Parents’ Attitude and Beliefs and their Impact on Child Development

1.1 Introduction:

Generally, schools are considered as places which provide an appropriate learning environment for a child, but the importance of parents and community cannot be ignored. Parent’s attitude towards the adult and siblings in the family contribute significantly to various components of the personality of the child particularly in improving his/her academic performance. The pivotal role of parents attitude still continues as it has been recognized by the teachers and parents who are essential for the complete development of the personality and career of their children. Gonzalez Pienda, et al. (2002) indicated that “Without parents support, it is hard for teachers to devise academic experiences in helping students learn meaningful content”. In home settings, the learning processes occur explicitly or consciously often in an informal way. Parents teach and train children early in their entire lives, the fundamental skills, attitudes and values necessary for day-to-day living (UNESCO, 1992). The unwritten knowledge being conveyed by parents to their children is specific and to a certain degree specialized that is it would enable the children to cope up successfully with the requirements of the immediate confines of homes and the community.

Understanding the impact of learning orientations parents provide an opportunity to create a more successful learning orientation for their children. Education has a very wide connotation as it concerns every individual in society. The process of learning is the vehicle by which the individual is changed from a bundle of potentialities to an active organism with ideas, habits, skills, preferences and other distinguishing personality characters. This present investigation aims to understand and examine the role of parents towards learning orientation in terms of the academic activities of students which will lead to a better understanding of the educational practices and dynamics.

In the history of mankind, education has formed a continuum and a basis for the development of better human society. Through the development of attitudes, values, and capabilities, both of knowledge and skill, education provides resilience to students to respond change of situations and enables them to contribute to social development. Learning is the heart of the educational process. Learner’s situation really falls along the continuum of learning orientation. They provide a perspective to the understanding of higher-order psychological domain to differentiate students’ capacity to learn. Learning orientation is a complex, multidimensional concept influenced by various socio-cultural, personal and other antecedent factors. Many endogenous, as well as exogenous variables, have their impact on the learning orientations of individuals.

The attitude of parents is inevitable for the betterment of student’s life and their academic. One of the educational settings and parents positive attitudes towards a child’s education is important in determining school attendance and academic achievement of the child. Parents’ favorable attitude towards schooling and education enhances parents’ involvement in children’s present and future studies. Parents’ attitude towards their children’s education is affected adversely by low Socio-Economic Status (SES) of the family. At present, it is noted that the attitude of parents of Higher Secondary level students is unfavorable towards education which will affect the education of their children. Parents’ attitude is a measure or an index of parents’ involvement. A child, brought up with affection and care in the least restrictive environment, would be able to cope up better with the sighted world. Therefore, the family shapes the social integration of the child more than a formal school. Turnbull (1983) has identified four basic parents’ roles- parents’ as educational decision-makers; parents’ as parents’; parents’ as teachers and parents’ as advocates. Since the parent’s attitude is so important, it is essential that the home and school work closely together, especially for children with disabilities.

Parents and Home remain the first teacher and first school respectively for every student. Teachers can also help to create a positive environment for learning orientation of the students. Children’s learning is the most natural and innate of human skills; human is born to learn better than any other species. Learning is generally understood as the process through which individual acquires knowledge, skills, and values in a range of formal and informal settings, throughout life. As far as the Indian education system is a concern more focus has been given to marks scored by children to fulfill the preference of their future career.

To enhance the learning orientation of the students. parents’ attitude plays a vital role. Parents’ become stressed and anxious at the time of the exams being appeared by the students. The investigator made an attempt to find out how far the parents’ attitude plays a vital in the learning orientation of the students at the higher secondary level. The present study may enable the parents to have a positive attitude in various dimensions i.e anxiety, support and pressure whereas it also reveals how far learning orientation of the students are developed with respect to career orientation, exam orientation, and interest orientation. The study tries to analyze the parents’ attitude towards the learning orientation of students at higher secondary level in Sivagangai district.

Three major orientations have been examined in the present study viz., Examination Orientation, Career Orientation and Interest Orientation. Thus, this present investigation discusses the relevance of both the educational and sociological points of view. It will fill the gap by clarifying why and how Parents attitude is important in understanding the learning orientation of higher secondary students.

The investigator tried to analyze parents’ attitude and learning orientation of the students with different dimensions mentioned in the diagram given below.

Parents' attitude and learning orientation

The different dimensions of parents’ attitudes and learning orientation of the Students are to be elucidated in detail in forthcoming pages

1.2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK:

1.2.1 ATTITUDE:

1.2.1.1 Meaning: Attitude is an expression of an individual or group towards an object, an act of behavior, a system of norms, etc., based on the experience learned or communicated. Since attitude is not a trait, it is subject to change depending upon the environment, situation, interaction, and perception of the object.

An attitude is a positive, negative, or mixed evaluation of an object that is expressed at some level of intensity. Our attitude can vary in strength along with both positive effects and with a negative effect, with ambivalence or with apathy and indifference. It usually implies feelings that are either positive or negative. Social psychologists use the term attitude differently. Gordon Allport formulated the following definition: “An attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to unrelated objects and situations with which it is related.

An attitude is a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual’s choice of action and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli). Four major components of attitude are (1) Affective: emotions or feelings. (2) Cognitive: belief or opinions held consciously. (3) Conative: inclination for action. (4) Evaluative: positive or negative response to stimuli.

1.2.1.2 Definition:

Many psychologists have given different definitions of attitudes. It is defined as feeling or thinking to do something. According to Schneider (1988), ‘Attitudes are evaluative reactions to persons, objects, and events. This includes your beliefs and positive and negative feelings about the attitude object.’ (179). He also added that attitude can guide our experiences and decide the effects of experience on our behaviors.

