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Why Parent Involvement Is Important

by
James Roland
James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication that has approximately 75,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, covering issues ranging from the environment and government to family matters and education. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.
Why Parent Involvement Is Important
Close-up of a parent holding a little girl's hand as they walk towards the beach. Photo Credit Erik Snyder/Photodisc/Getty Images

Parental involvement can take many forms, including helping with homework, coaching youth sports, leading scout troops, getting to know a child's teachers and friends, and much more. The specific form is less significant than the involvement itself. According to the Michigan Department of Education, research consistently shows that children with involved parents tend to do better in school, stay out of trouble, and avoid drug and alcohol abuse.

Involvement in School

Involving yourself in your child's education is helpful in many ways. According to a 2001 Michigan Department of Education report, lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem in the public schools. Involve yourself in your child's education by helping her to prepare for school and get extra academic assistance as needed. Students with learning disabilities, whether profound or mild, often need parents to speak up and advocate for services or accommodations in the classroom. Children of involved parents consistently have higher test scores, better attendance and higher self-esteem.

Awareness of Problems

By getting involved in your children's lives, you can spot trouble sooner and help your kids faster. The early signs of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental disorders are sometimes subtle, such as a comment made in passing, a change of eating and sleeping patterns, dropping old friends and spending more time alone or with different people, and poor school work. Staying vigilant and watching for key signals can help save your child's life.

Becoming Responsive

Involvement in your child's school and social life may help you to become more responsive to your child's needs in all areas--emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, etc.--according to the website Education.com. Involved parents report greater confidence in their own parenting and decision-making skills. Involvement also improves a parent's attitude toward a child's school and toward education in general.

Reinforcement

Parent involvement signals to your child that his activities are important. When you involve yourself in what he's doing, your child feels that you respect and value him, his choices and priorities. Involvement also reinforces the idea that a parent isn't just someone who works and takes care of the home, but rather is a multidimensional person who can offer a variety of skills, talents and experiences to an activity. Finally, your involvement in activities outside the home reinforces the vital understanding that you are there for your children, no matter what the setting.

Setting Examples

You want to teach important lessons that will help your children later in life. By getting involved early and often, you can help pass along countless lessons. You can establish the importance of reading by taking your kids to the library and helping them pick out books. You can teach the value of physical activity by playing tennis or other sports with your children. And you can demonstrate that involvement is a key part of parenting, so when your children become parents, they will have that experience to draw upon and carry forward.

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