Children’s success is influenced by poverty and poor parenting

Kathleen Kiernan shows why both factors matter for children’s early educational achievement

The British Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that both children born in poverty and those born in wealth achieved similar outcomes as long as they were brought up by “confident and able” parents. Research using data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) shows that the relationship is more nuanced than that.

What we know
● Children’s early achievement can be adversely affected by poor parenting; it can also be adversely affected by poverty.
● Positive parenting can redress the effects of poverty.
● Positive parenting can benefit both poorer and richer families.

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May 2014