hone your skills and expand your expertise of learning styles, child developmental needs, and more.

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