The Role of Parenting in Predicting Student Achievement: Considerations for School Counseling Practice and Research

Jeffrey M. Warren, Leslie A. Locklear, Nicholas A. Watson

 

This study explored the relationships between parenting beliefs, authoritative parenting style, and student achievement. Data were gathered from 49 parents who had school-aged children enrolled in grades K–12 regarding the manner in which they parent and their child’s school performance. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and multiple regression modeling were used to analyze the data. Findings suggested that parent involvement, suspension, and homework completion significantly accounted for the variance explained in grade point average. Authoritativeness was positively and significantly related to both rational and irrational parenting beliefs. Irrational parenting beliefs were positively and significantly related to homework completion. School counselors are encouraged to consider the impact of parenting on student success when developing comprehensive programming.

 

 

Keywords: student achievement, homework completion, irrational parenting beliefs, authoritative parenting, school counseling

 

There are many indicators of success as students matriculate through elementary, middle, and high school. Student success is generally defined by the degree to which students meet or exceed a predetermined set of competencies (York, Gibson, & Rankin, 2015). These competencies are often academic in nature and align with state curriculum. Data collected at numerous points (i.e., formal and informal assessment) throughout an academic year are used to monitor student performance. Student achievement data, including end-of-grade tests and grade point average (GPA), are key determinants of student outcomes such as promotion or retention (Schwerdt, West, & Winters, 2017). Although both are distal data points that measure achievement, GPA is a cumulative measure of student performance based on mental ability, motivation, and personality demonstrated throughout the course of a school year (Imose & Barber, 2015; Spengler, Brunner, Martin, & Lüdtke, 2016).

 

Numerous factors are related to and impact student achievement. According to Hatch (2014), these factors include discipline referrals, suspension, homework completion, and parental involvement. Research suggests that these factors are good indicators of distal or long-term academic success (Kalenkoski & Pabilonia, 2017; LeFevre & Shaw, 2012; Noltemeyer, Ward, & Mcloughlin, 2015; Roby, 2004). Although it is a challenge to determine student progress based on GPA alone, these variables can be monitored across the school year for a real-time snapshot of student success (Hatch, 2014).

 

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA; 2012) has suggested that school counselors work to promote student success by operating across three distinct areas or domains: academic, social and emotional, and career development. As such, school counselors play an integral role in developing, delivering, and evaluating programs that promote academic achievement. School counselors are challenged to determine the direct impact of services on student achievement. Student achievement–related data can be measured to understand the impact of school counseling interventions. For example, a study skills curriculum such as SOAR® (SOAR Learning Inc., 2018) may increase homework completion by 20%. School counselors can infer that the intervention will lead to increases in student achievement; literature suggests homework completion is positively correlated with GPA (Kalenkoski & Pabilonia, 2017).

 

Although school counselors often work directly with students, they also can engage in efforts to promote student achievement through work with parents and families. For example, Ray, Lambie, and Curry (2007) suggested school counselors can offer parenting skills training to promote positive parenting practices. Other authors have advocated to strengthen the partnerships with and involvement of parents, which are factors related to student achievement (Bryan & Henry, 2012; Epstein, 2018). In developing interventions that aim to build partnership and increase involvement, it is important for school counselors to understand the values, assumptions, beliefs, and behaviors of parents (Bryan & Henry, 2012). During the initial stages of partnering with families, school counselors should address any biases and assumptions that may impede the partnership (Warren, 2017). Furthermore, strategies and interventions should be data-driven and aim to promote student achievement (Hatch, 2014). In the current study, researchers examined the relationships between parenting beliefs, authoritative parenting style, and student achievement. School counselors who understand the relationships between these factors are best positioned to meet the needs of all students.

 

Parenting Beliefs

The beliefs parents maintain are especially pertinent to the overall wellness and success of their children (Warren, 2017). At times, parents may place unreasonable demands on themselves, their children, or the practice of parenting in general. For example, a parent may think, “My child should always do what I say, and I cannot stand it otherwise.” This belief can have a detrimental impact on the parent–child relationship and family unit as well as the psychosocial development of the child (Bernard, 1990).

