Dad – an important co-creator of academic success

17 Jun

Researchers at Brigham Young University[1] have found how dads are in a unique position to help their adolescent children develop persistence, which is seen as one factor for academic success. I am not surprised – tapping into dads’ (or another significant adult’s) life experience helps children to understand how the real world works. Persistence also relates to the “growth mindset”[2] which is Carol Dweck’s concept of becoming successful with hard work, instead of solely relying on basic qualities of being talented.

In their study researchers viewed persistence as a teachable trait, and explained how father’s involvement in good quality interactions increased the academic success:

The key is for dads to practice what’s called “authoritative” parenting – not to be confused with authoritarian. Here are the three basic ingredients:

  • Children feel warmth and love from their father
  • Accountability and the reasons behind rules are emphasized
  • Children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy

Authoritative parenting and teaching employ the very best strategies which, of course, from my point of view look very similar to the 3Cs: co-operation in the form of acceptance (warmth and love), cognitive learning tools in emphasizing reasons and accountability, and constructive upbringing – or teaching- in trusting children with age appropriate level of autonomy.

There are many other studies showing how authoritative parenting style significantly predicts academic performance, while no relations can be found for permissive or authoritarian styles (Turner, Chandler et al 2009)[3]. In teaching profession we don’t usually speak about authoritative, permissive or authoritarian teaching styles – but maybe we should?

Children, whose dads employ the “basic ingredients” of authoritative parenting, become more successful in their learning. In the same way students, who are treated at school with co-operative, cognitive and constructive principles, are more likely to grow to become respectful, accountable and determined adults.

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