How Does Lack of Parenting at Home Affect Children's Grades in School?

Children with involved parents tend to have higher academic scores.
... Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images

While there is some debate about the significance of grades in education, these scores do serve a valuable purpose. Not only do they let students track their performance and progress, they also provide guidance and motivation for both kids and teachers. But what about parents? What role do they play in a child’s grades? You might be surprised to learn that parents have a substantial impact when it comes to their child’s academic scores. In fact, children of permissive or disengaged parents have been shown to be negatively affected in school, with a lack of parenting directly linked with poor grades and overall performance.

1 Parental Involvement in Academics

When it comes to academics, there are numerous ways for parents to be involved. Helping with homework, meeting with teachers and attending school events are just a few of them. However, when parents don’t take an active interest in these activities, their child’s grades are more likely to suffer. Homework, for instance, is a major area where parental involvement is important. Parents who regularly communicate with their children about their assignments can have a positive impact on their learning and grades, whereas children of uninvolved parents are less likely to complete homework, which can negatively impact scores. Uninvolved parents can also project negative feelings about school, which can have undesirable consequences on grades.

2 Home Learning Environment

The home learning environment is another critical aspect of a child’s school performance. A setting in the home that is conducive to learning can have a positive impact on grades, but parents who are disengaged are less likely to provide this. Children with inadequate home environments are often unable to do homework or other school projects, which can lead to poorer academic scores. This inadequate environment can be something as simple as not having a quiet place to concentrate, or a much greater parenting problem, such as abuse or neglect.

3 Communication

A child’s grades can also suffer when parents cannot or will not communicate with teachers, counselors or even their own child about academics. In a study done by students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, researchers discovered that family communication had a direct impact on student engagement. The children of parents who regularly spoke with teachers about their child’s academic work were more likely to be actively involved in their child's learning, which can translate to better performance and grades. The same is true for children whose parents regularly communicate with them about school. Kids with unresponsive parents have a more difficult time learning.

4 Accountability

Accountability is another component of parenting, and demanding academic responsibility of students can result in more active learning and better grades. However, disengaged parents often do not have these accountability demands, and their children’s grades can suffer as a result. When lack of parenting leads to little or no consequences for a negative action, like not doing homework, the person who suffers the most is the child.

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.