1 Introduction

A mother is the first and ultimate teacher. It is no secret that parents have an impact on students’ education, both directly and indirectly. A significant number of studies discussed the direct impacts of parents, such as parental assistance and their level of education. Meanwhile, a limited number of studies reviewed other factors related to indirect impacts such as parents’ beliefs (Brown 2013). It was argued that the impacts of parents’ beliefs can be seen in their emphasis on certain practices, attitudes, interests and habits that might support or hinder students’ success (Lerkkanen & Pakarinen 2019).

This study aims to highlight the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education through shedding light on such beliefs represented in their thoughts and perceptions, and how these beliefs impact students’ education either directly or indirectly.

1.1 Statement of Problem

While extensive research has been conducted regarding the influence of parents on students’ academic achievement (e.g. parents’ assistance or the level of parents’ education), there is less research pertaining to the indirect impacts of parents (e.g. parents’ beliefs) on students’ education (Taylor, Clayton & Rowley 2004). According to Pesu et al. (2018), there has been a dearth of research on the links between parents’ beliefs and children’s self-concept of performance. Parents are considered the primary influence on their children’s education, as the latter are most likely to adopt their parents’ values and beliefs (Ceka & Murati 2016). According to Sapungan and Sapungan (2014), the predictor of students’ success in schools is the beliefs parents hold regarding their children. Consequently, the current investigation attempts to address the literature gap regarding the impact of parents’ beliefs on students’ education, while providing stakeholders with a number of recommendations that might facilitate in bridging the identified gap and provide parents and teachers with greater insight into this research domain. Accordingly, and based on the problem stated above, the main and sub-questions of this research are established below.

1.2 Research Question and Sub-questions

This study seeks to highlight the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education. To achieve this, one main and two sub-questions are established:

  1. 1)

    What are the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education?

  2. 2a)

    What are the perceptions of parents regarding their role towards their children’s education?

  3. 2b)

    How can children be impacted by their parents’ beliefs on education?

1.3 Significance of the Study

This study shed lights on the impacts of parents’ beliefs on their children’s education. It considers that the parents’ role is of great significance since how children act in their classes is influenced by their parents’ perceptions and beliefs towards the learning process. Also, this study highlights different aspects of parents’ beliefs represented in parents’ assistance, the relationship with teachers and parents’ expectation.

2 Literature Review

Parents’ beliefs have been suggested to be an important element of students’ success (Pesu et al. 2018). According to Tocu (2014), children come into contact with their parents’ beliefs from birth onwards. This contact is considered a roadmap for children’s education.

Parents’ beliefs influence students’ academic achievements through promoting children’s interests via the environments they create and the knowledge they deliver at home (Lerkkanen & Pakarinen 2019). Furthermore, parents’ beliefs impact the feedback that children receive from them. For instance, parents with positive beliefs about their children’s performance are most likely to provide their children with positive and encouraging feedback. Conversely, parents with negative beliefs tend to provide their children with negative feedback (Lerkkanen & Pakarinen 2019). Parents may directly convey their beliefs to their children by monitoring, encouraging, motivating and guiding them to focus on specific learning skills. According to Silver, Elliott and Libertus (2021), children whose parents were highly anxious tended to perform less effectively than their peers whose parents were characterised by low anxiety. According to Dong, Cao and Li (2020), parents’ beliefs and attitudes impact the quality and quantity of children’s learning.Within the same context, Pesu et al. (2018) stated that low-performing children might have negative self-perception, which is more likely to reflect their parents’ beliefs.

A 2010 study by Topor et al. involving 158 participants revealed a significant association between parents’ beliefs and children’s academic performance. Furthermore, the results showed that the teacher–child relationship is linked with the positive beliefs and attitudes of parents. Another study conducted by Chi and Rao (2003) found that educated parents tended to provide a more supportive learning environment than less educated parents. Moreover, Yamamoto and Holloway (2010) stated that children whose parents hold positive beliefs and high expectations perform better than those whose parents hold negative beliefs and low expectations. Topor et al. (2010) hypothesised that where parents have positive beliefs and attitudes towards their children, their teachers are able to influence those children’s academic performance by being motivated and engaged, and through positive relationships, which leads to improved outcomes.

