In combination, the interplay between these variables is impacting the commitment to parenting, the maturity of adult role models, the levels of parental education, and the stability of communities (Cherlin, 2009). Since the nature of families is in a constant flux regarding child-rearing practices, including a steady increase in co-habitation arrangements (Kennedy & Bumpass, 2008), schools must analyze this dynamic to create innovative practices. In particular, students’ confidence, initiative, problem-solving skills, and motivation, among others, directly reflect parental nurturing and guidance (Anfara, 2008; McKinney & Reni, 2011). With diminished parental ‘quality time’ invested in children’s welfare, students are entering elementary schools with fewer readiness skills, a greater potential for disruptive behavior, and limited socialization abilities (Burdzovic, 2009). In particular, critical social – emotional skills, like cooperation and respect, are often undeveloped because of limited parental training and modeling (Whitted, 2011).
Students with a nurturing, stable, and protective family background typically have a greater probability to excel academically, as evidence by their mastery of standardized tests (Taylor & Dounay, 2008). Lacking these basic family components (Lapkoff & Li, 2007) is a strong predictor of school-adjustment issues, which often culminates in a failure cycle that severely restricts graduation rates. Reversing this unfortunate outcome is a persistent problem that will require imaginative curricula modifications and instructional interventions.
Anfara, V. A. (2008). Varieties of parent involvement in schooling. Middle School Journal, vol 39, 3, 58 – 64. [link]
Burdzovic, J. & Watson, M. (2009). Moderating effects of family environment on the association between children’s aggressive beliefs and their aggression trajectories from childhood to adolescence. Developmental Psychopathology, 21, 189 – 205.
Cherlin, A.J. (2009). The state of marriage and the family in America today. NY: Alfred A. Knopf Publishing.
Cooper, C. E., Crosnoe, R., Suizzo, M., & Pituch, K.A. (2010). Poverty, race, and parental involvement during the transition to elementary school. Journal of Family Issues, v 31, 7, 859 – 883.
Kennedy, S. & Bumpass, L. (2008). Cohabitation and living arrangements: New estimates from the United States. Demographic Research, 19, 1663 – 1692.
Lapkoff, S. & Li, R. M. (2007). Five trends for schools. Educational Leadership, 64, 6, 74 – 79.
Luscombe, B. (2020). Marriage: What’s it good for? TIME, v 176, 22, 48 – 56.
McKinney, C. & Renk, K. (2011). A multivariate model of parent – adolescent relationship variables in early adolescence. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, vol 42, 4, 442 – 462.
McLanahan, S. and Beck, A. N. (2010). Parental relationships in fragile families. Future of Children, v 20, 7, 17 – 37.
Taylor, T. and Dounay, J. (2008). Strengthening parents’ ability to provide the guidance and support that matter most in high school. Police Brief: Education Commission of the States.
Whitted, K. (2011). Understanding how social and emotional skill deficits contribute to school failure. Preventing School Failure, vol 55, 1, 10 – 16.