Several studies this past year have found that good parenting can have lasting positive effects on your children helping with everything from doing better in school to establishing healthy sleeping patterns. When it comes to low to middle income families, the evidence is no different as a new study found that good parenting can make up for what income may lack.
The study was conducted by Columbia University in New York and set out to pinpoint the ability gaps between various income groups, how large the gaps were, and which factors were responsible for the gap. As a result, the study found that nearly half of the differences of these groups, particularly for US children, were due to poor parenting and home environment.
Ability test score analysis of both US and UK children found that the lower the familial income, the less the children were prepared for school. In addition, there were indeed large contrasts in ability in children from wealthy families versus children from low-income households. Previous studies have found that children from families with higher incomes perform better in school due to increased parental interaction, more educational toys, and better access to quality education.
In the US, 4 year olds from poor families scored only 34 points out of 80 on literacy tests compared with 69 points out of 80 for the kids from wealthy families. Similar stark contrasts were found in the literacy tests of 3 year olds from the UK. Researchers are concerned with the results explaining that children starting school already at a disadvantage will have difficulty keeping up scholastically with their peers.
The good news, according to researchers, was that parenting and home influence on learning can make a big impact once the children start school. Focusing on US children, researchers then examined how parenting affected a child’s ability only to find that almost one half of the ability gap was related to home and environment and parenting regardless of income. Good parenting analysis focused on how attentive the parents were to their child’s needs, if they took their children on outings, and whether or not they read to their child. Researchers conclude that ‘compensatory education‘ programs along with universal access to quality pre-school child care would help these children would help a great deal.