 

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), developed by Ellis (1962), emphasizes two main types of thoughts pertinent to the beliefs of parents: rational and irrational. Rational thoughts are flexible and preferential in nature. These thoughts lead to healthy emotions and functional behaviors. Alternatively, irrational beliefs are rigid and dogmatic and stem from demands placed on the self, others, and life. “Life should always treat me fairly and it is horrible when it does not,” is an example of an irrational belief. This belief can lead to unhealthy emotions (e.g., anger, depression) and result in unhelpful or dysfunctional behavior.

 

A central goal of REBT is to advance acceptance of the self, others, and life in general. In turn, individuals are encouraged to abstain from global evaluations or rating the self, others, or life as totally bad. When striving toward acceptance, individuals are happier and more successful in life (Dryden, 2014). Researchers have studied REBT and associated constructs among various populations, including children (Gonzalez et al., 2004; Sapp, 1996; Sapp, Farrell, & Durand, 1995; Warren & Hale, 2016), teachers (Warren & Dowden, 2012; Warren & Gerler, 2013), college students (McCown, Blake, & Keiser, 2012; Warren & Hale, in press), and parents (Terjesen & Kurasaki, 2009; Warren, 2017). Literature suggests a strong correlation between irrational beliefs and dysfunction, regardless of the measure used or sample under investigation.

 

Findings from Hamamci and Bağci (2017) have suggested that a relationship exists between family functioning and the degree to which parents hold irrational expectations about their children. Emotional support and responsiveness of parents deteriorate with an increase in irrational beliefs. Additionally, child behavior issues are more prevalent when parents think irrationally. Hojjat et al. (2016) found that children are more susceptible to substance abuse when their parents maintain irrational beliefs and unrealistic expectations. Parenting styles that advance unrealistic or irrational academic expectations may stifle academic success and promote the development of irrational beliefs and unhealthy negative emotions (e.g., anxiety) in children (Kufakunesu, 2015).

 

Parenting Styles

Parenting style is most often used to broadly describe how parents interact with their children. In 1966, Diana Baumrind presented three major parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive. Later, Maccoby and Martin (1983) identified a fourth style of parenting: neglectful. Parenting styles are defined by collections of attitudes and behaviors expressed to children by their parents (Darling & Steinberg, 1993) and are often based upon the degree of demandingness/control and responsiveness. Parents who maintain an authoritarian parenting style are highly demanding, yet emotionally unresponsive, while authoritative parents exude high demands, but are communicative and responsive (Baumrind, 1991). Permissive parents, on the other hand, are responsive, yet lack firm control of their children; neglectful parenting involves a lack of emotional support as well as little control (Pinquart, 2016).

 

The manner in which parents parent can impact their child’s success in school. Of the four parenting styles described, research findings suggested that models of parenting aligning with the authoritative parenting style are most closely linked to student achievement (Carlo, White, Streit, Knight, & Zeiders, 2018; Castro et al., 2015; Kenney, Lac, Hummer, Grimaldi, & LaBrie, 2015; Masud, Thurasamy, & Ahmad, 2015). Additionally, the impact of parenting style on student success seems to vary little across culture. A meta-analysis conducted by Pinquart and Kauser (2018) suggested that children across the world may benefit academically from authoritative parents. Although a plethora of evidence supporting this relationship exists, a meta-analysis conducted by Pinquart (2016) found a small effect size, suggesting the relationship between authoritative parenting and student achievement is minimal. Regardless, the manner in which parents interact with their children impacts many aspects of child development, including their ability to succeed in school.

 

Purpose of the Study

 

This article explores the relationships between parenting beliefs, styles, and student achievement. Ellis, Wolfe, and Moseley (1981) suggested parents’ behaviors stem from their thoughts and emotions. These beliefs impact the manner in which parents interact with their children. For example, parents who hold rigid or extreme beliefs may respond to their children more negatively than parents who maintain a flexible belief system. As such, parenting beliefs may impact parenting style, and therefore the success of students. However, the literature is scant when exploring the relationships between parenting beliefs, parenting style, and student achievement.

