Effects of broken homes on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools in Nigeria
1.1 Background to the Study
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2000), defined a home as the house, flat/apartment that an individual live in especially with his/her family. Family is broadly defined as any two people who are related to each other through a genetic connection, adoption, marriage, or by mutual agreement. Family members share emotional and economic bonds (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001). The term nuclear family is used to refer to family members who live together and share emotional, economic, and social responsibilities. The nuclear family is often comprised of a married couple who are parents to their biological or adopted children; all members live together in one household. This type of nuclear family is increasingly referred to by social scientists as an “intact family”, signifying that the family had not been through a divorce, separation, or death of a member (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001).When a family has experienced divorce or death leaving one parent to be primarily responsible for raising the children, they become a single-parent family. (The term broken family and broken home are no longer widely used because of their negative connotation) (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001; Conkline, 2006).
Following the end of marriage, one or both of the ex-spouses may enter a new marriage. Through the process of remarriage, stepfamilies are formed. The second spouse becomes a stepparent to the students for the first marriage. In the family formed by the second marriage, the children from each spouse’s first marriage become step- siblings. Students born or adopted by the couple of the second marriage are half-siblings to the children from the first marriage, since they share one parent in common (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001). In some cases, a stepparent will legally adopt his or her spouse’s children from a previous marriage. The biological father or mother must either be absent with no legal claim to custody, or must grant permission for the stepparent to adopt. In situations where a single parent lives with someone outside of marriage, that person may be referred to as a co-parent. Co-parent is also the name given to the partner in a homosexual relationship who shares the household and parenting responsibilities with a child’s legal adoptive or biological parent (Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, 2001).
Academic performance is an objective score of attainment after a specified instructional programme. Academic performance can be influenced by many factors, but the impact family relationships play on a child’s scholastic achievement alongside the development of the child cannot be overemphasized. This may be associated with tensions in the home, family discord or family instability. All these cumulatively produce an emotionally barren atmosphere in the home.
The gradual development of these problems till its full manifestation directly affects the emotions of growing children especially young adolescents and can adversely disrupt the level of concentration and learning abilities of these children in school. Thus, the family structure a child emanates from can seriously affect the academic performance of an individual especially an adolescent. It has been proven that children from stable homes do better in their academic pursuits in their various schools due to their emotional stability/balance and family than those from unstable or broken homes.
Broken home is a situation that arises when:
(a) a man or woman losses his/her spouse by death;
(b) a manor a woman divorces his/her spouse;
(c) family separation;
(d) single parenting and
(e) never married but with a child/children.
Adolescence is a period of transition between childhood and adulthood. Adolescents bred from this kind of families (broken homes) usually face different forms of emotional problems caused by lack of adequate parental care, serious financial insolvency, unstable/lack of family relationship, perceived and unperceived aggression, less involvement in formal social relations and organised group activities. All these evolve from the family structure and in turn have a very strong impact on the educational attainment in the development of the child.
In Nigeria, particularly among the Yorubas, parental roles are culturally determined. Maternal role is that of child care and home making while paternal role is that of economic responsibilities and discipline of children. Generally it is the responsibility of the family to train and bring up the child in the norms and values of the society. They are to be responsible for the psychological and emotional welfare of the child.
Ondo is one of the centres of social, cultural, and religious diffusion in Ondo state of Nigeria, as such many aspects of the social life of people living in this part of the world is diffused and naturalized there hence we can find families where the parents are practicing different religion with different religious background. Regardless of these religious backgrounds, divorce and separation of various kinds or death of one spouse may leave the roles of child care and or child welfare in the hands of a single parent. When a female or a male decides to produce and rear a child or children outside wedlock, it may result in single parenthood (Ortese, 1998).
In Nigeria, the existence of single parents was formerly unknown and where they existed, they are ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are the fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria (Nwachukwu, 1998). The child is morally upright and emotionally stable when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents. The family is the first socializing agent the child comes in contact with. It has great influence on the child’s physical, mental, and moral development. The family lays the foundation of education before the child goes to school and the personality that the child takes to school is determined by the home. Salami (1998) pointed out that both parents have roles to play in child education. The father is to provide the necessary tools for the educational advancement while the mother is supposed to supplement the father’s efforts in this regard. When the father is absent and the mother is not privileged enough to cater for all the basic needs as well as supervise the academic performance of the child, he/she (the child) will be backward or withdrawn. The same thing occurs when the mother is absent and the father is not privileged enough to cater for all the basic needs as well as supervise the academic performance of the child, he/she (the child) will be backward or withdrawn. (Ortese 1998).
