Parent-child conflict during homeschooling in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: A key role for mothers' self-efficacy in teaching

Contemp Educ Psychol. 2022 Jul;70:102083. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2022.102083. Epub 2022 Jun 23.


To contain the COVID-19 pandemic schools have been closed in many countries. Children stayed at home and were assisted by their parents with their schoolwork. Evidently, homeschooling puts extra demands on parents. We presumed that parents' sense of efficacy in teaching would play a key role in how they cope with this extra task of homeschooling. In particular, we hypothesized that parental characteristics (level of parental education and stress) and social contextual factors (household chaos and school support) would contribute to parents' teaching self-efficacy and that, in turn, a lower efficacy would result in more parent-child conflict during home schooling. Participants were 173 mothers of children in kindergarten or early elementary schools, who provided information for one of their children about interpersonal conflicts around schoolwork before and during school closure. Additionally, they reported on their self-efficacy in teaching, perceived stress during lockdown, home chaos, and school support. Path analyses indicated that mothers' perceived stress and household chaos were associated with a lower sense of efficacy in teaching, whereas school support, but not level of parental education, was related to a higher level of teaching self-efficacy. Higher levels of self-efficacy beliefs, in turn, were associated with a lower degree of mother-child conflict during schoolwork, even after controlling for prior levels of conflict. We discuss how the results of this study might be used to foster parents' self-efficacy in teaching and thereby decrease the amount of parent-child conflict during parents' support with schoolwork.

Keywords: COVID-19; Homeschooling; Parental self-efficacy in teaching; Parent–child conflict.