Giving preschoolers choices and encouraging them to take on responsibilities at home can help them academically and socially during their school years, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Personality.
This style of parenting, which the researchers labeled “autonomy supportive,” led to higher achievement in reading and math in 3rd grade and in the students’ abilities to adjust socially. The findings were based on interviews with mothers when their children were 5 years old. Three years later, the researchers reviewed the children’s reading and mathematics test scores as well as reports from teachers.
The results were found to be consistent regardless of the children’s socioeconomic status, their gender, or their IQ, according to the researchers, Mireille Joussemet, an assistant professor of child clinical psychology at the University of Montreal, and Richard Koestner, a professor of psychology at McGill University, also in Montreal.