There’s got to be a scientific reason as to why livestock kids are such incredible kids. As a whole, they possess such admirable traits at such a young age — polite, compassionate, confident, hard working, and driven. As livestock-minded people, we might immediately attribute this to genetics, and while that may be true to a degree, child psychology shows that it is the parental involvement and the environment in which livestock families raise their children. Here are six reasons psychologists believe the #stockshowlife benefits child development.
EFFECTS OF STRONG PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
- Emotional Health. Compared with peers whose parents are often absent throughout the day, teens whose parents are present when they go to bed, wake up, and come home from school are less likely to experience emotional distress.1 Because stock have to be fed morning and night, and raising livestock is not a one-man project due to its labor intensive nature. Livestock families, more often than not, wake together, work together when the kids come home from school and are together prior to going to bed.
- Self-Esteem. Youth whose parents exhibit love, responsiveness, and involvement tend to have higher levels of self-esteem and internal self-control. Parental love, responsiveness, involvement and non-coercive, democratic discipline had a strong association with adolescent psychosocial development as measured in global self-esteem, feelings of internal control and ability, and susceptibility to negative peer pressure.2 The support and love needed to successfully engage in livestock projects are huge. So much of the time parents and children learn together and work together in hopes to achieve goals. This builds dependency and trust between one another and confidence in one’s self.
- Educational Attainment and Academic Achievement. Students whose parents are more involved with their schooling tend to complete higher levels of education and are more likely to graduate from high school than peers whose parents are not so involved. On average, youths whose parents engage in leisure and educational activities with them achieve better grades than peers whose parents spend less time with them. Students whose teachers reported higher levels of parental involvement were more likely to graduate high school than peers whose parents were not so involved.3 Pre-teens whose parents engaged in activities in the home and outdoors, spent leisure time away from the home with them, shared meals with them, helped with homework or reading, and engaged in other home activities with them earned better grades in school, on average, than peers whose parents spent less time with them.8 Parents of livestock kids have made a decision to embark on activity they know must be tended to multiple times per day rather than during school or a couple of days per week after school. They have a great deal of time, money and sweat invested in their projects and the idea of not being able to participate at a show due to poor grades encourages both student and parental expectation.
- Behavior. On average, adolescents whose parents are more involved in their lives and discuss important decisions with them exhibit lower levels of aggression and antisocial behavior than peers who experience less parental involvement. The greater the parents’ involvement, the lower the level of adolescents’ behavioral problems, both in terms of aggression and antisocial behavior and negative feelings such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 4 When engaging in livestock projects, decisions must be made each day as to how to react and adapt to ever-changing scenarios. These decisions often must be made from relying on and soliciting advice from others. In return, children learn how to interact with peers and adults and create solutions to challenges each and every day.
- Delinquency (Boys). Adolescents who experience supportive and affectionate relationships with their fathers are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior than peers who do not experience such a relationship. Paternal supervision, as well as supportive and affectionate father-son relationships, discourage juvenile delinquency, regardless of a youth’s delinquent friends, perception of trouble in the neighborhood, and/or positive attitudes about breaking the law.5 We love our stock show dads and positive male role models who adorn this industry. The pride that radiates through the agricultural industry when someone of the next generation carries the torch is unexplainable. To encourage young people to do so when there are so many alternatives and options in today’s society takes encouragement and support.
- Tobacco Use and Substance Abuse. On average, adolescents who are strongly connected to their parents and other family members are less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use marijuana. Youth surveyed (grades 7-12) were less likely to smoke cigarettes if they had high levels of connectedness to parents and other family members. Those in grades 9-12 were also less likely to smoke, drink alcohol or use marijuana if their parents were present in the home more often, if they engaged more often in activities with their parents, and if they perceived that their parents had high expectations for their educational attainment.6/7 The amount of time required to effectively raise livestock projects is significant in relation to most extracurricular activities. Due to this and simply the amount of time spent under supervision of adults, youth do not have time to come up with negative activities to occupy their time.
In addition to parental involvement, the environment in which livestock kids are raised greatly contributes to their success as young members of society: constant exposure to outdoor activities, experiencing different cultures and lifestyles through travel, having to care for animals who depend on them for health and wellbeing, the understanding of nutritional needs, financial considerations, etc. All of these would not be possible, however, without parents who have created this environment for their children.
Thank you stock show moms, dads, teachers and mentors who create this environment, who put in the time and who choose to guide our next generation to greatness!