Parental Involvement: How Much is Too Much?

By Katie Ash — April 03, 2008 1 min read
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Education Week‘s Bess Keller has written a really interesting story about parental involvement. As we’ve talked about many, many times before, having parents involved in their childrens’ schools can greatly boost motivation levels and keep them on track. However, in some cases, overly demanding parents can become more of a nuisance than a help. Bess’ story explains why this is becoming more and more common.

Parents are approaching schools with much more of a contract mentality," said [Bill Simmer, a parent-relations consultant for Independent School Management]. "Expecting results [from schools, for instance] has come well within the realm of parenting." The shift may be more pronounced in parents who are paying tuition, but is present in the public sector, too, he said, especially when parents go to such lengths as moving to get their child in a certain school or district. Mr. Simmer said the trick for educators is to make sure the "contract" that the parents envision has two sides: not only what the parents can expect of the school, but also what the school can expect of the parents.

Still, educators and administrators agree--having too much parental involvement is way better than having none at all. And it’s hard to fault parents who want to be included in their child’s education, especially if their child needs special attention that they may not be receiving from the school system, as one commenter notes. Like most things, I’m sure a healthy balance would be most effective for parents, teachers, and students.

Is this a problem you’ve encountered in your school? As a teacher, have you ever encountered an overly demanding parent? Or as a parent, have you discovered a breakdown of communication between the teacher and yourself?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.