 

In order to work effectively with parents, it is important that school counselors understand parenting beliefs and styles and their impact on student achievement. Several research questions guided this study, including: (a) Is there a relationship between student achievement and parental involvement, homework completion, discipline referrals, and suspensions?; (b) Is authoritative parenting related to student achievement?; and (c) Are parenting beliefs related to student achievement? Based on these research questions and existing literature, the following hypotheses were generated: Hypothesis #1: A significant relationship exists between GPA and student achievement–related variables. Hypothesis #2: Rational, irrational, and global evaluation parenting beliefs are predictive of authoritative parenting. Hypothesis #3: Authoritative parenting is significantly positively related to student achievement. Hypothesis #4: Parenting beliefs are significantly related to student achievement–related variables.

 

Method

 

Participants

This study included parents living in the southeastern United States (N = 49) who self-reported having children enrolled in elementary, middle, or high school. Of the participants, 96% (n = 47) were mothers, while 4% (n = 2) were fathers. Regarding race and ethnicity, 45% (n = 22) identified as White, 41% (n = 20) identified as American Indian, 8% (n = 4) identified as African American, and 6% (n = 3) identified as Hispanic/Latino. The mean age of the participants’ children was 11 years old; ages ranged from 5 to 18. All grade levels (K–12) across elementary (n = 28), middle (n = 6), and high school (n = 15) were represented, with second grade represented most frequently.

 

G*Power 3.1, developed by Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, and Bucher (2007), was utilized during an a priori power analysis. The author conducted the power analysis to ascertain the minimum number of participants needed to reach statistical significance, should it exist among the variables under investigation. With statistical power set at .80 and alpha level set at .05, the analysis produced a minimum sample size of 40. This sample size was large enough to detect a medium effect size
(f2 = .35). As a result, the sample size was sufficient to explain the relationships between the predictor and criterion variables.

 

Instruments

The parents who participated in this study completed a demographic questionnaire and two surveys. The demographic questionnaire, developed by the first author, captured race/ethnicity and gender of the parent in addition to the level of involvement in their child’s schooling. Student achievement–related questions also were asked to capture the age of the participant’s child, grade level, GPA, homework completion percentage, and number of discipline referrals and suspensions. Participants responded to questions such as, “What percentage of your child’s homework is completed on a weekly basis?” Other surveys utilized in this study include the following.

 

     Parental Authority Questionnaire–Revised (PAQ-R; Reitman, Rhode, Hupp, & Altobello, 2002). The PAQ-R is a 30-item self-report measure of parenting style. The PAQ-R is a revision of the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAR; Buri, 1991) and is grounded in the work of Baumrind (1971). Three subscales, Authoritarian, Authoritative, and Permissive, comprising 10 items each, assess the degree to which parents exhibit control, demand maturity, and are responsive and communicative with their child. Participants indicate their level of agreement with statements such as, “I tell my children what they should do, but I explain why I want them to do it” using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).

 

Findings from a study conducted by Reitman et al. (2002) suggested that the PAQ-R is a reliable measure of authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles when considering respondents’ demographic characteristics such as socioeconomic status or race. The Authoritarian (r = .87), Authoritative, (r = .61), and Permissive (r = .67) subscales of the PAQ-R have good test-retest reliability at one month. The Authoritarian (r = .25) and Authoritative (r = .34) subscales were positively correlated with the Communication subscale of the Parent-Child Relationship Inventory (Gerard, 1994), suggesting convergent validity. Across three distinct samples of parents, coefficient alphas ranged from .72 to .76 for Authoritarian, .56 to .77 for Authoritative, and .73 to .74 for Permissive, demonstrating internal consistency (Reitman et al., 2002).

 

In the current study, only the Authoritative subscale was used. The demographic characteristics of participants in Sample A in a study conducted by Reitman et al. (2002) most closely aligned with the sample in the present study. Factor loadings for Sample A were identical to the Authoritative subscale of the original PAR and therefore used in this study. For the present study, the Authoritative subscale has an internal consistency of .69.

