Research Reveals – Chapter Five

RR5.1: Good Connection with Parents Means Higher Grades
One US study published by The Heritage Foundation in 2008 revealed that parents who adopt a sensitive, warm, and responsive type of parenting and engage in play activities with their young children bolster their kids’ social and emotional development, communication skills, and ability to focus. Beyond academics, teens whose parents are more involved and who feel they receive more support from their parents are more likely to participate in structured after-school activities that, in turn, are positively correlated with achievement and social competence.[i]

Researchers from Penn State University (in 2005, using data from the Adolescent Health Survey) compared students from three generations of Asian, Hispanic and US born Caucasian families. Regardless of ethnicity, this study showed a significant but independent association between parenting styles and students’ grades, as well as positive relationships with others in the community. Thus youths who bonded with their parents and enjoyed good communication with them tended to have higher grades and better physical and emotional well-being.[ii]

The core emotional need for connection and acceptance is not unique to a particular gender—research indicates that a father’s approval is important for the development of healthy self-esteem in both boys and girls.[iii]

RR5.2: Honouring Your Parents Really Does Bring Long Life!
Students who attended Harvard University between the years 1952 and 1954 were asked whether their relationship with their mother and with their father was “very close”, “warm and friendly”, “tolerant”, or “strained and cold”. Thirty-five years later when the participants were middle-aged, their medical records were collected. Results showed that 87% of students who rated their mothers and fathers low in parental caring had been diagnosed with diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, duodenal ulcers and alcoholism in midlife, whereas only 25% of those who rated both their mothers and fathers high in parental caring had diagnosed diseases. This research took into account the family history of illness, smoking behaviour, the death and/or divorce of parents and marital history of the students.[iv]

[i] Kim, C. C. (2008). Academic success begins at home: How children can succeed in school. Backgrounder (Published by The Heritage Foundation), 2185, 1–12; Wimer, C., Simpkins, S. D., & Dearing, E., et al. (2008). Predicting youth out-of-school time participation: Multiple risks and developmental differences. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 54(2), 179–207.

[ii] Kim (2008), Academic success begins at home; Pong, S., Hao, L., & Gardner, E. (2005). The roles of parenting styles and social capital in the school performance of immigrant Asian and Hispanic adolescents. Social Science Quarterly, 86(4), 928–950.

[iii] Kindlon, D. (2001). Too much of a good thing: Raising children of character in an indulgent age. New York: Hyperion. 84.

[iv] Russek, L. G., & Schwartz, G. E. (1997). Perceptions of parental caring predict health status in midlife: a 35-year follow-up of the Harvard Mastery of Stress Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59(2), 144-149.