Life in a single parent family can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with the challenges of diminished financial resources (Children’s Defence. Fund 2004), assumptions of new rules and responsibilities, establishment of new patterns in intra-familial interaction and reorganization of routines and schedules (Agulanna, 2000). Brofenbrenner (2006) suggested that the mother’s capability in handling her child after separation was greatly influenced by the assistance and support received from friends, relatives, and the child’s father. Whether or not a child’s parents are married and stayed married has a massive effect on his or her future prosperity and that of the next generation. Unfortunately, the growth in the number of children born into broken homes is increasing bythe day especially in Nigeria (Wegman, 2006). One-parent families were the result of the death of a spouse in the past. Now, most one-parent families are the result of divorce, some are created when unmarried mothers bear children (Munroe & Blum, 1999; Wadsworth, 2002).Most one-parent families, however, eventually became two-parent families through remarriage.
Thus, a step-family is created by a new marriage of a single parent. It may consist of a parent and children and a childless spouse, a parent and children and a spouse whose children live elsewhere, or two joined one-parent families (Ottawa, 2004). In a stepfamily, problems in relations between non-biological parents and children may generate tension; the difficulties can be especially great in the marriage of single parents when the children of both parents live with them as siblings (Keith & Amato, 2001). When a female or a male decides to produce and rear children outside wedlock, it may result in single parenthood, hence a broken family (Ortese, 1999), According to Child Trends (2004), single parent families refer primarily to families in which only one parent is present, but may include some families where both parents are present but unmarried. No-parent families refer to families where neither parent of the child lives in the household. In Nigeria, the existence of single parents was formerly unknown and where they existed, they are ignored as exceptional cases.
However, nowadays, they are the fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria (Nwachukwu, 1999).Marriage involves an emotional and sexual relationship between particular human beings. At the same time, marriage is an institution that transcends the particular individuals involved in it and unites two families (Rebecca, 2000). Therefore, the usual roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife as regards marriage include living together, having sexual relations with one another, sharing economic resources, and being recognized as the parents of their children (Farber et al, 2003). When children see their parents getting along and supporting each other, they will mirror and will likely get along with each other and their friends. This implies that every single ounce of energy that two individuals (husband and wife) put into their relationship will come back to them tenfold through their children (Wadsworth, 2002). It has been argued that the entrance of a new and possibly unwelcome adult into the family can be a source of stress and rivalry for the children (Hetherington & Camara, 1999). Simons (2000) suggests that children may become resentful of the time they lose with the custodial parent as a result of the new partner. Furthermore, dating and remarriage may destroy children’s belief that their parents will remarry.
Remarriage is often confusing for children and adolescent because they must learn to adapt and accept yet another new family structure. However, it is interesting to note that children/adolescents living with step fathers are much more likely to say that their stepfather is a member of their family than they are to include their non-residential biological father as a family member (Furstenber & Nord, 2005 cited in Seltzer, 2004).
Stolba and Amato (2003), however, argue that adolescents’ well-being is not solely associated with the loss of the noncustodial parent. Instead, they conclude that alternative family forms can be suitable for raising adolescents, if they provide support, control and supervision. They however, suggest that extended single-parent households may be less beneficial for younger children. Usually, one of the first impact that divorce/broken home has on a child is a dramatic decline in the standard of living in the custodial household (Bean, Berg &Van Hook, 2005; Duncan, 2004; Ross, 2005). Krantz (1999) suggests that children belonging to lower socio-economic groups after divorce experience greater hardships. Do these hardships, however translate into adjustment problems? Some researchers argue that this decline in socio-economic status is directly linked to a variety of problems experienced by the child, such as psychological maladjustment and behavioural difficulties in school.
However, research has found that across the economic spectrum, children from single parent households/broken homes are more involved in crimes and drugs than kids from two-parent homes Rector (1999). Fincham (2002) suggest that the question of whether boys or girls are more adversely affected is quite complex, and the answer is likely to depend on a host of factors such as the sex of the custodial parent, their parenting style, whether they have remarried, the quality of the parent-child relationship, and the amount of contact with the noncustodial parent. The impact .of parental conflict on children’s post-divorce adjustment has received considerable attention in literature. Most theorists agree that parental conflict, at the very least, provides some negative influences for children’s adjustment to the divorce (Grych & Fincham, 2002).
Based on the observation above and in line with the assumption that economic and social future of many children in most localities is being undermined by cultural practices that promotes widespread divorce amongst couples and brought unnecessary hardship to the growing secondary school students. It is pertinent at this juncture to point out in spite of all the needs expressed as to be met by the students most especially secondary school students, this research also has intended to seek for how much secondary school students is affected in academic achievement, either as a result of his home been stable or broken.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
There is a global awareness of the importance of the home environment on students’ academic achievement. In Nigeria, most home are not intact as a result of issues of incompatibility of the couples, death of a parent and the quest for the oversea trips to make more money, and at times marital infidelity. This has resulted in the separation of couples and children. In some states in the federation, this is quite clear, in that most young ladies abandon their homes, and embark on oversea trips with a view to making money. Some men who travel abroad, abandon their homes and would not communicate with the families back-home so children from such homes are in dilemma, especially in terms of adjustment.
