Who Is Responsible for Educating Children?

The responsibility of educating children falls equally on both parents and teachers. Today we're going to take a look at how these responsibilities have evolved over time, as well as the current ideal situation.
Who Is Responsible for Educating Children?

Last update: 11 December, 2019

For generations, societies have debated about the distribution of responsibilities when it comes to educating children. The educational process undoubtedly begins at home and then continues when children go to school. And both elements are necessary in order for a child’s education to produce the right results.

If we focus on the majority of related studies, we can affirm that these responsibilities fall equally on parents and educators.  Parents usually stand out for maximizing educational activities that have to do with values, social skills, and getting along with others. Teachers and professors, on the other hand, stand out when it comes to teaching educational knowledge and strategies.

Cooperation between families and schools in educating children

There are many studies that talk about the relationship that exists between schools and families. For example, in his 1998 study, Ignasi Vila took a close look at school-family dynamics. Here, this professor of developmental psychology and education at the University of Girona stressed the educational need to promote cooperation between families and schools.

His study points out the wide range of positive effects of cooperation. When parents and schools work together, the result are positive for parents, teachers and, or most importantly, students.

Professors Mercedes Mañani and Pedro J. Sánchez (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain) also addressed the issue in a 1997 article. Here, they explained that families have also been the first agent of socialization in children’s livesThis continues until children begin school, around the age of 6. However, this reality has undergone certain changes over time.

Who Is Responsible for Educating Children?

The evolution of responsibilities in educating children due to social changes

The situation that Mañani and Sanchez pointed out in their article has evolved because families themselves have changed:

  • Nowadays we’re encountering a family nucleus that is constantly shrinking… Fewer siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.
  • It’s also become less common for families to get along and spend time together.
  • There has been a large increase in single-parent families.
  • What’s more, many children are attending school at a younger age.

With the passing of time, the socialization of children within their family nucleus is a responsibility that’s falling more and more on parents. Certain social changes have produced negative consequences when it comes to children’s socialization. At the same time, families need to think of new means for the care of their little ones.

“Despite all of this, the family continues to be one of the essential social nuclei that exercises a powerful influence over individuals.”

– Luengo –

Since the beginning of the 20th century, teachers have taught more and more complex materials. At the same time, they use new methods that have nothing to do with what parents experienced when they were in school. This is the result of the fact that pedagogy is constantly becoming more and more specialized.

In consequence, it seems as if parents have less to say about what goes on within schools. Therefore, schools and families are starting to have separate sets of responsibilities. Parents and educators start to look for different objectives, which can lead their relationship into conflict.

Recent years

However, in recent years, this way of seeing things has changed. Many have begun to defend the idea that schools and families have overlapping influences and share the responsibility of educating children. They’re two institutions that must cooperate in the education of children.

“Parents and educators need to redefine their relationships, replacing conflict with cooperation”

– Oliva and Palacios –

The need for families and schools to unite and work together is undeniable. The responsibility of educating children falls equally on both parties, and there are many reasons why.

“Parents have the innate sensitivity necessary to live with children, to listen to the greatest insignificance, to speak with that manner and affection that we, as teachers, sometimes lose, in an excessive pursuit of professionalism.”

– Veci and Jorganes –

At the same time, a parent who participates in a child’s education also encounters advantages:

“He or she can cover their need and right to be more aware of their role as educators and as those who are ultimately responsible for their child’s independence than those parents who do not participate. As teachers, we will be the professionals that help them, but parents should concern themselves as I, a teacher, do with their children.”

– Veci and Jorganes –

Who Is Responsible for Educating Children?


In conclusion, both families and schools have an objective in common: The overall development of young men and women. The responsibility of educating children, therefore, is one that falls equally on teachers and parents.

Sometimes families have a tendency to allow all of this responsibility to fall on teachers. However, the education we give our children should be reinforced at school, and vice versa

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.