1.2.1.3 Nature of Attitudes:

• Attitudes are a complex combination of things we tend to call personality, beliefs, values, behaviours, and motivations.
• Attitude exists in every person’s mind. It helps to define our identity, guide our actions and influence how we judge people.
• Although the feeling and belief components of attitude are internal to a person, we can view a person’s attitude from his or her resulting behaviour.
• Attitude helps us to define how we see situations, as well as define how we behave towards the situation or object.
• Attitude provides us with internal cognitions or beliefs and thoughts about people and objects.
• Attitude causes us to behave in a particular way towards an object or person.

1.2.1.4 Characteristics of Attitude:

Attitude can be characterized by:

a. Affective Cognitive consistency: The degree of consistency between the affective and cognitive components influences the attitude behavior relationship. That is greater consistency between cognition and evaluation and greater strength of attitude-behavior relation.

b. Strength: Attitudes based on direct experience with the object, maybe held with greater certainty. Certainty is also influenced by whether affective or cognition was involved in the creation of the attitude. Attitudes formed based on affective are more certain than attitudes based on cognition.

c. Valence: It refers to the degree or grade of likeliness or unlikeliness towards the entity/incident. If a person is fairly unconcerned towards an object his attitude will be of low valence.

d. Direct Experience: An attitude is a summary of a person’s past experience; thus, an attitude is grounded in direct experience predicts future behavior more accurately. Moreover, direct experience makes more information available about the object itself.

e. Multiplicity: It refers to the number of features creating the attitude. For example, one may show interest in becoming a doctor, but another not only shows interest, but also works hard, is sincere, and serious.

f. Relation to Needs: Attitudes vary in relative to requirements they serve. Attitudes of an individual towards the pictures serve only entertainment needs, but attitudes of an employee towards task may serve strong needs for security, achievement, recognition, and satisfaction.

1.2.1.5 Formation of Attitudes:

Attitudes are learned or acquired dispositions. How are they formed has been a question for the investigation to the psychologists? Based on the opinion of Allport, Stagner has suggested that attitudes are formed under one of the following four conditions:-

The Integration of experiences The accumulation and integration of a number of related experiences about an object give birth to an attitude towards that object. Attitude of Hindus towards Muslims or Vice Versa has been formed in this way.

The Differentiation of Experiences When the new experiences are acquired, they are differentiated or segregated from the already acquired experiences. This segregation or differentiation may tend to make certain attitudes more specific.

Trauma or dramatic experience Attitudes are formed with the greater speed and intensity on account of the suddenly unusual, shocking and painful experiences. A shopkeeper whose shop has been burnt by the striking students may develop an intensively negative attitude towards all students.

The adoption of the available attitudes A large number of attitudes are acquired in a readymade fashion by simply following suggestions or examples of friends, teachers, parents or adopting the norms and traditions of the community or society. Negative attitude of the children of TamilNadu towards Hindi has been formed through the process of adoption, rather than as a result of firsthand experience

1.3 PARENTS’ ATTITUDE:

Parents’ attitudes like support, pressure, and anxiety have a great impact on decisions that have implications for the future, such as choice of career and parents’ pressure concerning career. There are obvious forms of pressure like parents’ holding financial strings over a child’s head while expecting them to follow a specific career path and there are mere subtle forms of pressure as well as discouraging a child from taking a certain career direction instead of listening to what they want.

Parent’s role and attitude are pivotal especially in the choice of subject and parents potentially influence student’s activity, choices and occupational identities and other extracurricular activities.

1.3.1 Meaning: In the development of a child’s personality the influence of Parents attitudes is a meaningful factor. Parents’ attitude here means thinking and feeling of their children’s future career. Parents’ attitudes constitute the main social influence that the child experiences during his earliest years.

The attitude of the parents signifies the supporting nature of family in their children’s education. The parental attitude can be negative or positive. The negative attitude of the parents regarding education and schooling can prevent their children from getting an education. With less parental support in schoolwork, low level of motivation and poor self-esteem of children can result in the positive attitude of the parents can be beneficial to their children in many cases and can be reflected in an improvement in class performance, creating interest among children to learn, and higher achievement scores in reading and writing

1.3.2 Definition:

Parental is the word used to describe something that relates to parents in general, or to one or both of the parents of a particular child. Medical treatment was sometimes given to children without parental consent. Parental attitudes vary widely.

Parental attitude is a measure or an index of parental involvement. A child, brought up with affection and care in the least restrictive environment would be able to cope up better with the sighted world. Therefore, the family shapes the social integration of the child more than a formal school. Turnbull (1983) has identified four basic parental roles- parents as educational decision-makers; parents as parents; parents as teachers and parents as advocates. Since the parent’s attitude is so important, it is essential that the home and school work closely together, especially for children with disabilities.

1.3.3 Parents’ Attitudes and Beliefs:

Their Impact on Children’s Development One answer is that they are modeling the behavior of their own parents, having learned how to parent in the course of being parented. Another is that they are behaving in accord with information about appropriate parenting acquired through books, Web sites, or informal and formal advice. Yet another major determinant of their behavior lies in their general attitudes as well as specific beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that are activated during parenting: These have a powerful impact on behavior, even if parents are distressed by or unaware of that impact. Researchers interested in children’s development have explored parenting attitudes, cognitions, and the resulting emotions (such as anger or happiness), because of their influence on parenting behavior and on the subsequent impact of that parenting behavior on children’s social-emotional and cognitive development.

