The Barriers to Parental Involvement and the Benefits of Fixing It

In order to have the best running school and see the most success for any student, schools and families have to work together. So, even though parents, teachers, and administration know this, why so often do we not see as much parent involvement in schools.  Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons there may not be parent involvement in their child’s education and the reasons that families need to become involved.

3 Main Barriers to Parent Involvement

Though these are not all the reasons that families, parents, or guardians steer clear of schools, these tend to be the most common reasons for lack of parent involvement.

Parent Teacher Relationships

This can cover a very wide variety of specific issues. But, many parents find that they have very tense or strained relationships with their student’s teacher. And obviously, no one really wants to be around a person that they feel weird with.

Some common causes for awkward parent teacher relationships which can lead to a lack of parent involvement in school and classroom activities may include:

  • Fear- This could be a fear of being judged by a teacher due to education level or career. This can also be a social fear. Some parents may be introverted and feel uncomfortable in any type of social situation.
  • Tension- Words may have previously been exchanged between teacher and parent. Even if the problem has been resolved and over, there may still be residual feelings of awkwardness.
  • Lack of Communication- Families can feel unwelcome at the school because there has been a lack of communication between teacher and parent.
  • Respect- Or really a lack of respect. If teachers do not feel like the parent respects them or is allowing their student to be disrespectful towards the teacher, then teachers may not make it a point to invite parents to be involved. And if parents don’t respect the teacher they may not want to come to the school.

Family Resources

Above all, sometimes families truly do not have time to be involved in school things. Between jobs, children (or multiple children), and potentially other extracurricular activities, school functions or homework can tend to take a backseat.

Not only time but also access to transportation. Families may only have one car which can make it difficult to actually get to school functions not during normal school hours.

Internet issues have also proven to be a barrier. Especially during the 2020-2021 school year, many families have had to rely on the internet to be connected to school. Families sometimes may not live in an area with good internet signal or they may not be able to afford to upgrade their internet service.

Lack of Knowledge WATCH: The Parental Engagement Problem & How To Fix it!

Oftentimes, parents may be unaware of all the ways in which they can contribute to the school. There is a lack of parent involvement education in most schools. Parents need to be told specifically about places, times, and events to be part of. Parents also need to be educated about the role they play in their students’ education. They may not know or really understand how their actions, words, and conversations with their student impact success in school.

Benefits of Parent Involvement and Parent Involvement Education

So, why does it really even matter if families take active roles in their child’s education?

Improved School Performance

Students get higher grades and have better attendance. There is a higher rate of student success when there is a higher rate of parent involvement. This happens because students feel that what they are doing matters. Parent involvement helps students gain a mastery mindset towards learning. Students also tend to be encouraged to use self-discipline more.

Improved Behavior

Student behavior improves when there is an increase in parent involvement. The average student will meet expectations when they know that their parents will be checking in on them or will be informed of their behavior.

Mental Health

By having their parents choose to get involved in their education, student’s self-esteem increases. Due to this, students also have better emotional control. They feel fewer negative thoughts especially thoughts about school.

There has been lots of research done supporting the importance of parent involvement and student achievement. Here are several other sources to read up on that will support and provide other information:

Final Thoughts

There are tons of opportunities and activities in which parent involvement can occur. Parent involvement and academic success have long been known factors of a healthy school.

The best way for teachers and schools to encourage more families to partner in their student’s education is through communication and parent involvement education. By keeping an open line of communication with parents, schools will help overcome some of the issues parents may be having and will encourage involvement.

Looking to improve parent-teacher relationships in your school? Use this Parent Involvement Guide!