For years, schools and communities programs have sought to positively impact student citizenship or civil behaviors. While those programs in schools have developed wonderful awareness and knowledge related to civic behaviors, research shows that it is what happens in the home that impacts students most in this area.
Researchers have shown that students involved in discussion and participation of civic responsibilities with their parents, especially in close parent/student relationships, are more likely to be involved with civic activities later in life. Participation in civic-related activities and knowledge in school, sometimes translated into action based on what also happened at home related to civic responsibilities, Civic knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors are also significantly associated with later voting habits. Though families who engage in civic opportunities increase the likelihood of students becoming civically-minded as adults, those social-emotional learning programs implemented in schools that both increase student understanding of civil responsibility and encourage these activities in the home, appear to have the greatest impact in actual civic participation later in life. Parents do well to volunteer with their children on a regular basis in building civically responsible adults tomorrow.
By Pamela Bruening, EdD
Cohen, A. & Chaffee, B. (2012). The relationship between adolescents’ civic knowledge, civic attitude,
and civic behavior and their self-reported future likelihood of voting. University of CA. Retrieved from http://esj.sagepub.com/content/8/1/43.abstract on August 14, 2014.
Kahne, J. & Sporte, S. (2008) Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students’
Commitment to Civic Participation, University of Chicago. Retrieved from http://aer.sagepub.com/content/45/3/738.short on August 15, 2014.
Lenzi, M., Vieno, A., Santinello, M., Nation, M., & Voight, A. (2013). The Role Played by the Family in
Shaping Early and Middle Adolescent Civic Responsibility. Department of Developmental and
Social Psychology, University of Padova. Retrieved from http://m.jea.sagepub.com/content/34/2/251.short
on August 15, 2014.
Written for Charity for Change