Children and adolescents are establishing patterns of behavior that affect both their current and future health.
Young people are at risk for engaging in tobacco, alcohol, or other drug use, participating in violence or gang activities, and initiating sex at an early age. However, a growing body of research demonstrates that enhancing
protective factors in the lives of children and adolescents can help them avoid behaviors that place them at risk for adverse health and educational outcomes.
Protective factors include personal characteristics such as educational or career goals; life conditions such as frequent parental presence in the home at key times (e.g., after school, at dinner time); and behaviors such as involvement in pro-social activities (e.g., school or community sports).
Engaging parents in their children’s and adolescents’ school life is a promising protective factor. Research shows that parent engagement in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement, and enhanced social skills. Parent engagement also makes it more likely that children and adolescents will avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use.
This publication defines and describes parent engagement and identifies specific strategies and actions that schools can take to increase parent engagement in schools’ health promotion activities. The audiences for this publication include school administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and others interested in promoting parent engagement.
Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health