The study, which asked children ranging from 12 to 15 years old how interested they thought their parents were in their education, was aimed at finding ways to change educational outcomes.
‘You can’t change genetics or your parents’ prior schooling level but you can change parent engagement,’ co-author Dr Jenny Povey said.
‘There is a lot of discussion about what we can do to lift education outcomes for disadvantaged students.’
The study found that fathers immerse themselves in their children’s lives contibute to a child’s learning.
These children tended to have fewer behavioural problems, lower criminality and substance abuse, better friendships with children, higher self-esteem and a greater capacity for empathy.
‘We are starting to see that with more schools using sending photos to parents of things that were done during the day so they have a conversation point to discuss with the child,’ Dr Povey explained
The study included fathers that didn’t live with their children as well as adoptive dads and step fathers.
However, the study didn’t test whether the father was engaged, just what the child thought about their father’s involvement.
Co-author Alice Campbell clarified that being involved and engaged with your child’s education does not have to mean volunteering for the P&C.
She said it can be as simple as asking your children about their day at school and making sure you’re checking in with their teachers.
‘At the end of the day it’s what the child feels that had the impact,’ she said.
A separate study by the Father Involvement Research Alliance shows that kids with more involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure.
They are predicted to be confident in new situations, eager to explore their surroundings and as they grow they are more sociable.
Children of involved fathers are also more likely to achieve higher levels of education, find success in their careers, have higher levels of self-acceptance and have a better state of mind