The end of the year is speeding towards us, and for teachers, kids and parents alike, that means one thing – report card time.
Right now, teachers across Australia are busy marking reports for nearly 4 million school students. Each report is filled out according to different guidelines and curricula, as well as differing degrees of flexibility.
But what about parents? What guidelines, if any, can help prepare you to respond in the right way when you receive your child’s report card – especially if your child isn’t doing as well as you might like?
A recent University of Michigan study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, offers some useful advice.
Researchers asked parents of nearly 500 US children how they would respond if their 11- to 13-year-old child brought home a report card with lower-than-expected grades or progress.
They sorted those responses into two broad categories – “punitive” vs “proactive” – and then investigated whether the parents' responses predicted better or worse school results five years later.
The study found that children whose parents said they would respond by lecturing, punishing or restricting their child’s social activities actually had lower levels of literacy and maths achievement by the end of high school.
The main reason that “punitive parenting” strategies like those are unlikely to work is that they do not directly address the underlying problems that lead to the poor result.
For example, the researchers argue, limiting social activities is only likely to improve school performance if going to too many social events is the reason underlying the poor performance.
Perhaps just as importantly, parents who use punitive parenting practices may inadvertently deny their children the opportunity to learn the very skills and knowledge they require to improve their grades. Even worse, punitive strategies may increase children’s sense of frustration and aversion to school work.
Read the full article "If you want your child to bring home better grades, stop yelling and try this" at The Conversation.