Chador (2008) notes that the environment in which the students come from can greatly influence his performance in school. The effects of broken homes may impact greatly on the internal organization of the family and by extension; effect a child’s emotion, personality and academic achievement. Bearing in mind the role of the family in a child’s education, the failure of the family to perform its duties could hinder the child’s academic achievement. Any nation that is desirous of advancing technologically will no doubt ensure that the future of her future leaders (the adolescents) is well guided, protected and guaranteed.
Finally, a single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child. The teachers commonly describe children from single parent as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractive than children from intact family (Nwachukwu 1998). Thus, this study is designed to find out the influence of broken homes on academic performance of secondary school students in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State. Therefore, this study sought to provide answers to the following questions:
(i) What is the secondary school teacher’s perception on the effect of broken homes on academic performance of students in secondary schools?
(ii) What are the causes of broken home among parents in Nigerian society?
(iii) What are the strategies that can be employing in solving the menace of broken homes in our society?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the effects of broken homes on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools in Nigeria with particular reference to Ondo West local government area of Ondo state. While the specific objectives include:
(i) to find out the impact on the academic of both male and female students in Ondo West local government Area.
(ii) to find out some of the causes of broken homes in Ondo Local Government Area.
(iii) to find out the type of marriages that leads more to broken home.
(iv) to suggest the measures which the government would take in reducing causes of broken homes
1.4 Research Questions
(i) What are the impacts of broken home on the academic achievement of secondary school students in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria?
(ii) What are the causes of broken homes?
(iii) What type of marriage leads more to broken home?
(iv) What measures would the government take in reducing cases of broken homes?
1.5 Assumptions of the study
(i) Broken homes influences the academic achievements of students in the area
(ii) Broken homes causes the poor academic performances of students in the area
(iii) Available type of marriage leads more to broken home
(iv) Measures taking by the government will definitely reduce cases of broken homes
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The purpose of the study is to find out the impact of broken homes on the academic achievement of secondary school students in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria.
Ho1: There is no significant difference between impact of broken homes and the academic of both male and female students in Ondo West local government Area.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between the causes of broken homes and academic achievement of students in Ondo West Local Government Area.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between the type of marriages and broken home.
Ho4: There is no significant difference between the measures which the government would take and reduction in the causes of broken homes
1.7 Significance of the Study
The purpose of this study is to carry out research on possible causes of broken home and its consequences on the academic performance of secondary school students in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State. This is with a view to suggest ways of minimizing and overcoming the problem.
As known by all educators, home play very significant role in child personality formation and socialization, broken homes are identified as one of the factor that undermined the socialization process at home, which consequently affect the performance of student. If the concern of education is to look after socialization process of the child as well as his intellectual development, then this research work would be of great importance to parents and educators that absence of one or both of the parents affect children academic performance. The role of family to come up with solution of ensuring stability in the homes for the betterment of growing students and the society at large is very essential here.
1.8 Research Methodology
The study adopts descriptive research method. Both primary and secondary sources of data are used. The research instrument that was used for data collection for the purpose for the purpose of this study was questionnaire and interview. The questionnaire is divided into two sections A and B. Section (A) seeks the personal data of the respondents, while section (B) seeks the perception of the respondents. The method of data analysis adopted for this study was simple percentage and non-parametric statistics analysis.
1.9 Scope of the Study
The scope and time frame of this research study encompasses the effect of broken homes on the academic performance of students in secondary schools. The study would be carried out in some selected secondary school in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State.
1.10 Limitations to the Study
Factors affecting the researcher’s comprehensiveness and totality in carrying out this study include; scarcity of relevant materials on the issue due to its continuous evolving nature, some questionnaire administered were not returned and most of the respondents failed to respond to some important questions and other tasking engagements and the fact that the crisis was still occurring at the period of research The above challenges would be overcome through persistence and the need to excel in the course of carrying out this study. Relevant stakeholders would be contacted to get relevant information that are required to carry out the study
1.11 Definition of the Terms
Monogamous Marriage: This is type of marriage where the norms retractable individual to one spouse at a time.
Polygamous Marriage: This is the type when the norms permit plural father. This is a man marrying two or more, wives at a time. Polygamous on other hand is on woman marrying two or more husband.
Family: Family is a close and friendly community of people with common origin and interest which are linked by blood relative (consequently) or by legal bound or by marriage.
Marital Problem: This is a situation whereby a couple cannot live peacefully or does not have access to enjoy their matrimonial home for a period of time due to some circumstance.
Broken Home: This is a separation of a couple as a result of inadequate behaviour to each other.
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