3 Methodology

This study aims to answer two research sub-questions, which will then respond to the main research question: “What are the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education?”. Research involves methodically grouping and perceptively exploring knowledge or data in order to achieve a specific outcome (McMillan & Schumacher 2010). In the case of the present study, the methodological approach involved the collection of quantitative data from a questionnaire instrument completed by parents. Qualitative data were then collected through interviews with parents who participated in the survey and expressed a willingness to participate in the interviews. An explanatory sequential mixed-method approach was employed in this research, which Creswell (2014) described as involving a data-collection process through which quantitative and qualitative methods are utilized. According to Albalushi (2019), the approach can facilitate in the construction of a range of viewpoints from the two methods, while promoting analysis of greater reliability. Two phases of design are involved: (i) the collection of quantitative data, and (ii) the analysis of the outcomes to inform the qualitative phase. Creswell (2014) advised that the outcomes of the quantitative phase tend to inform the optimum member types for purposeful selection in the qualitative phase, as well as the questions for direction towards the participants at that stage.

3.1 Instrumentation

The first instrument was a questionnaire that was distributed to parents, which aimed to investigate their perceptions regarding the research questions, with validity assured through the sample’s representation and size, together the questionnaire’s careful development and pilot. The convenience sampling technique was employed in this study according to the participants’ availability. Structured interviews conducted with parents represented the study’s second instrument. The trustworthiness of this instrument was ensured by using a consistent interviewer. According to Abdallah (2018), interviews facilitate deep insight into the participants’ points of view, while encouraging their perspectives to be reported in a direct manner. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that the respondents’ subjectivity in terms of their attitudes, beliefs, and views collectively increase the level of bias in qualitative data (Navarro Sada & Maldonado 2007).

3.2 Data Collection and Analysis

The quantitative data were collected through an electronic questionnaire, with the questions designed using Google Forms. A link to the questionnaire was sent to the participants via the WhatsApp application and email. The interview data were also collected through Google Forms, with links sent to the participants using the email addresses that the parents provided in the questionnaire. Descriptive analysis was used in the first phase of the data analysis (quantitative data), and then thematic analysis was conducted in the second phase of the data analysis using the four stages of coding approach developed by Bryman (2008) that helps researchers gather and classify interviewees’ answers in codes.

4 Data Analysis

This section presents the analysis of the data and the study results, and comprises of two parts that focus respectively on the quantitative and qualitative data. The data analysis process is outlined, in accordance with the research questions, in order to best highlight the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education.

4.1 Quantitative Analysis

The majority of the participating parents work in the field of education, as the author aimed at gaining more reliable and related responses. Figure 1 below illustrates the participants’ professional backgrounds.

Fig. 1.
figure 1

Participants’ professional backgrounds

A total of 51 parents participated in the questionnaire. As mentioned above, most of the participants have an educational background. Regarding the first question, around 84% of the participants confirmed that parents’ beliefs play a significant role in shaping students’ success. Similarly, approximately 72% of the parents said that the level of parents’ education has an impact on children’s education. Furthermore, around 68% of the parents believed that parents communicate their beliefs towards children’s education through out-of-school hours, follow-up with the school and students’ teachers, and assistance in homework. Through this analysis, it was clear that the parents’ responses were consistent and relate to each other. This correlation of the parents’ responses helps to establish the reliability and suitability of the gathered data. Figure 2 illustrates the parents’ responses in detail.

Fig. 2.
figure 2

Parents’ responses regarding their role in children’s education

Around 74% of the parents agreed that constant conversation about the future between parents and children is one of the ways that parents communicate their beliefs, while only 10% of the parents disagreed. Furthermore, approximately 73% of the parents agreed and strongly agreed that parents communicate their beliefs to children through the choice of videos, YouTube content and online resources that children are allowed to watch. Moreover, they indicated that parents’ attitudes towards children’s education at home are seen and reflected in students’ learning behaviour at school. Similarly, about 76% of the parents agreed that parents convey their beliefs to children through the clubs and the activities they send their children to, while around 8% disagreed. Furthermore, around 63% of the parents believed that parents convey their beliefs through the choice of reading books for their children, while around 10% disagreed and 27% were neutral. Finally, approximately 80% of the parents indicated that home discussion towards school impacts children’s education, while around 8% of the parents disagreed. Figure 3 below visually presents the parents’ responses.

Fig. 3.
figure 3

Parents’ responses regarding their role in children’s education

4.2 Qualitative Analysis

A total of nine parents participated in the structured interviews. All answers were classified in three main codes related to the research questions. Generally, the parents’ views were in line with the data obtained from the questionnaire. The first code concerned the parents’ role towards their children’s education. All the participants confirmed that parents play an important role in their children’s education. In this regard, Participant 1 asserted: The stronger the relationship between parental involvement and children’s education, the more likely children are to achieve better grades and score higher on tests. This response correlates with the quantitative data, where around 84% of the participants concurred with this view. Moreover, Participant 2 stated: Parents are the real custodians for their children’s education. They act as home language managers, without which real language progress can’t be traced. Most of the participants emphasised the vital role of parents in guiding children and facilitating their learning journey. Furthermore, they confirmed that all parents’ endeavours and efforts are derived from and guided by their beliefs towards their children’s education.

