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School performance affected by parental pressures

Encouraging your children to aim too high when it comes to getting good results at school actually causes them to fail at exams, according to a study


Researchers from the University of Reading have looked into how unrealistic parental expectations have a negative impact on performance.

Scientists analysed data from a five year study involving more than 3,000 11-to 16-year-olds and their parents.

Mums and dads were asked a range of questions assessing levels of aspiration, such as how much they wanted their child to get a certain grade and how much they believed their child could achieve it.

Lead researcher Kou Murayama, said: “Children of parents with higher hopes achieved statistically better test scores compared to those who aspired less.

“This is consistent with previous findings that high parental aspiration is good for children.

“However, when we examined the parents whose aspiration exceeded realistic expectation, children’s academic performance was damaged.

“This could be due to children experiencing anxiety, low confidence and frustration brought on by pressure from overbearing parents – but more research is needed.”

According to a survey released in February, one in ten parents admitted to being “pushy”.

The study of 2,000 mums and dads found nine per cent identified themselves with the term.

Many also said they plan their child’s activities with one eye on the future.

A separate piece of research also found that “pushy parent” behaviour is putting their child off taking part in sporting activities.

For many parents, perhaps it is knowing the difference between offering a gentle nudge in the right direction and dictating to their child exactly what they need to be doing.

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