Adjustment in parenting may lead to academic success in under-pe - WNEM TV 5

Adjustment in parenting may lead to academic success in under-performing students

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A University of Michigan study aims at making better students, by starting on the parents.

What do you do when a child brings home a bad report card?

A. Lecture the child

B. Restrict his or her activities, such as participating in sports or clubs

C. Create a home environment that stimulates learning

According to study lead author Sandra Tang, researchers said parents should be selecting C.

"Punitive parenting strategies are likely ineffective in promoting achievement when it does not directly address the underlying problem that is causing academic under-performance," Tang said.

Tang and study co-author Pamela Davis-Kean, a professor of psychology and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research and Center for Human Growth and Development, examined how parents responded to their child's academic progress and how it affected their school work five years later.

The researchers concluded parents of under-performing students need to determine whether the problem is: learning or behavior. 

Parents who selected B are solving one specific problem. A lack of time spent of school work can be solved by limiting activities, but if a child can't solve a math problem, time isn't really the issue.

"Punishing and lecturing also does not provide the child with concrete skills or strategies for improving their grades," Davis-Kean said.

Parents who selected A may accidentally be establishing negative emotions with education, especially with middle-school aged pre-adolescents trying to establish their own identity. 

Tang and Davis-Kean's findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

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