Children Do Worse When Punished For Poor Grades, U-M Study Says

Boy, drawing a picture for fathers day

Study after study has been dedicated to figuring out what children need to succeed in education.

For example, a past study showed that kids who attend preschool are more likely to perform up to 21% better on subjects such as math and reading, as compared to children who do not attend preschool.

More recently on the educational study front, researchers at the University of Michigan are now saying that laying down the law with punitive action doesn’t exactly encourage your children to succeed.

Rather, the more harsh and punishing a parent’s reaction to poor grades is, the worse the child will do in school. The study reports that parenting tactics such as lecturing and the restriction of activities can lead to lower achievement within the next five years.

Instead, researchers encourage parents to react to their struggling children with warmth, and to make their home a space that is both welcoming and educationally stimulating.

According to the study, parents who fill their homes with educational toys and books and who regularly engage with their children foster an environment that statistically leads to higher levels of achievement.

So why doesn’t punishment work? The answer lies in the effect of punishment.

Punishment doesn’t give children any alternative tools or educational avenues to explore in order to seek improvement.

In contrast, addressing your child’s school troubles with understanding provides more avenues for growth and improvement, and helps children to feel as if their struggles are a part of a process, rather than simply an end result.

Sandra Tang and Davis Kean, the two authors behind the study, stress that parents should seek the source of the poor academic performance before taking action, namely, if it’s a behavioral issue or a learning issue.

Parents can also look to teachers, researchers say, in order to discern the root of their children’s academic struggles.

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