Parent support for learning at school entry: Benefits for aggressive children in high-risk urban contexts.


Children growing up in urban poverty are at high risk for low achievement across the school years, particularly when they enter school with elevated aggressive-disruptive behavior problems. In general, parent support for child learning is associated with school readiness and school success, but whether it serves as a protective factor for aggressive children in disadvantaged urban contexts is unknown. In this study, 207 urban and predominantly African American children with elevated aggressive-disruptive behavior problems at kindergarten entry (M = 5.94 years, SD = 0.39 years) were followed into first grade. Two dimensions of parent support for learning were assessed: teacher-rated parent school involvement and observed quality of parent teaching behaviors. Cross-lagged analyses indicated that parent support for learning predicted growth in aspects of children’s academic knowledge and executive functioning over time, controlling for children’s prior skills and demographic risk factors. Promoting parent support for learning may be a promising strategy to enhance the school readiness of children at dual risk due to contextual adversity and elevated aggressive-disruptive behavior problems.