Parents’ involvement imperative for child’s development

Dr Jeny Rapheal
A research project on the involvement of parents in the educational life of adolescents-a survey conducted among 261 adolescents of Thrissur district of Kerala state with a sample constituted 99,167 students from government-aided, government and private higher secondary-schools shows parental involvement is necessary for all-round development of the child

Absenteeism, student drop-out rates, disciplinary issues, quality of homework, overall academic achievement, student self-concept, self-control, student motivation can be regulated effectively with the help of consistent and realistic parental educational involvement.

Simple practices like communicating parental expectations, planning the future with them, enquiring about daily school activities, etc. can significantly influence academic achievement of students. Mindful parenting when combined with optimal involvement in the education of wards can work wonders in the academic life of students. In the same vein, educational institutions which have given adequate importance to parental involvement in the academic as well as non-academic educational activities of the school will definitely improve the overall performance of their students.

Evidence based facts

Parents of private school students exhibited higher quality in their parenting practices and involvement in the education of their wards.
The parents of the government school were lowest in this regard. The research paper titled School-wise differences in Parental Educational Involvement has been published in Indian Journal of Health and well-being. It is available at

These are the graphical representation of data collected. The standardized tools used for collecting data had three indices to gauge the extent of involvement of parents. 1) Talking about school activities with adolescents 2) Discussing future plans with them 3) Involvement with school. Aided school parents though not lowest, couldn’t reach above average score in the mean values of the scores obtained for their educational involvement. As we can see, parents of private school students were highest in the three indices of measurement.

Regarding the domestic parental practices, a significant number of parents of aided school students perceived their parents as inducing guilt. And this number was higher compared to those of private school students. The same was the case with the parental practices of threatening to punish, encourage performance goals, etc. That is, patterns of domestic parental practices and educational involvement were more or less similar.

Why this difference?

Parents of private schools were high in their socio-economic status. In Kerala, the rich opt for private educational institutions for their wards. Studies across the world asserted the fact that parents’ educational and financial status determines the nature of the educational aspirations. Adequate knowledge and accessibility to proper resources help affluent parents to have a realistic vision regarding the manifold aspects of learning. They will be keen on a executing a series of actions like choosing best institutions for the education of their wards or searching for best courses, providing emotional and intellectual support, monitoring student activities, providing better solutions for their problems, ensuring better ambiance in the home and what not.

Is socio-economic status of the parents the only thing that influences parental educational involvement? The school as an organization can shape the nature of involvement of parents in the educational life of their wards. The cause of the differences noticed in my study in the parental involvement cannot be attributed only to the high socio-economic status of parents of the private institution. On the contrary, if observed closely, one can see salient differences in the parent-school interface of these three educational institutions.
In the private schools, the number of parental meetings, parental awareness/training programmes taking place in a year and the frequency of parent-teacher interactions, technology-based communications between parents and school authorities, are higher compared to those in government/semi-government sectors.

Mindful parenting when combined with optimal involvement in the education of wards can work wonders in the academic life of students

In order to improve the quality of involvement:

  • Let each institution chart out a clear policy for parental involvement
  • Define the nature and kind of parental involvement the school needs from parents in order to develop and sustain the quality of education.
  • Parental involvement policy aiming for collaboration with parents must commiserate well with the socio-cultural background of the parents.
  • To ensure educational involvement at the micro level (at home)—such as regular monitoring of learning activities, say homework—proper awareness must be given and if needed, train the parents periodically for the same.
  • Parents must be given enough space in all the decision making processes which will have direct impact on the academic life of the student. Encourage them to raise opinions and suggestions.
  • At the same time, the institution must identify the boundary of ‘freedom for the expression’ given to parents and must communicate it to them in order to safeguard the autonomy of the institution.
  • The kind of involvement pattern that parents can make with teachers must be articulated and communicated duly to the parents and it must be revised periodically.
  • Technology-based communication facilities must be exploited to inform the parents about students’ educational activities on daily, weekly at least monthly basis. Parents must be given training if needed to make use of the technology interface.
  • Parents who fail to rise up to the expectations of school with respect to involvement must be dealt with mandatory conditions as well as awareness programmes.
  • Parents who have vested interests and interfere with the smooth functioning of the school must be dealt compassionately.
  • Teachers must be given awareness regarding the immense possibilities of parent educational/school involvement
  • Parent-teacher communication must be monitored by the head of the institution. Indicators of the monitoring should be specified and communicated to the teaching group clearly.

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