Child-rearing attitudes are cognitions that predispose an individual to act either positively or negatively towards a child. Attitudes most frequently considered involve the degree of warmth and acceptance or coldness and rejection that exists in the parent-child relationship, as well as the extent to which parents are permissive or restrictive in the limits they set for their offspring. Researchers have also studied more situation-specific thoughts or schemas — filters through which parents interpret and react to events„ particularly ambiguous ones. These include cognitions such as beliefs about parenting abilities; expectations about what children are capable of or should be expected to do, and reasons why children have behaved in a particular way.

The influence of attitudes on parenting behavior has been a favorite topic of investigation, with research suggesting that linkages are generally of a modest nature. In part, this is because reported attitudes do not always have a direct impact on parenting actions which are often directed by specific features of the situation. For example, parents might endorse or value being warm and responsive to children but have difficulty expressing those feelings when their child is misbehaving. As a result of this realization, the study of parent cognitions has been widened to include more specific ways of thinking.

The study of parent attitudes, belief systems, and thinking has taken place along with changing conceptions of child-rearing. These changes have emphasized the bidirectional nature of interactions, with children influencing parents as well as parents influencing children. Accordingly, an interesting extension of research on attitudes and cognition has to do with how children’s actions affect parents’ attitudes and thoughts.

The study of parent cognitions, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings can expand our knowledge of child development. Child-rearing cognitions influence parents to act either positively or negatively towards their children. These beliefs have been considered good predictors of parenting behavior because they indicate the emotional climate in which children and parents operate and the health of the relationship. In sum, parents observe their children through a filter of conscious and unconscious thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, and these filters direct the way they perceive their children’s actions. When the thoughts are benign, they direct positive actions. When the thoughts are accurate they will usually lead to positive actions. When they are distorted and distressing, however, they distract parents from the task at hand as well as leading to negative emotions and attributions that ultimately impair effective parenting.

1.4 DIMENSIONS OF PARENTS’ ATTITUDE:

To observe the perception of Parents’ attitude from concerned parents, three dimensions of attitude towards their child were identified for this investigation. They are as follows:

1.4.1 Support:

Parents support for learning during the Higher Secondary Level can have positive educational outcome when parents encourage, supervise, and motivate their child within a stable home environment. Parents support becomes more indirect as their child takes greater responsibility over their learning, and many parents feel less capable of assisting with their child’s homework as the curriculum becomes more advanced, Parents’ support and efficacy to participate in their child’s education can improve. At this juncture, Parents’ support is the backbone of student’s educational outcome.

Parents’ support for learning during the Higher Secondary Level can have positive educational outcomes when parents encourage, supervise, and motivate their child within a stable home environment. Parents’ support becomes more indirect as their child takes greater responsibility for their learning and many parents feel less capable of assisting with their child’s homework as the curriculum becomes more advanced. By providing workshops and training to parents, such as initiatives like the Community Education Support Project, Parents support and efficacy to participate in their child’s education can improve.

Parenting Support is defined as ‘any activity or facility aimed at providing information, advice, and support to the parent to help them in bringing up their children’ (Parenting Support Guidance for Local Authorities in England October 2006).

Effective parenting can be defined as:

• Giving love, warmth, consistency, advocacy, provision of moral guidance.

• Keeping children safe and healthy.

• Ensuring children learn, achieve and enjoy childhood.

• Ensuring children positively contribute to society and their local community.

• Ensuring families are economically stable.

Parents’ support can range from simple advice or information to much more structure and intensive interventions. It might include classes, workshops which give general advice and guidance to parents, as well as manual based intensive programmes.

Parenting programmes are manual-based, structured, focused and short-term. They are aimed at enhancing the quality of the parent-child relationship by improving family functioning, parent mental health, and the emotional and behavioral adjustment of children. The approach is one of the empowerment, building on existing strengths, and partnership. Programmes are usually delivered in groups and the power of peer experiences and group learning is key. Workers trained in delivering parenting programmes often use the tools to work with individuals.

Parents’ power values:

• Parents will be treated with respect.

• The needs of children and young people come first.

• Positive action to support parenting is good protection.

• Good parenting starts before birth and continues throughout the life of the child.

• All parents are valued and can make a positive contribution to their community.

• All parents can develop the confidence and capability to love, protect and care for their family members.

• Seeking help with parenting when strength is needed

• Parenting support recognizes and builds upon parents’ existing strengths.

• All parents should know how and where to get help when they need it and feel supported.

• All parents are entitled to high-quality information and support to help them with parenting and it is at a level appropriate for their needs.

• Parents are able and encouraged to contribute to the development of services for children and young people.

• Parent support services cover a wide range of need, from the provision of simple advice and information to more complex support arrangements.

• Specific parent support is available for teenage parents, men who care for children, parents of children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, parents with drug and alcohol problems, mental health needs, those who are victims of domestic violence and members of black and minority ethnic communities.

1.4.1.2 Classification of Parents supports:

Where there is healthy support of parents, there will be an excellent learning orientation of the children. Supports from home may enable the children to fulfill their preference of future career so as to achieve their goals. The parent’s support may be classified into different styles such as rescuing style, prescriptive style, nonnative style, task obsessive style, problem-solving style, sulking style, resilient style, and innovative style. Rescuing Style: Such a style develops a dependency relationship in which the parent perceives his main role as that of rescuing his child, which doesn’t help people to become independent and act by themselves.

Supportive Style: In this style, support is provided when needed. They encourage their children, cheer them and provide the necessary conditions for their continuous improvement.

Prescriptive Style: People with this style are critical of other’s behavior, develop rules and regulations and impose them on others. Parents give more advice and prescribe solutions to their children rather than helping the child to work out an alternative solution for the problem.

