ALERT: Over-Obsessing Over Your Child's Grade Might be Detrimental to Their Well-Being
A new study from the Arizona State University revealed that parents focusing too much on their child's grades and extracurricular activities could work against helping the kids to become well-adjusted and successful later in life.
The study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, showed that children who perceived their parents as someone who were over-obsessed of their academic achievements are more likely to experience negative outcomes.
"When parents emphasize children's achievement much more than their compassion and decency during the formative years, they are sowing the seeds of stress and poorer well-being, seen as early as sixth grade," explained Suniya Luthar, a Foundation professor of psychology at ASU and one of the co-authors of the study, in a press release.
For the study, the researchers recruited 506 sixth grade students from an affluent community. The students were asked to rank the top three of six things their parents valued for them. Out of the six things, three values personal success such as good grades and successful career in the future. On the other hand, the remaining three values were about kindness and decency to others. The researchers then compared these perceived values to the students' school performance as measured by their grade point average and in-class behaviors.
The researchers found that children who perceived their parents to value achievements more highly than kindness towards others are more likely to experience negative outcomes. These outcomes may include more internalizing symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, and externalizing or acting out behaviors and lower self-esteem. Furthermore, these students also have lower GPAs and were reported by their teachers to have more learning problems and more disruptive at school.
On the other hand, children who perceived their parents to value kindness toward other highly than their achievements have better outcomes in school. Due to this, the researchers are encouraging parents to focus more on their child's personal adjustments than their personal achievements. The researchers noted that valuing grades and school achievements too much could lead to greater insecurity, anxiety and overall distress in children.