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Citation:Milotis, D., Sesma, A., & Masten, A. S. (1999). Parenting as a protective process for school success in children from homeless families. Early Education and Development, 10(2), 111-133.

The researchers investigate whether homeless children who are better adapted to school have Òmore competent parents.Ó Their data suggest that parent involvement in education and the quality of parent-child relationship were linked to child success. In addition, they found a significant level of risk in this population and that the group was well below average in achievement scores. To determine these associations, the researchers randomly selected 59 homeless African American children in 3 age groups (6-7 years, 8-9 years, and 10-11 years) and their families at a Midwestern shelter. They interviewed parents, analyzed videotapes of the interviews, and rated the families on a positive parent-child relationship, school involvement, and firm, consistent discipline. School success measures included Weschler Individual Achievement Test Screener (WIAT-S, Psychological Corp., 1992), school records, and teacher reports. Researchers defined parent involvement as whether the parent had visited childÕs school, met the teacher, attended school conferences or other school activities in the past school year, and the amount of time the parent generally spent with the child over homework. They suggest that homeless children who are relatively successful in school tend to have close relationships with their parents, and their parents tend to be more involved in education. The researchers seek to begin understanding the mechanisms homeless parents develop and use to function effectively with their children. They conceded that the sample size was small and the study was over a short term. Though some data were acquired through interviews and may not be applied to other places and groups, this study adds to what we know about parent involvement of the most at-risk students in American schools, those who are homeless.

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