Page last updated at 02:03 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Parents feel excluded by children

Professor Tanya Byron says lack of information can cause family conflict

Many parents feel "excluded" by their children's reluctance to tell them anything about their time spent at school, suggests a survey.

The survey from the government's educational technology agency, Becta, suggests children do not like to be "hassled" by parental inquiries.

It found that 82% of parents wished they had more information about their children's school life.

Only 16% of children volunteered information about their day at school.

The involvement of parents has been highlighted as an important element of children's achievement at school.

'Tension'

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As a parent of a 16 year old I implore you not to try and use the same jargon as your teenager. Parents are parents and teenagers are teenagers and ne'er the twain shall meet.
Julie Mills, UK

But the survey suggests that parents struggle to find out how they might be able to help.

The technology agency asked television psychologist and government adviser Tanya Byron to investigate this communication gap.

"Many parents anxiously question their kids at the end of the school day and this creates tension, conflict and a lack of essential communication," said Professor Byron.

She suggests that there should be better links between schools, parents and children.

The survey of 1,000 children aged 11 to 14 and their parents found that youngsters were reluctant to share their experiences with their families.

More than a third of young people said they found it difficult to speak to their parents about school - and more than two in five parents found it hard to "extract information" about school from their children.

As a technology agency, Becta suggests that school websites and online resources for homework can help to make parent "feel much more a part of their child's learning".

It says that when parents are able to see what their children are learning they are more confident in talking about school work - both with the children and teachers.

Parents can also use e-mail to keep in touch with teachers, says the technology agency, and schools can alert parents of any attendance problems.



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