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Why it matters

The foundations for almost all aspects of human development – physical, intellectual and emotional – are laid in early childhood. Political leaders, social scientists and professional experts alike have all agreed that parenting has a powerful impact on this development. The effects of parenting range from academic performance and school attendance to health, social confidence, future career success and the ability to maintain stable relationships (Marmot Review, 2010; Scott et al 2006).

For example, differences in parental involvement with primary school aged children have a much more significant impact on children’s development than variations in the quality of schools. This scale of impact has been found to be evident across all social classes and ethnic groups (Desforges 2003).

Studies have also shown that the long term impact of high levels of primary school age parental involvement include: higher earnings; less crime and delinquency; greater literacy; higher achievement test scores; higher employment rates; lower teenage pregnancy; and better jobs (CANparent 2014).

Surveys have shown that children raised in poverty do less well than children raised in more favourable circumstances, on a range of measures of attainment and quality of life (Waldfogel 2004). Yet, if the emotional quality of a child’s upbringing is good,  there is strong evidence that children can succeed despite their socio-economic disadvantage (Scott et al 2006:1). The importance of parenting is so influential that the Social Mobility Commission recognises parenting as its first ‘key to unlocking social progress’ and ‘the most important factor in determining life chances’.

For a more detailed look at the evidence, take a peek at The Science behind It