Your frustration while dealing with calculations or solving mathematical problems may give your children anxiety about doing maths, reveals a new study.
A new study published in Psychological Science journal confirms that kids attribute their parents' maths anxiety.
A team of researchers led by University of Chicago psychological scientists Sian Beilock and Susan Levine found that children of math-anxious parents learned less math over the school year and were more likely to be math-anxious themselves—but only when these parents provided frequent help on the child’s math homework, Psychological Science journal stated.
Lead study author Erin A. Maloney is a postdoctoral scholar in psychology at UChicago. Gerardo Ramirez and Elizabeth A. Gunderson co-authored the article, along with senior authors Levine and Beilock.
Previous research from this group has established that when teachers are anxious about math, their students learn less math during the school year.
In the latest update by the new study, a link between parents’ and children’s math anxiety has been established. These findings suggest that adults’ attitudes toward math can play an important role in children’s math achievement.
“We often don’t think about how important parents’ own attitudes are in determining their children’s academic achievement. But our work suggests that if a parent is walking around saying ‘Oh, I don’t like math’ or ‘This stuff makes me nervous,’ kids pick up on this messaging and it affects their success,” Beilock, professor in psychology, was quoted as saying by Psychological Science journal.
In a survey, 438 first and second grade students along with their primary caregivers participated. Children were assessed in math achievement and math anxiety at both the beginning and end of the school year. As a control, the team also assessed reading achievement, which they found was not related to parents’ math anxiety.
The parents were made to complete a questionnaire about their own anxiety around math and how they help their children with math homework.
The researchers believe the link between parents’ math anxiety and children’s math performance stems more from math attitudes than genetics.