What can parents do to help children doing poorly in school? Two new studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggest that supporting their childrens autonomy and refraining from being controlling will help kids do better on their homework and raise their grades.
The findings, published in the May/June issue of the journal Child Development, send home a poignant message. If parents intervene in a controlling way by issuing commands, by doing the assigned tasks for their kids or by rushing them, struggling children become disengaged. Such children may do even more poorly at school over time, said Eva Pomerantz, a professor of psychology at Illinois.
"When mothers respond to their children in a manner that supports autonomy, children doing poorly actually experience increases in their performance during their interactions with their mothers and the next day," she said. "Perhaps most importantly their school grades improve over time."
Jim Barlow | UIUC
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