The second code was the parents’ main responsibilities regarding children’s education. Most of the parents mentioned the importance of following-up with the school and teachers, achieving the assigned tasks and monitoring children’s progress. Participant 3 asserted: Parents can partake in their children’s education by helping with school activities or communicating with teachers. They can also be engaged at home in many ways, including guiding their children to complete learning tasks and other commitments, and involvement in discussions about values and attitudes regarding education. Moreover, Participant 4 stated: Parents’ main responsibilities are represented in helping children with homework, monitoring the school process at home. While Participant 5 said: The process of choosing a suitable school for children is one of the main responsibilities of parents, and this primarily comes from parents’ beliefs. To link this code with the quantitative data collected, more than 72% of the parents reported through the questionnaire that parents’ responsibility towards their children is of great importance and correlates with students’ progress.

The third code related to the connection between parents’ beliefs and expectations, with all the parents confirming a strong connection between the two. The parents stated that expectations stem from beliefs, and that beliefs direct and guide expectations to better impact children’s education. Participant 6 said in this regard: Parents’ beliefs and expectations are deeply connected. Parents’ beliefs are formulated when they give birth to a child. Parents begin thinking and building expectations about their child’s future from birth, and this is a proven fact. Within the same context, Participant 7 stated: Yes, I think there is a strong connection between them because expectations usually are a result of the beliefs. I think parents’ expectations are so important because learning is an organised process and the first thing to be organised is expectations. To sum up, all the parents’ responses in the structured interviews indicated that parents’ beliefs are the main factor in children’s education, as beliefs guide parents to set high expectations for their children and motivate them to follow-up with the school and teachers. The data obtained from the questionnaire and structured interviews thus indicate a strong relationship between parents’ beliefs and their expectations towards their children’s education.

5 Conclusion

This study aimed to answer the main research question: What are the impacts of parents’ beliefs on students’ education? It represents an attempt to fill a gap in the literature concerning the role of parents’ beliefs in children’s education.

The first finding of this research, obtained from the triangulated data of the explanatory sequential mixed-method approach, indicated that parents’ beliefs play a primary role in students’ education. This was supported by most of the parents who responded to the questionnaire, where around 84% reported that parents’ beliefs play a key role in students’ success. Similarly, the parents’ perceptions in the structured interviews highlighted the vital role of parents’ beliefs in children’s learning, whereby they considered parents’ beliefs as the motivation that guides all of their efforts to support their children. Moreover, the reviewed literature underpins the quantitative and qualitative data presented in this study, particularly in terms of Lerkkanen and Pakarinen (2019) and Topor et al. (2010).

One of the primary findings of this research is that parents believe that all manner of parental support represented through assistance in homework, following-up with teachers, and the activities or clubs that children attend are guided and directed by parents’ beliefs. Moreover, the obtained quantitative and qualitative data confirmed that parents are the primary source of learning, as their beliefs guide the processes of selecting schools and books for children. This input clearly impacts children’s learning and progress, and thus their education. Essentially, this study concurs with Echeverría-Castro et al. (2020) that parents’ active role in their children’s education is guided by their beliefs.

To conclude, this study contributes by highlighting the impact of parents’ beliefs on students’ education. All the data obtained from the parents and the reviewed literature confirmed the crucial role of parents’ beliefs, which guide and direct parents’ endeavours to support their children in their educational journey. Moreover, this study contributes by filling a gap in the literature regarding parents’ beliefs towards their children’s education, while contributing to the knowledge that parents’ beliefs represented through indirect actions such as the process of choosing schools, clubs, books and online resources to watch are of considerable importance as they create a roadmap for parents and children in the learning journey.

5.1 Implications

This study finds that parents’ expectations, assistance, relationship with teachers and the process of choosing schools, activities and online resources for their children to watch are all guided and directed by parents’ beliefs. Based on this finding, the study recommends that training parents and increasing parental awareness regarding their role in their children’ education would be an effective strategy that would provide students with an enhanced learning environment (Stipek et al. 1992). Moreover, this study suggests that leaders and policy makers investigate and invest in the role of parents and their beliefs, which might lead to improved achievement in the context of student education (Brown 2013).