Normative Style: In this style, parents are interested in developing proper norms of behavior of their children and helping them to understand how some norms are more important than others.

Task Obsessive Style: Parents in this style are more concerned with the task. Matters not directly related to the task are ignored. They are not concerned with feelings and are insensitive to the emotional needs of the children.

Problem-Solving Style: In this style, parents are concerned with solving problems. The focus of the parents is on dealing with and finding out solutions to problems. In this process, they take help of and involve their children.

Sulking Style: A parent with this style keeps the negative feeling to himself, finds it difficult to see them and avoids meeting children and other family members if he has not been able to fulfill his part of the contract, instead of confronting the problems.

Resilient Style: In this style a person shows creative adaptability, learning from others, accepting others ideas, which appeal to him, and changes his approach when such a change is needed.

Bohemian Style: In this style the creative child is active. A parent has lots of ideas and he is impatient with the current practices. They are less concerned about the working of the new ideas and are mainly concerned with the ideas themselves. Such people are non-conformists and enjoy experimenting with new approaches mainly for fun.

Innovative Style: Parents are enthusiastic about new approaches and take others along with them. However, they pay enough attention to nurturing an idea so that it results in concrete action and gets internalized in a system; such people are an innovator.

Aggressive Style: People with this style are fighters. Parents with this style show their aggression towards others. They may fight for their children on their ideas and suggestions.

Confronting Style: Parents are with this style are more concerned about confronting problems rather than confronting persons for the sake of confrontation. Such people are frank and open but are equally perceptive and sensitive. They respect others feeling.

1.4.2 Pressure:

With the increase in the level of education and the growth of Higher Secondary Level students, the expectations of parents’ from their children have seen a manifold increase. There is also a tendency to achieve through their children what they could not achieve in their lives. Majority of the parents’ believe that excellence in education is the only way for success in life. The emphasis on a few disciplines of study, viz., engineering or medicine which still persists in our society makes the parents push their child towards these disciplines. Hence, without understanding the interest of the child or his/her capabilities, parents push the children into fields of study that the child is ill-equipped to excel in thereby sowing the seeds of non-performance. Research has found that children growing up under strong parents pressures suffer from self-esteem and confidence issues. The child might become withdrawn and sullen, which could lead to lack of satisfaction as an adult. Too much pressure from parents also makes the child become doubtful about his/her intelligence and abilities. This hinders their learning and growth to become a Wholesome Human Being.

The variable, Parents’ pressure is multidimensional because it is possible that there exists some amount of variation in the strategy adopted by the parents’ in pressurizing the children. Hence the term is conceptualized as involving:

(1) Parents expectation for children’s studies;

(2) Parents’ anxiety over children’s studies;

(3) Parents’ attitude towards children’s studies;

(4) Parents’ control over children’s studies; and

(5) Parents’ control over children’s extra-curricular activities and

(6). Parents are with exam phobia towards an examination of their children.

Thus, parents pressurize by keeping unrealistic expectations, by being overanxious, by giving attitudes favoring control over their children’s studies, by fixing rigid schedules of work, by showing directive, controlling, perfectionist and critical behavior without positive appraisals and by controlling the extra-curricular activities including the leisure-time activities.

Pressure is behavior exhibited by parents that are perceived by their children as indicating high, unlikely or possibly even unattainable expectations. All over the world appreciate the parent-child relationship as the most important relationship. It is a bond that instills love, care, and an eternal sense of belongingness has been shown to their children. We have always wanted to be perfect parents and we expect our children to grow up in a perfect manner. In the process of defining what that ‘perfect’ can be, we end up comparing ourselves to others around and get disappointed when the results don’t match our expectations As supportive as parents are, there are very many expectations that they tend to keep from their children, which in turn causes them to pressure their children to study, learn, and function a certain way that is in accordance with what or who they want their child to be. Parents’ aspirations are what lead to parents expecting their children to conduct themselves in ways that would complement and promote their parent’s dreams, sometimes at the cost of their own goals and ambitions.

Some factors that can lead to unwanted stress and anxieties in both the parent and the child are,

• Being pushy

• compelling the child to live up to the demands of the society today

• Having unrealistic expectations from children

• Taking a child’s performance as a measure of our capability as parents

Some steps that can iron out the kinks formed by the pressure of being perfect parents and aid in children growing in a healthy manner in all following aspects are,

• Encouragement

• Healthy interactions

• Positive Communication

• Understanding each parent-child relationship as unique and different

1.4.2.1 Reasons for Parent Pressure:

The reasons attributed to this problem are Parent pressure on performance, Exam stress and inability to cope with disappointments.

Exam Stress: The situation in the schools is not very different with undue importance given to scholastic achievements. With a skewed Teacher-Student ratio, the teachers neither have the time nor the inclination to treat each child as a unique human being and facilitate the child’s growth and development. The schools desire to show itself as a high performing institution pushes them to have methods and processes that add to the child’s stress throughout the academic year. The entire focus is on performance in the exams. Added to this, there are various tutorials preparing the children for numerous competitive exams. Feeling sick when it is exam time is an indication that the child is stressed out, not about the marks/grade that they will receive, but more about how their parents will react to their performance in the exams. Whenever the exam starts, both parents and their children become stressed and anxious. This stress leads to inadequate sleep affecting the mood, learning comprehension and attitude. Additionally, the child might feel pressured to cheat.

