How A College Education Benefits Parents of School-Age Children
There are many reasons to pursue higher education. But for parents, one of the most significant reasons is the desire to inspire and create a powerful legacy for their children.
Ample evidence indicates that a college education is not only a major benefit to parents, but serves as an important factor in their children's success as well. Thus, many parents continue to pursue educational opportunities after they've had kids. In fact, approximately one in five students are parents, according to recent data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. However, just like any student, when a parent enrolls in school, it's a commitment of time, money, and resources. Which begs the question: Is it worth it for your family?
As we dig into the details of studies related to parents in higher education, we discover that, in general, the answer is yes—when children have educated parents, they are likely to be more open-minded, more enthusiastic about their own pursuit of knowledge, and more likely to succeed.
A college education, whether pursued on campus or online, is a valuable asset when it comes to discovering your passion, expanding career options, and breaking through barriers to achievement and growth. It also has specific benefits for your school-aged children. We'll explore some of these below.
College-Educated Parents: Fast Facts
Studies from Wayne State University, Florida State University, and the National Center for Education Statistics have all tackled the topic of the unique benefits that educated parents tend to bestow on their children. Even when they did not set out to address education in particular, these studies all concluded that, with genetics out of the equation, a parent's education is a key variable affecting a child's personality and life outcomes.
Evidence from the above-referenced studies indicates that your education:
- Affects your child's own educational aspirations during their prime school years
- Indirectly affects the probability of positive outcomes for your child as he or she moves through early and middle adulthood
- Creates a "more stimulating physical, cognitive, and emotional environment at home," according to the Wayne State study, which can lead to higher IQ scores for kids
- Correlates with lower neuroticism, higher extraversion, and higher "openness to experience" in kids, according to the British Psychological Society
- Correlates with higher household wealth, which positively affects your child’s wellbeing
Parents as Role Models
Children naturally emulate behaviors they see modeled by their parents. If parenting by example is an effective and proven aspect of raising kids with more responsibility and integrity, then engaging with education into the adult years can set a positive example for your little ones. Ultimately, when you invest in your own education, you are equipping your children with a model for lifelong learning.
Some, like Ashford University student Cheryl Brown, even make homework a game for their kids. The healthy competition has proven beneficial to Brown, who is pursuing an MBA while also working full time.
“They are inspired by my choice to return to school, and I hope to show them that if I can do it with all the adult responsibilities I have, they can too,” she says.
There are also more tangible benefits of how your education can have a lasting impact on your family. Research shows that parents who earn a higher income tend to have children who earn higher incomes as well. But the correlation is not just about wealth—it's about education. Parents with a college degree are more likely to find employment, thereby creating more stability for their family, thereby leading to greater economic mobility for their children.
Education as a Method for Successful Parenting
Being a good student makes one a better teacher. Thus, parents who remain engaged with their own education into adulthood are often more adept and helping their children complete their homework, improve their vocabularies, study for tests, and effectively “advocate for themselves," according to a study from the Scholars Strategy Network. When it comes to a child's thirst for knowledge, your education matters not only by way of example but also in your capacity to teach in your own right. You can pass on information, share wisdom and insight, and help your children grapple with abstract ideas and other tough concepts. Helping your child with their homework not only helps them excel in the short run, but it also indicates a long-term investment in your child's success, which can help them keep going when things get more challenging.
Parents are faced with a lot of tough choices. Deciding whether to pursue higher education, and how to balance academic and family obligations, deserves serious consideration. However, the rise of online degree programs, such as those offered by Ashford University, makes it easier and more practical than ever before. Now, you can take university classes from anywhere, at a pace that doesn't detract from your parenting duties. You’ll also be able to further your education with a schedule you can handle and the support of a strong network of mentors and peers.
The decision to pursue higher education is a big step for you and your family. If you're ready to transform your future, contact Ashford University to get started.
By Ashford University staff