 

     Parent Rational and Irrational Belief Scale (PRIBS; Gavita, David, DiGiuseppe, & DelVecchio, 2011). The PRIBS was used in this study to assess participants’ beliefs related to their child’s behavior and parenting roles. The self-report instrument contains a total of 24 items; four are control items. Three subscales, Rational Beliefs (RB), Irrational Beliefs (IB), and Global Evaluation (GE), comprise the remaining 20 items. The RB subscale contains 10 items and assesses the degree to which preferential and realistic thoughts related to parenting are maintained. The IB subscale includes six items and evaluates the demands parents place on themselves and their child. The GE subscale comprises four items and assesses the degree to which parents globally rate themselves or their children.

 

A 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) is used to respond to items such as, “My child must absolutely respect and obey me.” Scores on the PRIBS generally range from 39 (very low) to 60 (very high). The PRIBS and its subscales are significantly correlated with other measures of irrationality and negative emotion, including the General Attitudes and Beliefs Scale-Short Form (Lindner, Kirkby, Wertheim, & Birch, 1999) and the Parental Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995). Gavita et al. (2011) suggested the PRIBS is a reliable measure of parent irrationality; test-retest reliability (r = .78) for the full scale was acceptable after two months. Internal consistency for the PRIBS was .73. The coefficient alphas for RB, IB, and GE were .83, .78, and .71, respectively. For the current study, an internal consistency coefficient of .46 was found for the PRIBS. Additionally, coefficient alphas for the subscales are .62 (RB), .80 (IB), and .43 (GE). All PRIBS subscales were used in this study.

 

Procedure

     A review of literature was conducted in an effort to identify the measures for use in this study. Additionally, a brief demographic instrument was developed to obtain relevant parent and child demographic information. Qualtrics survey software was utilized to prepare the survey packet (i.e., informed consent, demographic questionnaire, and surveys) for electronic dissemination. An application to complete the study then was submitted for review to the institutional review board (IRB) at the researchers’ university. Upon IRB approval, the researchers disseminated an electronic message containing a link to the research packet via a graduate counseling student listserv. An email also was distributed to staff who worked in the School of Education at the researchers’ university. The email contained a request for parents of K–12 students to participate in the study; recipients also were asked to forward the email to family, friends, and colleagues. The email was disseminated on three occasions across two weeks. Participants who completed the study were entered into a drawing for a chance to win $50.

 

Results

 

Preliminary Analyses

In order to gain a better understanding of the student achievement–related data collected during this study, initial analyses were conducted. Prior to analysis, GPA was calculated using a letter grade–GPA conversion table; parents reported letter grades on the survey. As such, grades of A+, A, and A- equated to GPAs of 4.33, 4.0, and 3.67, respectively. The student achievement–related variables included in the initial analyses were parental involvement, discipline referrals, suspensions, and homework completion.

 

Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and multiple regression analyses were used to test the hypothesis that GPA is related to and predicted by these student achievement–related variables. The degree of parental involvement and homework completion were positively and significantly related to GPA. Suspensions were negatively and significantly related to GPA. Discipline referrals were not significantly related to GPA. The descriptive statistics and correlations for these variables are offered in Table 1.

 

 

Prior to additional analysis, basic assumptions of multiple regression analysis were tested and satisfied. Standardized residual plots and Q-Q plots were inspected; bivariate correlations also were examined. Next, a multiple regression analysis including parent involvement, suspensions, and homework completion as predictors was conducted with GPA as the criterion variable. Discipline referrals were not included in the regression analysis. A significant regression equation was found: F(3, 45) = 11.539, p < .001. The model with these three predictors explained a significant amount of the variance in GPA (R2 = .435). Significant contributions were made to the model by each of the three predictor variables: parent involvement (β = .284, p < .05), suspensions (β = -.369, p < .05), and homework completion (β = .273, p < .05).

 

Main Analyses

A multiple linear regression was used to test the hypothesis that authoritative parenting is predicted by parenting beliefs. Authoritative parenting served as the criterion variable. RB, IB, and GE were predictor variables. A combination of these predictor variables yielded a significant regression equation: F(3, 38) = 14.536, p < .000. The model explained a significant portion of variance (53%) in authoritative parenting (see Table 2). Additionally, RB (β = .38, p < .05) was positively and significantly related to authoritative parenting. IB (β = .46, p < .001) also was positively and significantly correlated with authoritative parenting. GE did not contribute significantly to the model (β = -.25 p > .05).