Inability to cope with disappointments: In our society, failure is not considered as a learning process. It is seen as the child’s inability. This creates an irrational belief that failure means being unsuccessful in life. It is also a yardstick to measure a child’s capabilities. The very little scope is provided for the child to experiment and take risks in areas that the child might be interested in. Parents in India are found seeking their child to excel in all areas. They prepare a tight schedule for the child – school tuitions after school – music classes, cricket/swimming coaching – etc. Posting these activities the child needs to complete the day’s homework, in addition, to study for tests, if any. A child, even if feels pressurized with the overload, is very unlikely to voice it for the fear of disapproval from the parents. Children nowadays are brought up in such a sheltered and restricted environment that they are unable to adapt and adjust to a new environment – change in school, hostel or college campus. The final result is a stressful situation and when they find they are unable to cope up, they look for a means to escape. All these results in the child do not develop a facilitative process to deal with failures and disappointments. This is compounded by this generations need for instant gratification. The parents who can play a supportive role are themselves not equipped to handle such situations. Parents must understand that the age group from 7 to 18 years has low levels of tolerance and get frustrated easily

1.4.2.2 Parents Pressure on Students:

Nations all over the world appreciates the Indian parent-child relationship. It is a bond that instills love, care, and an eternal sense of belongingness. As supportive as Indian parents are, there are very many expectations that they tend to keep from their children, which in turn causes them to pressure their children to study, learn, and function a certain way that is in accordance with what or who they want their child to be. Parents aspirations are what lead to parents expecting their children to conduct themselves in ways that would complement and promote their parent’s dreams, sometimes at the cost of their own goals and ambitions.

There may be lots of reasons for why parents expect so much from their children Parents don’t understand about the negative effects of parent pressure on students. Parents’ pressure can harm a child’s creativity and self-esteem. We do understand that parents want their children to do well and grow up as a good and successful human being but at the same time they forget about the pressure they put on children for achieving it. Sometimes parents also put lots of pressure on children to achieving some dreams that they were not able to achieve for themselves. The effects of Parents pressure on students can lead to depression as well. Parents must try to encourage students rather than pressurizing them to win. They should teach their kid that participation is more important than winning in any competition. Parents’ expectation can put extra pressure on students and affect their academics as well. Parents need to understand that their definition of success might be different from their child’s definition of success. The parent must allow the child to follow his dreams and do as per his creativity. Pressurizing students kill their creativity. Parents should understand that the effects of Parents pressure can be very negative for their child’s future. There is no doubt that we understand that parents do everything for their child’s good future but at the same time they must put their child’s happiness in the first place.

1.4.2.3 Effects of Parents pressure and academic excellence:

Some parents are at their children’s back daily pushing them to excel academically. Parent pressure is to pursue the academic success of both positive and negative effects on their children.

Some children need parent pressure to study. They have not realized the value of academic achievements. This is especially true for children who are late bloomers. They prefer to indulge in their favorite sports, television programmes and other interests. They have the capability to do well in their studies but they need their parents to push them. Studies have shown that when parents have high expectations of their children’s academic capability, they tend to study hard to fulfill those expectations. In such cases, parent pressure on children to pursue academic success brings good returns.

Nevertheless, when parents are too concern about academic achievements, it puts their children under intense pressure. They live with the fear of not performing up to mark. They feel guilty for not studying harder. They do not want to disappoint their parents. So the motivation to study is extrinsic and does not come from within. It is important that children study for themselves so that it would be a meaningful and enjoyable activity.

Parent pressure on children to pursue academic success may produce children with imbalanced personal development. The children grow up to be intellectual giants but dwarf socially, emotionally and physically. They spend their working hours in only studying. They are not well-informed about happenings in the world. They do not have time for fun and hobbies. As a result, they find it difficult to mix with friends. The lack of interaction also results in poor social skills. The end result is that children who have been pushed to succeed academically live in a world of his own.

In short, parent pressure on children to excel academically is helpful in motivating them to study hard. Too much of it produces children who are either too academically-oriented or those who opt out of the race for academic success. Too much of a good thing is bad. The same goes for parent pressure on children to achieve in their studies.

1.4.3. Anxiety:

Parents’ behavior, most notably over control, lack of warmth and expressed anxiety, has been implicated in models of the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders in higher secondary level students. Theories of normative development have proposed that different parents’ responses are required to support emotional development in adolescence, yet age has not typically been taken into account in studies of parenting and anxiety disorders. Effective parents’ are skilled at providing home environments that nurture maturity in their children. They set appropriate examples, provide age-appropriate standards and hold their children accountable to those standards. This involves setting limits and abiding by these limits, ideally in a non-punitive way. As children learn to interact with their parents’ in age-appropriate ways they typically carry these behavioral skills over to their interactions with their siblings and peers. Moreover, emotional maturity is a surprisingly important ingredient when it comes to the development of patience and the ability to deliberately delay gratification in the pursuit of long term goals.

It’s natural for parents to worry, but so many parents have cornered the market on anxiety often unrealistically. The problem of parents’ anxiety is so widespread that it has changed the landscape of raising children. A movement has sprung up called “free-range parenting” to combat the trend.

1.4.3.1 Effects of Parents’ Anxiety among Children:

The terms ‘bubble-wrap parents’ and ‘helicopter parenting’ are being used more and more in our society. The media appears to be constantly reporting crimes, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and health epidemics, which can create the illusion that the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place. This, along with a general increase in the prevalence of anxiety disorders, may be contributing to a generation of increasing Parents’ anxiety. The following are some common behaviors of anxious parents, along with the potential effects they may have.

a. Overprotection: Parents’ overprotection involves shielding children from harsh realities. For parents of younger children, this may involve a parent following their child around to prevent them from hurting themselves, intervening immediately if another child is being unreasonable to their child, carrying their child around to keep them closer and protected, and generally preventing their child from engaging in any form of risk-taking. For parents of older children, overprotection can involve anything that prevents the child from taking responsibility for consequences. This may be complaining to the school if their child is reprimanded for misbehavior, checking over and rewriting an essay before it is submitted in order to prevent the child from experiencing failure, or shielding their child from being privy to upsetting information (e.g. family illnesses, job loss) to protect them from experiencing upsetting emotions.

