Somaliland: Impact of Parents’ Background on their Children’s Education


Children playing at  Ayaha estate school on friday/somalilandsun photo

Somalilandsun —-Today’s children are fundamental to society because they are our future; they hold the key to change, and in turn a successful future, in their hands.
Therefore, it is society’sduty to provide them with a complete education that teaches them how to work together successfully, how to question what is in front of them, and how to be catalysts of change.
This education starts with what children learn from their parents and from what they learn in the first few years of their lives. Parents have an enormous influence on their children’s education for several reasons, but most importantly because they are their children’s first teachers.

As JosephSclafani writes, “The influence of teachers is actually reciprocal and to some extent dependent on what your child brings to the classroom…These same teachers also form impressions based upon other information such as your child’s previous year’s grades and test scores, and his or her family background and the family’s level of involvement” (Sclafani 84).

Children’s brains are like sponges the first couple years of their lives and they absorb in everything surrounding them. Therefore, what they learn from their parents in the first couple years of their lives will impact children for the rest of their lives. It is important that children learn how to be excited about learning from an early age. Parents are the ones who need to instill this excitement in their children. But how can parents create this enthusiasm in their children? What qualities do parents need to possess in order to successfully motivate their children in school? Research shows that parents with a personal, educated background have a much easier time preparing their children for school compared to parents lacking this background.

The education that children receive is very much dependent on the education that their parents received when they were children. Research shows that the literacy of their parents strongly affects the education of their children. Teale found in his studies that “children experience literacy primarily as a social process during their preschool years.”

(Teale 192) Parents strongly affect this social learning process because they are the biggest influence at this early stage in their children’s lives. One of the reasons why it trongly affects their children’s education is because “parents who have gone beyond a high school education are found to be more involved with their infants and children than those who did not finish high school…many less educated parents simply have more unmanaged stress in their lives, and this stress interferes with ability and opportunity to interact with their child” (Sclafani 88).

Typically, parents who have finished high school& gone on to receive additional schooling understand the pressures and stresses ofschool and are more equipped to handle them with their children when they go through schools.

Parents who have obtained further educational opportunities also have less stress in their lives because they most likely making more money while spending less time making that money than those who, unfortunately, have not been able to finish high school for one reason or another.

It is unfortunate that less educated parents are less likely to be involved in their children’s education process because “[research repeatedly demonstrates that schools do better when parents are engaged as equal partners in the decision making that affects their children and their schools…Only through this richer level of engagement will parents and the public at large better understand their vital connection to quality public education” (Glickman 229). Parents with less education do not participate as often in their children’s education to some effect because they do not realize the importance of their interaction with schools and they are probably intimidated, just like they were in high school. Even though parents of low-income families participate less in their children’s education, according to Neuman, “most parents – even low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse parents – possess the attitudes and at least the sufficient early literacy skills and knowledge to help their children get on the road to literacy” (Neuman 221).
Additional research that shows that uniquely the mother’s education has a significant impact on her children’s learning process. Benjamin Ann says, “[The mother’s education if one of the most important factors influencing children’s reading levels and other school achievements…Generally, traditional research has revealed that more highly educated mothers have greater success in providing their children with the cognitive and language skills that contribute to early success in school.” (Ann 1) This is because stereotypically, the mother in more involved in her children’s education, and therefore has more influence on it. Another good point that Ann makes is that “children of mothers with high levels of education stay in school longer than children of mothers with low levels of education.” (Ann 1) Again, this conclusion is reinforced by all the other research that convincingly shows that parents who have completed levels of higher education with be more involved in their children’s education.

Mohamoud Dahir Omar
Education Analyst