News Archive

Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Ph.D. presents "The Role of Parents in Supporting Their Children’s Achievements"

Dr. Jacquelynne Eccles, Professor in the School or Education and Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan presented “The Role of Parents in Supporting Their Children's Achievements” to a packed room of faculty, students and families as part of CRF’s Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. 

 As an expert in the field of adolescence, identity formation and gender role development, Dr. Eccles was chosen by CRF Scholar Nilanjana Dasgupta to both present her research and to provide advice on Dr. Dasgupta’s recently awarded National Science Foundation project:  “Peer Influences on Adolescents' Self-Concept, Achievement, And Future Aspirations in Science and Mathematics: Does Student Gender and Race Matter?”

Jacquelynne Eccles has spent over thirty years researching how parents shape their children’s perception of their abilities and the subsequent choices they make. In her talk, Eccles indicated that parents often draw on gender stereotypes that lead them to treat their sons differently than their daughters, therefore influencing a child’s participation in gender related activity. She cited years of research which found that parent’s behavior towards boys shows a higher perceived competence in athletics, mathematics, and science, than their daughters, regardless of individual achievement in these areas. Eccles work also found, through longitudinal studies, that child expectations and values are influenced by gender role socialization and the stereotyped expectations of others.  Describing parents as the “interpreters of reality”, Eccles indicated that a child’s self-perception is formed by six years old. Eccles encouraged parents to be aware of the influence that gender role socialization can have on the development of their child’s self-esteem and to recognize a daughter’s academic and physical achievements which encourages a positive self-identity.