Educational Editorial: What replaces parental involvement?

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One of you recently sent me an email asking that I talk about the importance of parental involvement with young people and schools.

It seems that parents, especially Dads, rationalize that it is not the amount of time that we spend with our children but rather the quality of those moments.

There is probably little truth in this assumption. In reality, I cannot compress time like a chunk of coal and make it a gem; there is nothing that replaces time with our children.

Well what gets in the way?  The most obvious is work. While many have quipped that the energy of children dictates that they be raised by young parents, it may also be true that grandparents -- a status that my wife and I have truly come to enjoy -- also affords more time.

But, what really gets in the way? The Office of National Statistics in Britain conducted a study and found that working parents spent less than 19 minutes a day with their children… a quick breakfast and a story at bedtime. Another 16 minutes was spent in secondary contact while focused on some other activity.

Perhaps the real culprit is focus! I can remember my daughter putting her hands on my face and turning my head until our eyes made contact…she would then say, "Dad."

The Harvard Family Research Project also found a significant relationship between the amount of time that parents spent with their children and achievement in school.

This is not doing their homework…it is paying attention. In an age when young people seem to have everything, a USC study finds that parents frequently deprive their children of one very significant gift -- "the gift of time."

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