Parental Involvement, Parenting Behaviors, and Children's Cognitive Development in Low-Income and Minority Families
Recently, programs have been created to help parents to interact more with their children’s school. Studies have been conducted to investigate the effect that these programs have on children and their families focusing on the cognitive and social outcomes (Chang, Singh, & Sung, 2009). However, there is a need for more studies that are similar to these. These studies are needed to help understand and assess the effect that programs have on parenting skills, as well as how parenting behaviors may change over time. The study conducted by Chang and associates investigated parental participation in the Head Start programs and the effects this program has on parent’s behaviors (2009). Also, the researchers explore the effects the program and parental behaviors have on their children’s cognitive and linguistic development.
The study focused on 17 different sites across the United States with diverse ethnical and familial backgrounds. From these sites, 1513 families were randomly assigned to the programs and 1488 families were randomly assigned to a control group. The control group families were unable to use the program. This study was a longitudinal experiment which was conducted within the field. The researchers used the program as the variable they were able to manipulate and conducted their research at the sites of the program. In this experiment, the researchers investigated three types parental programs, which include parenting classes, support groups, and group socialization, and the effects on parenting behavior scores as well as children’s cognitive development scores (Chang et al, 2009). Although this was an experiment, it also was a correlational study. The researchers examined the correlations among variables to determine the bivariate relations.
From this study, the researchers found that mothers were more active in parental programs when there was a male within the household or the children were part of a program. Also, parental supportiveness was shown to be significantly lower for Hispanic or African American families. Parental participation showed a strong correlation to parental supportiveness. In regards to the children’s linguistic and cognitive development, researchers found that there was a strong relationship between higher scores and parents who participated in parenting classes and group socializations. Furthermore, it was shown that there were positive effects of the parental support programs on increased levels of parental supportiveness and a decrease in parental intrusiveness over time (Chang et al, 2009).
Parental programs have been shown to benefit minority and low-income parents. However, this study had some strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include a reduction in selection bias from the use of randomized placement. This allowed variables like parent’s education level, family’s poverty level, and...