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Problems With Parent Involvement

by Erica Loop, studioD

According to the researchers at the Harvard Family Research Project, parental involvement is a major factor in a child's school success and academic achievement. While volunteering at your child's school, helping her with class work or coaching her sports team can have positive effects, some problems can develop with parental involvement.

School Obstacles

Not all of the problems with parental involvement stem from the parents themselves. Sometimes issues arise as a result of obstacles or school-related factors. For example, the Michigan Department of Education notes that school activities that often require the involvement of parents drop as the child moves through higher grade levels. While schools might provide plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the early years, as your child reaches the upper elementary and middle school time, those types of opportunities often dissipate.

Father Engagement

According to the National PTA, research on parental involvement shows that children have better scholastic outcomes when both parents get involved. Fathers, however, aren't as highly involved as mothers, according to the National PTA. This often stems from the school's or community's inability to see men as valuable when it comes to parental involvement. The exclusion of father's becomes a problem when trying to increase overall parental involvement and create the best possible circumstances for helping children to succeed.


Schools aren't the only places where parents can get involved. Parents often volunteer to coach their children's sports teams in communities or league athletics. While supportive parents can lead to positive outcomes when it comes to sports and physical fitness, overly involved or demanding parents can create a toxic atmosphere, according to youth athletic experts at the Educated Sports Parent website. Whether a parent coaches a team or is simply ever-present on the sidelines, having inappropriately high expectations (in comparison to the child's age and ability level) can take the fun out of the sport or create a stressful environment that is not conducive to learning and positive physical development.


Between work, carpools, errands, chores and all of the other demands of daily life, getting involved might seem impossible. One of the key problems when it comes to parent involvement in school, sports or community functions is time. The National Center for School Engagement notes that time is a contributing barrier to parental involvement. And, parent leaders who take on a substantial role are typically never paid for their services. This goes a step beyond finding the time to volunteer, and demonstrates the problems in expecting parents to devote their time to a school without any type of reimbursement

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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