Association between Parental Socioeconomic Status and Children’s School Grades: The Importance of Parenting and Child Behaviour Problems
The strong link between parental socioeconomic status (SES) and children’s success in school is well-established. However, mechanisms that underpin this association remain a major issue in current research on social inequality. Using nationally representative data from the Families in Germany Study (FiD) and structural equation modelling, this study demonstrates that parenting styles and child behavioural problems explain in part the association between parental SES and child school grades for mathematics and German at ages 9 to 10. We found that low SES parents tend to use an inconsistent parenting style or psychological control, which are linked to more child behavioural problems. This in turn is associated with low school grades. Our findings also show that parents with low SES are more likely than their high SES counterparts to have children with behaviour problems, which in turn is associated with lower school grades. These findings suggest that parenting styles and child behavioural problems and their interplay may be potential pathways that underpin the influence of parental SES on offspring’s school achievement.