Child Rearing Environments & Academic Performances

By Susan McCammon
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The environment in which a child grows significantly influences their physical, intellectual and socio-emotional development. In particular, the home environment determines a child’s school readiness, achievement in math and reading, reports Aletha Houston in the Journal of Children and Welfare Reform. Some environmental factors that influence a child’s academic performance include family structure, parents’ behavior, school environment and parental involvement.

Family Structure

Offering a caring and supportive home environment may improve your child’s academic scores. Children raised in a caring and supportive family are more likely to perform better in education as compared to those raised in families where the child lacks parental attention, researchers Paula Fomby and Andrew Cherlin state in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Changes in family structure and dynamics also can affect academic performance. For example, if a parent moves in with a new partner, he may find it difficult at first to divide attention between the partner and his child, which will stress the child, and in turn can lead to poor academic outcomes.

Parent Behavior

Children look up to their parents for guidance and support. Children who do not get enough time with their parents may not perform well academically due to social or emotional problems. A child with a parent who has addictions or heavily indulges in substance use, may be more likely to suffer from neglect or abuse, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Provision of a child’s basic needs is also linked to positive academic outcomes. Children who lack basic necessities like food, good housing and healthcare, may become depressed, anxious or have behavior problems, reports Child Welfare Information Gateway.

School Environment

Children with special needs, such as due to medical conditions or emotional or mental disorders need a well-managed and structured environment to perform well academically. Many children have what the mental health organizations call "invisible disabilities," which makes it easy for their needs to be overlooked, which in turn cause the children academic problems, not to mention stress and sometimes depression. The Organization for Autism Research recommends that educators not ignore the special needs of such children, even though they may function normally for periods of time. If a parent doesn't feel his child's needs are being met at school, he can request a meeting with appropriate school staff and an advocate. If the child doesn't yet have an IEP, which stands for Individualized Educational Plan, the parent can request one and advocate for his child.

Parental Involvement

Children with involved parents are more likely to perform better in school because they are less likely to have behavioral or emotional problems, which may negatively affect academic performance. Fathers need to be more involved in their children’s upbringing as this can lead to academic readiness, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. In addition, involvement of father figures may lead to patience and better coping skills in children, which are essential in dealing with challenges in schools.

About the Author

Susan McCammon began writing in 1997. Her work has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. McCammon holds a Ph.D in Psychology from University of South Carolina.