Helping your kids with their homework could seem like a good idea, but earlier research already showed that isn’t the case. This new study links the parental style to academic results and the findings aren’t that surprising when you know the earlier research: Parents who take the overparenting approach, known as helicopter parenting, are possibly hindering their child’s development by becoming too heavily involved in homework, although is at bit more complicated than that. Do note that this is based on an online survey.
From the press release:
A QUT study involving 866 parents from three Brisbane Catholic/independent schools found those who endorse overparenting beliefs tend to take more responsibility for their child doing their homework and also expect their child’s teachers to take more responsibility for it.
“There is concern this greater parental involvement in ensuring homework is completed, particularly in high school, is actually impacting the child’s ability to take responsibility for their homework or understand the consequences of their actions,” said QUT Clinical Psychologist Dr Judith Locke.
“The irony is a helicopter parenting style with the goal of fostering academic achievement could be undermining the development of independent and resilient performance in their children.
“Parental involvement is a child’s school experience is considered an important factor in their academic success and homework is a key aspect of that. However it seems some parents may take the notion too far and continue to assist children at an age the child should be taking most of the responsibility for their academic work, such as the senior school years.
“Parental assistance with homework should slowly reduce as a child gets older and daily parental involvement in an adolescent’s homework would be developmentally inappropriate.”
“These parents appear to not only help their child more, they also expect their child’s teachers to help them more, particularly in the middle school and senior school years.
“We know from recent research, that there may be a point where parental assistance ceases to be beneficial, especially as children reach adolescence and young adulthood, and can result in poor resilience, entitlement and reduced sense of responsibility.”
Dr Locke said studies in America which reported on parental over-involvement in a student’s university life found it to be extremely detrimental.
“Some parents choose their adult child’s subjects, edit or complete their assignments and badger lecturers to improve their child’s grades,” Dr Locke said.
“When these parents are making these decisions or providing academic pressure it has been found the adult student disengages from their education and often has increased depression and decreased satisfaction with life.
“The results of this study may go some way to explain why some parents are continuing to be highly involved in their adult child’s academic life.”
The ‘Overparenting and Homework: The Student’s Task, But Everyone’s Responsibility’ study, which used the new Locke Parenting Scale (LPS) overparenting measure, will be published by the Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools.
Participating parents completed online questionnaires about their parenting beliefs and intentions, and their attitudes associated with their child’s homework.
“Parental help can be constructive by showing interest and coaching them to complete their work, but unconstructive assistance includes telling a child the right answer or taking over from them when they are completing school tasks,” Dr Locke said.
“Those who scored highly on the LPS measure in our study may have been reacting to greater academic difficulties of their child and without an objective measure of the child’s academic skills we cannot rule that out.
“However, this study is one of the first to indicate that overparenting may result in parenting actions and expectations of their child’s school which may not enable children to fully develop academic responsibility and self-regulation skills.”
Dr Locke added that further research should examine whether extreme parental attitudes and reported behaviours were having a negative effect on students or resulting in children taking more responsibility for their homework.
Abstract of the study:
A high level of parental involvement is widely considered to be essential for optimal child and adolescent development and wellbeing, including academic success. However, recent consideration has been given to the idea that extremely high levels of parental involvement (often called ‘overparenting’ or ‘helicopter parenting’) might not be beneficial. This study used a newly created overparenting measure, the Locke Parenting Scale (LPS), to investigate the association of overparenting and children’s homework. Eight hundred and sixty-six parents completed online questionnaires about their parenting beliefs and intentions, and their attitudes associated with their child’s homework. Parents with higher LPS scores tended to take more personal responsibility for the completion of their child’s homework than did other parents, and ascribed greater responsibility for homework completion to their child’s teacher. However, increased perceived responsibility by parents and teachers was not accompanied by a commensurate reduction in what they perceived was the child’s responsibility. Future research should examine whether extreme parental attitudes and reported behaviours translate to validated changes in actual homework support.