Approximately four years ago, I had the esteemed pleasure of spearheading a timely piece of research, along with Keira Cox and Cheri Archer, dealing with factors that contribute to the national D+ AVERAGE in The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education. Among the onslaught of issues discovered, there were two findings that stood prominently among all; firstly, the fact that if listed in alphabetical order from the highest to the lowest grade one could acquire (A B C D E F G), D sits boldly in the average position, secondly, the single greatest factor that correlated strongly with scholastic passes, was parental involvement.
I have always been of the persuasion, that if God thought children could raise themselves, he would not have given them parents. We can never underestimate the significance of having parents present and accounted for in their children’s lives.
This is inclusive of the tertiary school years, also. Parents truly make a difference.
In the research, we established that parents who were actively involved in, and contributed to making study and home life schedules with their children and sticking with such arrangements, as well as, permitting flexibility for structured days, produced children whose national grades were higher than those children whose parents were not as involved. There was also a greater level of participation and stronger passes among students whose parents offered verbal and written words of encouragement, than students who did not receive these words of endorsements from their parents.
Naturally, there were other factors, such as, intelligence-/academic levels, personal commitments, extracurricular activities, self-assurance and confidence levels, that played active roles in the research findings. However, controls were built into the study for such variables. Students were also provided with mentors and peer support for the duration of the study.
Parents who invest time and efforts in their children’s lives, encourage children who provide similar expressions to their children. Parents help to mend wounds and hurts, build self esteems, strengthen confidence, structure consciences, build bridges, calm fears and provide long comforting arms. Even older children (adults), tend to relish the comfort of having parents around to share and offer sagely words.
Psychologists, who study Middle /Later Adulthood, report a greater appreciation for life and existence and younger generations, among parents who were actively involved and made countless contributions to their children’s lives.
School and church are not substitutes for parenting. These institutions are there to assist in the overall preparation of our children’s lives. They should never be abused. Children need parents to build strong foundations. When they are all grown up, it may be too late.
Point to Ponder: “Lost time is time gone forever; cherish your children.”
• Ask Doctor Pam is an advice column that is featured every week in this journal. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may email your letters or comments firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Askdoctorpam P.O. Box F43736. Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all areas of mental health.