Parents’ overprotection is usually the result of genuine love and concern; however, it prevents children from developing resilience and the ability to take responsibility for their own mistakes. This can impact in many life domains, such as at work, universally and socially. If children do not become used to deal with a variety of positive and negative emotions, upon adulthood, they may find it more difficult to continue functioning when things inevitably don’t go their way.

b. Over control: Parents’ over control involves preventing children from taking charge of an area where they need to develop autonomy and independence. This parenting approach tends to become more obvious with older children and adolescents, as these are stages at which children tend to begin developing independence and testing boundaries.

Over control of a child can involve their parent making decisions about how they should spend time and energy, such as choosing what elective or year 12 subjects a student should do, what sports they should play or what university course they should undertake. It also involves taking over activities that are the child’s responsibility, such as doing their homework and assignments for them. Finally, it can involve setting restrictive boundaries and preventing the child from moving beyond them, such as severely limiting friendship options, social outlets, and curfews, and engaging in checking behaviors, such as calling or texting several times during an event to ensure the child is not overstepping boundaries, or accompanying an older child to a social event when it is not necessary for a parent to do so.

The problem with parents’ over control is that, aside from preventing children from developing independence. It also prevents them from experiencing the most powerful learning experiences of all mistakes. We have all had experiences of being given advice, ignoring it, and having a resultant unpleasant experience. This negative outcome usually helped us to understand why we were given the original advice and encouraged us to follow it in the future. It is these experiences that truly help children to become wiser and more sensible human beings over time.

c. Modelling Anxious Behaviour: A less overt problem that children of anxious parents may encounter is being constantly exposed to their parents’ anxiety. Parents’ anxiety usually involves excessive worrying about the potential for things to go wrong. Anxious parents may verbalise their worries to their children, who may then take on these fears and concerns as their own. Some people also often appear anxious in the way they act in certain situations, such as being ‘highly strung’, ‘jumpy’, jittery, fidgety or avoidant (e.g. avoiding eye contact, avoiding phone calls, avoiding other situations they find difficult). Children can learn that certain situations lead their parents to be anxious, which may lead them to feel similarly threatened by those situations and to cope in a similarly avoidant manner.

As a parent, seeking treatment for their own anxiety difficulties may be a useful first step to reduce the likelihood of your anxiety being internalized by their child. Additionally, being more aware of the ways, parents may be conveying anxiety to your child can be helpful so that they can attempt to minimize the child’s exposure to anxiety reactions.

d. Parents anxiety and children: When parents suffer emotional problems, those problems can affect their children. Children who have a parent suffering from an anxiety disorder are also likely to exhibit anxiety. In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center have found that family counseling has the ability to prevent anxiety disorders in the children of parents with anxiety disorders.

In a small-scale study to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, researchers found that psychological damage from childhood anxiety could be minimized or prevented when families participated in as few as eight weekly family sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Over the course of a year, family counseling sessions used cognitive-behavioral techniques to help parents modify behaviors that contributed to their children’s anxiety, including overprotection, excessive criticism and excessive expression of fear and anxiety in front of their children. Children were also taught for coping and problem-solving skills. “If psychiatrists or family doctors diagnose anxiety in adult patients, it’s now clearly a good idea that they ask about the patients’ children and, if appropriate, refer them for evaluation,” said the study’s senior investigator Golda Ginsburg, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in an internet press release on news-wise. Ginsburg said the research indicates new treatment protocols for anxiety patients who are parents, noting that few doctors today consider the ramifications of parents’ mental illnesses on their children.

1.5 LEARNING ORIENTATION:

Learning Orientation of Individuals that are highly predisposed towards learning-oriented goals (i.e., are highly learning goal-oriented) are concerned with increasing their competence and mastering whatever they are dealing with at that time. Since they are focused on learning and mastering certain skills, these individuals are likely to evaluate their performance relative to their own previous student’s achievements and measure success in terms of personal progress. This thought pattern is likely to be associated with a greater sense of personal control over the outcome of one’s effort since the individual is referring only to him or herself when setting goals and striving for achievement. Thus, challenging tasks become an opportunity for growth and learning of the students.

Students with a learning goal approach focus their effort on improving their work and getting better. Their goal is to find out what they don’t know and master it. Students with this orientation believe that success means improving their level of competence and that their job in school is to develop new skills and master the intended learning. Their goals focus on continuous improvement; they are motivated by a desire to become competent and by evidence of increasing mastery. They tend to seek help more frequently in developing competence and explain help avoidance in terms of attempting independent mastery.

Another orientation observed in students is their interest in learning. For some learning is a rewarding experience. For some, others pursuit of knowledge is a pleasurable endeavor. And there are children who study to develop their interests. Many researchers have indicated the positive implications of intrinsic motivation in learning. In addition to these situations of learning orientation, another significant factor that affects students’ decision to learn is family influence.

Learning Orientation is the organization’s willingness and knows how to be a learning organization. The organization’s visions for learning needed to be precise and encourage all personnel to improve their knowledge, shared vision, and accept the opinions of others.

1.5.1 Meaning: Students with a learning goal approach focus their effort on improving their work and getting better. Their goal is to find out what they don’t know and master it. Students with this orientation believe that success means improving their level of competence and that their job in school is to develop new skills and master the intended learning. Their goals focus on continuous improvement; they are motivated by a desire to become competent and by evidence of increasing mastery. They tend to seek help more frequently in developing competence and explain help avoidance in terms of attempting independent mastery.