 

 

 

A simple linear regression was performed to test the hypothesis that authoritative parenting predicts student achievement. Based on prior research findings that suggest authoritative parenting is related to positive student achievement, authoritative parenting served as a predictor variable; the criterion variable was GPA. Output from the analysis revealed that authoritative parenting did not predict GPA for this sample of parents: F(1, 40) = .642, p > .05.

 

Finally, the hypothesis that parenting beliefs predict student achievement–related variables was tested using multiple linear regression modeling. IB, RB, and GE were predictor variables and parent involvement, suspension, and homework completion were criterion variables. A combination of these predictor variables yielded a non-significant regression equation when parental involvement was the criterion variable: F(3, 37) = 1.773, p = .169. Suspensions were not predicted by RB, IB, or GE: F(3, 37) = 1.232, p = .312. Finally, a combination of these predictor variables yielded a non-significant regression equation when homework completion was the criterion variable: F(3, 37) = 2.382, p = .085. Although this model did not explain variance in homework completion, IB was positively and significantly related to homework completion: t(39) = 2.34, p = .025; β = .357.

 

Discussion

 

The hypotheses put forth based on previous research and literature were supported and refuted in various instances based on the analyses of the data collected. In regard to the first hypothesis, all student achievement–related factors except discipline referrals were significantly related to GPA. This finding is consistent with research that explores the relationships of proximal student achievement–related factors and distal student achievement outcomes. Parental involvement in their child’s schooling, homework completion, and suspensions are predictors of GPA. Each of these variables contributed to the overall model for predicting student achievement. This finding demonstrates the value of parental involvement and homework completion in the success of students. Additionally, the negative impact of suspension on the academic achievement of students is highlighted. This outcome signals the importance of fostering safe and inviting schools and establishing policies that offer alternatives to suspension unless absolutely necessary.

 

The second hypothesis purported that authoritative parenting is significantly related to RB, IB, and GE. This hypothesis was supported; combined, RB, IB, and GE predicted authoritative parenting. Research findings suggest that authoritative parenting is related to student achievement, so it is counterintuitive that both RB and IB are positively related to authoritativeness. IB typically lead to dysfunction rather than positive outcomes such as student achievement (Terjesen & Kurasaki, 2009). However, according to Reitman et al. (2002) and others, authoritative parents are demanding, yet supportive of their children. The demandingness described in this parenting style may be a derivative of irrational thinking, as evidenced by the significant contribution of IB to the model. As suggested by Bernard (1990), parents who place rigid demands on their children may be less supportive; effective communication also may fluctuate. It is likely that an acceptable balance of demands, free of unrealistic, rigid expectations, coupled with support, is most effective when considering the role of authoritative parenting on student achievement. Excessive or unrealistic demands may lead to increases in student achievement, but at the expense of the parent–child relationship as well as mental health. In turn, these demands may serve as a barrier to home and school success (Terjesen & Kurasaki, 2009; Warren, 2017).

 

Closely tied to the second hypothesis, the third hypothesis suggested that authoritative parenting is significantly positively related to student achievement. Based on the data set analyzed, this hypothesis was not supported. This finding is inconsistent with previous research, which stated that the authoritative parenting style correlates to positive student achievement. In a meta-analysis conducted by Pinquart (2016), a small effect size was found in the relationship between authoritativeness and student achievement. It is possible that a significant relationship exists, yet was not found in this study because of a small sample size. Alternatively, authoritative parenting was not related to student achievement, a finding contrary to Pinquart (2016). Demographic variables such as race/ethnicity of participants (e.g., 40.8% American Indian) were not accounted for in this study and also may have implications for the findings.

