Parent and Caregiver Voices

Real Stories, Real Families

Why do parents and caregivers support social and emotional learning (SEL) for their children? We partnered with families across the country to answer that question. 

Have a listen as seven caregivers share why they believe in an education that prioritizes SEL. We believe their stories will inspire more caregivers to support the development of social and emotional competencies for the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Real Stories, Real Families was made possible with the generous support of the Allstate Foundation.

Meet Jason Miller (Ohio)

"It's really up to us to continue to cultivate the skills at a relevant age - while also doing the same work for ourselves as parents."

Tune in: 2 mins, 48 secs

Meet April Ybarra (California)

“My daughter has to know the 'why'. For her teacher to recognize it as a strength and value her for being curious was heartfelt.”

Tune in: 2 mins, 17 secs

Meet Shara Ayers (Tenn.)

“Social and emotional learning contributes to who you are, what you do, the things you say, and how you act.”

Tune in: 2 mins, 19 secs

Meet Mari Terczak (Michigan)

"Social and emotional learning is a true extension of our parenting values and our parent goals - at the very heart of them."

Tune in: 2 mins, 24 secs

Meet Xiaohong Li (Illinois)

“With SEL, you can build up solutions for any problem, any challenges, any goal, or any dream you want.”

Tune in: 2 mins, 3 secs

Meet April Williams (Georgia)

“I want my boys to be able to understand how they’re feeling in a moment and what it is that they need.”

Tune in: 2 mins, 22 secs

Meet Mike Wilson (Texas)

“It’s important for my girls to understand how they feel about a particular topic, even if it’s against the majority.”

Tune in: 2 mins, 6 secs

The Majority of Parents Support SEL

Make no mistake: Attempts to ban social and emotional learning in schools do not reflect the will of parents.

Hundreds of independent studies have demonstrated what parents know intuitively – social and emotional learning translates into higher academic achievement, mental wellness, and long-term well-being. That’s why overwhelming majorities of parents across the political aisle have repeatedly demanded social and emotional learning in schools. 

If we want our children to stay motivated in school, succeed in the workplace, contribute to their communities, and achieve their goals, then we should be supporting social and emotional learning.

  • of parents want their students to learn social and emotional skills like respect, cooperation, perseverance, and empathy. (National PTA, 2022)
  • of parents say social and emotional learning creates a positive classroom environment where children learn the skills they need to succeed – in school and their future. (Benenson Strategy Group, 2022)

  • of parents said social and emotional learning has become even more important since the pandemic (McGraw Hill, 2021)

Children’s First SEL Teachers

Parents and caregivers play an important role in teaching and demonstrating social and emotional skills through conversations and interactions.
  • Self-awareness: How we identify our emotions and thoughts, and understand how they influence our behavior.
  • Self-management: How we manage our emotions and thoughts, including managing stress, setting goals, and staying motivated.
  • Social awareness: How we understand and empathize with others.
  • Relationship skills: How to establish, maintain, and grow healthy and supportive relationships.
  • Responsible decision-making: How we make caring and constructive choices, while also understanding the consequences of action or inaction.