Another orientation observed in students is their interest in learning. For some learning is a rewarding experience. For some, others pursuit of knowledge is a pleasurable endeavour. And there are children who study to develop their interests. Many researchers have indicated the positive implications of intrinsic motivation in learning. In addition, to these situations of learning orientation, another significant factor that affects students’ decision to learn is family influence.

1.5.2 Definition: The learning orientation is a mechanism that directly affects firms’ ability to challenge the old assumptions about the market and how a firm should be organized in order to direct it that makes innovation easier (Baker and Sinkula, 2002). Learning orientation prepares the firms to get into a stage in which they will be committed to systematically challenge the fundamental beliefs and practices that define by themselves the innovation processes (Baker and Sinkula, 1999)

Learning orientation is the manifestation of an organization’s propensity to learn and adapt accordingly (Mavondo, Chimhanzi, & Stewart, 2005). Learning orientation has been conceptualized as a cultural context dimension (Nasution & Mavondo, 2008).

1.5.3 Learning orientation beliefs and behaviors among students

• Belief about effort: Effort will lead to success

• Direction of effort: Developing new skills, trying to understand their own work, improving their level of competence, and achieving a sense of mastery relative to their own past level

• Response when faced with difficulty: Increased level of involvement and commitment to effort-based strategies

• Motivation to learn and a willingness to engage in the process of learning

• “Failure tolerance”: Belief that failure can be overcome by a change in strategy

• Development of an intrinsic valuing of learning

Learning oriented students are mainly interested in learning and mastering content or a given skill. Learning oriented students intentionally take difficult tasks beyond their present capability because they consider mistakes and failure as learning opportunities.

Martinez (1998) identified three primary learning variables:

(1) Connative: This factor refers to the individual’s will, commitment, interest, drive or passion for improving, transferring and achieving goals.

(2) Committed learning: This factor refers to an individual’s desire to take responsibilities, make choices, control and improve their own learning.

(3) Learning autonomy: It refers to the degree that learners deliberately start and make efforts to accomplish learning. Students pursue studies for various reasons.lt is worthwhile to identify an individual’s orientation to learn, by looking at the dominant factors that affect learning.

Three major orientations have been examined in the present study viz., Examination Orientation, Career Orientation, and Interest Orientation.

1.5.4 The Elements of Learning Orientation: The meaning of the three elements of learning orientation according to Baker and Sinkulas (1999) concept are outlined below.

Parents attitudes and learning orientation

Commitment to Learning: Commitment to learning meant the individual ability to understand reasons and results of activities which needed to be assessed and corrected (Baker and Sinkula, 1999). Learning orientation also meant the amount of attention to learning in an organization. The less attention given to learning would let the organization down. Farrell and Mavondo (2004) described that commitment to learning was the commitment of its members. They need to learn and understand the importance of learning, then they would be involved in success.

Shared vision: Farrell and Mavondo (2004) described that a shared vision was the exchanging and sharing of basic needs for learning. The objective was to initiate learning among its members. There were less vision and commitment to learning in the organization that did not encourage learning. The lack of a shared vision was one of the performance indicators in an organization. The preferred shared visions were conventional knowledge, understanding, and application which could be used in managing an organization (Baker and Sinkula, 1999).

Open-mindedness: Open-mindedness meant that the organization needed to pay attention to other opinions, not only one particular ability or opinion. It is the courage to stand against the questioning, hypothesis and other beliefs which is either possible or impossible (Baker and Sinkula, 1999). Therefore, the organization would be able to accept new points of view and apply it to improve and develop its knowledge. It included the creation of innovation and flexible problem-solving. It could help an organization solve recent and future issues. (Jerez-Gomez et al., 2005). Li-Fen Liao (2006) discovered that the organization which encouraged learning orientation by sharing knowledge could increase its competitive capability and organizational performance. The members who accepted other opinions and trusted each other would affect their sharing behaviour, human resource development and respect for each other. The final result was to ensure that the members always shared useful information and think creatively.

1.5.5. Concepts of Learning Orientation:

The rapid development in technology influenced globalization, competition, and the business environment. Learning was one of many things that organizations paid attention to adapt and respond to uncertain circumstances. All personnel needed to learn and apply knowledge to their job (Wang et al., 2010). In addition, Senge (2006) described that the world’s trend was complicated, so everyone needed to learn to understand the complications. Recently, the leader was the only one to learn and then they commanded and controlled all of the processes in an organization, but then it was not enough. Everybody needed to learn to know the same things The organization could use its knowledge to gain initiative over its competitors. The imitation of new technology was not that easy. The only way to have a similar capability was to learn how to do it. As a result, learning was one of the most important factors for success. Tippawan Lorsuwannarat (2005) described that the learning of an organization was an important fundamental of the supported process of knowledge management which would let an organization be successful in its organizational learning.

