Changing Negative Parental Attitudes Toward Education

Studies show that children tend to perform better in school if they have parents with a positive attitude toward their education.

When a parent displays negative views on education, it can have an enormous impact on a child in school. 

In general, parents play an important role in a child’s development. Children often act like sponges and absorb their parents’ attitudes and beliefs about many subjects, including school.

There are many types of negative attitudes that parents may have toward their child’s education. By identifying common negative attitudes, it is possible to find ways to fix them.

Common Negative Attitudes 

Teachers want parents to be involved in their child’s education and believe that parental engagement is necessary for success. Unfortunately, the following negative attitudes are common among parents. 

One common negative attitude is that school is a waste of time or not necessary. Sometimes this view is combined with the idea that the child is stupid or not worthy of an education.

In some of these cases, a parent’s limited financial means leads to these beliefs and the expectation that the child should enter the workforce as soon as possible. 

Another problem is parents dismissing learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or other conditions. For example, if a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the parent may deny that it exists and blame the school for his or her issues. 

One of the most common attitudes among busy parents is disinterest. They are not involved in a child’s homework, projects or other school activities.

The lack of parental involvement can result in unmotivated students who feel there is no reason to do well in school. 

On the other hand, there are parents who are too involved in their child’s education and have unrealistic expectations. Some parents push their kids to live up to academic standards that are too high or that they do not have an aptitude for, so they suffer.

These parents may also be living vicariously through their kids. They push their child to fulfill the dreams they had in school, such as being a football player, cheerleader or valedictorian. 

One of the most difficult aspects to manage is a confrontational attitude parents may have toward teachers. Parents view teachers as the enemy instead of an ally. Children may emulate this leading to behavioral problems in the classroom. 

How Counselors Can Help 

Counselors can work with parents, teachers and students to improve academic performance.

The right counselor, especially one with an education in human development and family studies, will understand how to help the relationship among children, families and educators.

They can reduce or eliminate negative attitudes, helping students achieve better outcomes and more success in school.

The first step for a counselor is to gain the parents’ trust. Parents with negative attitudes are often uncooperative, so counselors will not make any progress until they have established this trust. Honest and frequent communication creates the foundation for trust. 

A counselor may want to begin by assessing the student’s performance and potential before discussing it with the parents.

This may include figuring out the child’s preferred learning style or study habits that need improvement. The child may also need to take evaluation or diagnostic tests.   

A good counselor will also consider the student’s home life to understand how family dynamics affect learning.

They may look at financial, emotional and other aspects of home life. They may ask questions to determine how the child fits in within the family. 

Once the assessments are done, the counselor creates a plan to help the parents, teachers and students overcome difficulties. They want to develop shared educational and behavioral goals that help parents and teachers collaborate, so the children benefit. 

To accomplish this, counselors provide education and career guidance that focuses on the student’s future. They identify resources to help support the student’s education, such as extra tutoring, medical or mental health assistance, funding and college scholarships.

Most importantly, they work with the parents to make sure the child succeeds. 

Overcoming Negative Attitudes 

Effort and time are necessary to overcome a parent’s negative attitude toward education. Teachers and counselors have to be dedicated to this cause.

The process begins with communication and listening. Teachers and counselors must communicate often and clearly to reach parents. They also have to be willing to listen to the parents and students. 

Having empathy for both the students and parents is an important part. Many families go through tremendous struggles that affect a child’s education, such as poverty or abuse.

Being sensitive when talking to families and while offering advice is crucial. Parents will not change their attitude if they feel judged, attacked, or criticized. 

It is possible to change negative attitudes among parents, but it takes responsibility. Teachers and counselors have to be willing to work with parents to help.

Ultimately, creating shared goals that everyone can work toward is a huge step for a child’s success. 

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