 

The final hypothesis indicated that parenting beliefs are significantly related to student achievement–related variables; this hypothesis was partially supported. Although parenting beliefs were not predictive of parental involvement or suspensions, IB were significantly related to homework completion. Students who consistently complete their homework appear to have parents who maintain IB. Although homework completion is important and leads to academic achievement (Kalenkoski & Pabilonia, 2017), according to REBT, irrational thinking is unproductive and leads to unhealthy negative emotion and dysfunctional behaviors (Dryden, 2014). In some instances, it is possible that parents model unhelpful psychosocial processes (e.g., irrational thinking, anger, yelling) when facilitating the completion of their child’s homework. This may lead to rifts in the parent–child relationship and a general disdain for doing homework, especially that which is difficult or challenging. As such, it is important for parents to set realistic, high expectations for homework completion. These expectations should be based on the child’s strengths and weaknesses, clearly communicated, and consistently followed. Parents are encouraged to hold their children accountable without placing demands on themselves, their child, or the homework process in general (Warren, 2017).

 

Overall the data from this study presented interesting findings related to authoritative parenting style, beliefs, and student achievement. Certain factors such as homework completion and parental involvement were positively related to GPA; school suspension had a negative impact on GPA. Although these findings are not novel, consideration for the relationships between authoritativeness, parent beliefs, and student achievement in this investigation is noteworthy. Although homework completion was positively related to GPA, it also was correlated with IB. In combination, these findings provide an interesting perspective on the ways in which authoritativeness is related to parenting beliefs, which, in turn, appear to influence homework completion, a key determinant of positive distal student achievement outcomes. Although limitations exist, this study can help to facilitate the development of additional research and offers practical implications for school counselors.

 

Limitations

As suggested, there are several limitations of this study. When considering the generalizability of these results and potential implications for practice, readers should account for the method of data collection and the sample used in this study. First, data were gathered using self-report measures. Because of the nature of the questions asked on the survey, parents participating in this study may have provided socially desirable responses rather than indicating their actual parenting beliefs and behaviors. Additionally, the sample size was small, yet it was sufficiently sized to detect moderate effects. A convenience sample was used and likely is not representative of the general population. Students and faculty affiliated with a university listserv were contacted and asked to participate and disseminate the study information to their family and friends. A larger sample size would have increased the generalizability of these results and yielded greater power, including the ability to detect smaller effect sizes among the variables.

 

Future Research

Research investigating parenting styles, beliefs, and student achievement variables such as discipline referrals, suspension, and homework completion is sparse. This study offers a foundation for future empirical and action-based research in this area. Researchers initially are encouraged to replicate this study using a larger, more representative sample of parents with school-aged children. Replication may shed additional light on the strengths of the relationships of the variables explored in this study. Given the achievement gap, including the disproportionate suspension rates that exist in K–12 schools among students of color, it is especially important for researchers to explore the impact of parenting styles and beliefs on the achievement of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. The American Indian population, specifically, is largely absent in research that explores factors of K–12 student success, yet over 500,000 American Indian students are enrolled in schools across the nation (Snyder, de Brey, & Dillow, 2018). This lack of research is a barrier for school counselors and other educators who seek to better support and understand American Indian families and students. Research that explores these relationships within and across specific racial/ethnic groups, including African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian, can serve as a catalyst for school counselors to enhance service delivery and meet the needs of all students.

 

Researchers also are encouraged to explore the effects of targeted parenting interventions, such as rational emotive-social behavioral (RE-SB) consultation (Warren, 2017) on parenting and student achievement. School counselors can implement large group, small group, or individual RE-SB consultation with parents to address IB and promote student success (Warren, 2017). School counselors, in collaboration with researchers, can play a central role in the development, delivery, and evaluation of parenting interventions that aim to promote student success; these efforts also can further establish evidence-based practice in school counseling.

 

Implications for School Counselors

According to the ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012), school counselors play an integral role in supporting the academic, social-emotional, and career development of all students through work with various stakeholders, including students, teachers, and parents. The findings of this study offer insight into the connection between parenting and student success. Operating in the academic domain, school counselors can deliver direct and indirect services to support the success of all students. The recommendations provided below serve to guide school counselors in identifying and delivering targeted programming that yields positive student outcomes.

