Children Benefit from Educated Mothers

 Have you ever stopped to count the ways in which your mother and her education affect your life and have shaped who you are?

If your mother had a college education, you’re lucky. Not only was she likely to be helpful when you were doing your homework, but you more likely got a healthy start to life, since college educated mothers are less likely to consume alcohol or smoke. If you were born with “moderately low birth rate,” often associated with developmental challenge, you were less likely to be limited by that if your mother was educated. Studies show that “the independent net effect of maternal education appears to far outweigh the effect of MLBW (moderately low birth weight) as a predictor of children’s test scores.”

Of course fathers are influential too, and that will be addressed in a future month. This month the blog will focus on the many ways a mother’s education benefits her children.

You were more likely to be prepared when you started school if your mother had a college degree. You were more likely read to. If your mother had to work, she was more likely to find a family-friendly job that provided some flexibility and/or higher pay, allowing her to spend more time with you. One study found that 39 percent of high-achieving high school students said their mothers were the “greatest influence in their lives.”

Your aspirations and expectations for your own life were likely affected by your mother’s. While a mother’s education level is not the only indicator of happiness and a good life, children benefit in many ways from an educated mother. If these were not your experiences growing up, you have the opportunity to give a wonderful gift to your own children by encouraging them to love learning and to pursue a college degree. They will be forever grateful.

What is your daughter’s perception of her potential? Does she know she can excel in math? Does she know that learning opens doors? Does she know the world is open to her and that the more she learns, the more she can contribute? Learning will make her valuable in the workplace. A college degree will give her more to contribute to the community. Perhaps most importantly, it will help her pass on these developmental benefits to her children, and continue the healthy cycle, contributing to rich, meaningful, and fulfilling lives.

For sources of the above research and to learn more, read the section on “Parenting” under Key Facts on the Utah Women and Education Initiative website.