Organizational Learning (OL) was described using many different terminologies from many researchers. Senge (2006) described that organizational learning was a place that let its members develop their own capabilities. It was a place that new creative thinking or developing need ideas was encouraged and where the members had the freedom to think and execute. Lastly, it was a place that members could continue to learn and learn from each other. He defined the five disciplines which were system thinking, personal mastery, mental model, building a shared vision, and team learning. Hargreaves and Jarvis (1998) described that organizational learning was a learning process where everyone continually improved themselves. The learning would involve individuals, a team, an organization or a group of organizations. Organizational learning would develop products, information, and services continually, and at the same time also develop individual capabilities by teaching knowledge and understanding of how to execute actions. Finally, the objectives of organizational learning were to let the members understand that they could accurately analyze any issue. It could result in the innovation of products or processes, establish seminars about complicated issues, and learning from other experiences. Westover (2006) defined organizational learning as an organization that could use organizational culture by encouraging its members to learn. It could accept some risks. It also encouraged single-loop and double-loop learning which consisted of risk-taking and safe thinking, systems thinking and getting the show on the road, recognizing people as resources, mapping the vision, trust, and physical proximity. Sinkula, Baker, and Noordewier (1997) described that organizational learning was a process of establishing a body of knowledge by seeking knowledge and information. Therefore, organizational learning was one of the knowledge of incremental processes.

1.6 DIMENSION OF LEARNING ORIENTATION:

1.6.1 Examination Orientation:

At present, students are made to take the examinations mainly in the content of seeking jobs. In this point of view, the parents may have a positive attitude towards their children’s exam and thereby our education system functions with the view of examination orientation. Both parents and students become anxious at the time of the exam. With a view to score high marks and get jobs, students are forced to attain goals through the exam. To get rid of exam phobia, both parents and children should be oriented positively.

The government has introduced an evaluation technique called CCE (Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation) to reduce exam anxiety among the student. Therefore positive exam orientation may be provided by teachers and parents to the students to make them feel free to take exams.

Students are very much influenced by their urge to perform well in examinations. Educational qualifications are used extensively as a screening device for recruitment, selection, and promotion in modern sector salaried employment. This has led to intense demand for schooling and certificates. Since these certificates are awarded on the basis of examinations, the educational institutions have become mere places of preparing students for examinations. Therefore, parents are to focus their attitude towards the orientation of their children. The dominance of the examination has relegated every other function of the educational institution into the background. Obtaining good marks is the top priority for students.

1.6.2 Career Orientation: Career Orientation is another influencing factor for students. The linkage between employment and education is a complex phenomenon. The socio-psychological dimensions of the relationship between education and employment have given insight into the career orientation of students. For a great number of students, studying is just to pass the examination and obtain the certificates which will open the gates of the world of work to them. A search for self-improvement has today become a quest for gainful employment. Learning is now viewed as a means to an end where individual preferences get eclipsed by the larger scheme of things. In fact, occupation/ career which one chooses influence all other aspects of living perhaps more than any other single factor.

The career orientation is a career development and instructional guidance programme, designed to prepare students to have a greater understanding of educational and career opportunities and options and also to assist them in making meaningful and informed career choices. The term career orientation is an educational concept that provides people with informative information based on their past experiences and assists users with making effective career choices. ‘Career’ refers to position, duty, while `orientation’ refers to vocation, business. It provides a concept for people to adapt to living and working in an ever-changing economy, society, and environment (Career and Technology Education Department).

It is believed that choosing a career can be a very difficult decision for students and young adults, whose career choices must be considered as early as the higher secondary school or university period. The career orientation process, therefore, focuses on helping individuals to choose his/her favored career through the professional direction of the types, selection, and decisions. The career orientation method is not only helpful for the students to choose a field wisely and orient to the needs of the labour market, but also brings great economic benefits, achieving various social benefits as well as promoting all-around development of society.

A major career interest of parents influences the future career of their children. It is a fact that few parents may have unfavorable career interest towards their children’s education. On the other hand, parents having more aspiration in term of career interest, they cannot make their children achieve future goals.

It has been suggested that parents ultimately want their children to feel good about themselves by developing a positive self-image and ability to be successful individuals. Here such goal of self – efficacy greatly contribute to career development in children and therefore it is a major task of parenting. Here ten categories were found and described as intention parents had when influencing their children in the area of career development. Intention or goals found in the present study include skill acquisition, development of values and beliefs, protection from unwanted experiences, development of independence, decrease in sex-role stereotyping moderation of parent-child relationship, development of the healthy relationship, development of good character, development of personal responsibility and achievement of parents goals. These ten categories are put together with the orientation of interest, career, and exam as follows.

1.6.3 Interest Orientation: Another orientation observed in students is their interest in learning. For some, learning is a rewarding experience. For some others, the pursuit of knowledge is a pleasurable endeavour. And therefore children study to develop their interests. Many researchers have indicated the positive implications of intrinsic motivation in learning. Students’ interest in their preference of choice can be developed by parents’ favorable interest. In addition to these situations of learning orientation, another significant factor that affects students’ decision to learn is family influence.

The family may be regarded as a reservoir of experiences for creation of interest among the students to achieve their goals. Another orientation observed in students is interested in learning. Students are to develop their interest to learn and thereby parents play a vital role to create positive interest orientation towards their children. Many research studies revealed that positive implications of interest orientation should be inculcated among the students. Some other researchers found that there will be more interest among the children whose motivation is high as possible. Interest orientation paves the way for the learning orientation of the students.

1.7 Parents attitude towards learning orientation:

In educational settings students teachers and parents, all are most responsible for the success of children education. However, parents attitude is playing a major role in strengthening students with self-confidence and motivation towards academic success. In this aspect, the parents are to change their attitude with a positive manner while handling their children in their academic activities which help them to have a positive attitude towards their academic streams. It is no doubt that the learning orientation of the students depends upon the attitude of their parents. Because of the parents is to be considered as a Key for motivating their children towards the betterment of academic success. In the light of the above, there is a positive relationship between parents’ attitude and learning orientation among students studying at Higher Secondary School Level.


For citing this article use:

  • Kalimuthu, S. (2018). An analysis of Parents attitude towards the learning orientation of higher secondary school students. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10603/228075
Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at media24xnew@gmail.com

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