 

A broad strategy for promoting academic success involves the establishment of a comprehensive school counseling program that includes interventions that aim to increase homework completion, decrease suspension rates, and increase parental involvement. As the findings of this study suggest, these factors have a direct impact on student achievement. Therefore, school counselors should leverage their roles as leaders, advocates, and consultants to ensure students are adequately supported by parents and positioned by their teachers to meet the daily expectations of school.

 

As educational leaders, school counselors are encouraged to engage parents, teachers, administrators, and students in ongoing, critical discussion about the relationships between student achievement–related factors and GPA. Classroom guidance, staff development sessions, and parent workshops are viable opportunities to disseminate this information and engage stakeholders. School counselors can involve teachers and administrators in discussions surrounding classroom and school policies and procedures that impact homework completion, suspension, and parent involvement. Leveraging student and school data during these conversations are more likely to lead to classroom and school policy revisions that accommodate all students and their families. When school counselors collaborate with teachers and administrators, innovative strategies and support structures to promote homework completion and alternatives to suspension will emerge.

 

School counselors also can use the findings of this study to increase their awareness of the values and beliefs of parents. Used within the context of culture, these findings can offer school counselors additional insights that may be useful when working with parents. For instance, when working with American Indian families, school counselors should consider how customs and traditions impact the manner in which parents engage with their children (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008). By understanding the culture of students and families while considering parenting styles and beliefs, school counselors can partner with parents in intentional ways in an effort to promote student achievement. It is especially important to consider strategies to engage parents who may experience barriers to visiting school. School counselors can seek community resources and partnerships that can be leveraged to increase parental involvement. Using asset mapping as promoted by Griffin and Farris (2010), school counselors can help parents connect to school via the workplace, church, or community centers.

 

School counselors are encouraged to work closely with parents to establish programming that best supports parents’ efforts to help their children succeed. RE-SB consultation, as described by Warren (2017), is a viable service to educate parents about parenting styles and the impact of their thoughts on emotions and behaviors. For example, school counselors can hold a workshop for parents during a PTA event to promote rational thinking. “Rational reminders” disseminated via the school’s social media account also can be useful for parents not familiar with REBT who are attempting to set realistic expectations and provide optimal support to their children. Interventions such as these can increase parents’ self-awareness of the influence they have on their children and lead to positive student outcomes.

 

Finally, school counselors should explore strategies that foster social-emotional development for all students and especially those with little parental support. Establishing support systems among students can increase their academic success (Sedlacek, 2017). Mentoring programs that resemble or simulate the parent–child relationship and model rational thinking may yield academic success, given the findings of this study. School counselors also can develop programming that aligns with non-cognitive factors as promoted by Warren and Hale (2016). Students who have a positive self-concept, realistically appraise themselves, are involved in the community, take on leadership roles, have experience in a specific field, and have a support network are better positioned to succeed in school and in life (Sedlacek, 2017). These efforts may position students for school success by neutralizing or reducing the negative impact a lack of parental involvement has on achievement.

 

Conclusion

 

School counselors play a critical role in today’s schools. Serving as leaders, advocates, collaborators, and consultants with an aim of promoting student success, school counselors work with many stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and students and their parents. This study sheds light on the impact of suspension, homework completion, and parental involvement on student achievement. The relationships between parent beliefs and authoritativeness and student achievement also are explored. The authors hope the findings of this study foster awareness and lead school counselors to further consider the impact parents have on student achievement. An understanding of parenting style and beliefs and their impact on student achievement affords school counselors the opportunity to develop targeted programs that increase parent involvement, strengthen the school–parent partnership, and promote academic success.

 

 

Conflict of Interest and Funding Disclosure

The authors reported no conflict of interest

or funding contributions for the development

of this manuscript.

 

 

 

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Jeffrey M. Warren, NCC, is an associate professor and Chair of the Counseling Department at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Leslie A. Locklear is the FATE Director at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Nicholas A. Watson is a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Correspondence can be addressed to Jeffrey Warren, 1 University Drive, Pembroke, NC 28372, jeffrey.warren@uncp.edu.

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