Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Richard Doty
IU Media Relations

Anne Stright
School of Education

Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2003

IU research confirms that parents' teamwork helps student success

Parents working together have a lot to do with children's school success, according to recently published research from the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington.

Anne Stright, an assistant professor in educational psychology, is the lead author of the article, "Beyond Parenting: Co-parenting and Children's Classroom Adjustment," that appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Behavioral Development. The journal's Web site is

"When parents rejected and criticized their children's efforts at home, children were likely to have social problems and attention problems, be passive and dependent, and have poor grades the next year in school," said Stright in the article that she wrote with IUB graduate student Carin Neitzel. "Parents who supported each other's parenting efforts were likely to have children who paid attention, and who were active and independent learners with good grades," added Stright, whose expertise includes human development.

Stright said these findings may sound like a confirmation of the obvious, because most people presume that when parents are supportive, children respond favorably. "However, research in this field is rather new, and surprisingly, there isn't much information on this topic. Now, we have some data for future study.

"Our findings reflect how important it is for parents to work together with their children," she noted. "Parents should present a united front as a couple and shouldn't contradict each other or work at cross purposes with their children. These findings show that working as a team really improves how a child does in school."

The study involved children from 52 Indiana families who were second- and third-graders in 1997. Stright said the results should be interpreted with caution because of the small size of the sample, and because it involved mostly white, middle-class, two-parent families.

For a future study, Stright is assessing the adjustment of these students to eighth grade. She wants to determine how the quality of parenting in childhood relates to the quality of the relationship these adolescents have with their peers and teachers.

For more details, contact Stright at 812-856-8318 or