Adolescents Attitude to Parental Discipline
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the attitude of adolescents towards parental discipline in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Objectives of the Study
This research study sought to:
- Find out the factors that influence parental discipline in Port Harcourt,
- Establish the influence of parental discipline on adolescents involvement in problem behaviours in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
- Determine the influence of involvement in behaviour problems on adolescents attitude in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
- Find out the relationship between parental discipline and adolescents attitude in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
In this chapter, the researcher reviews relevant literature covering factors that influence parenting, influence of parental discipline on adolescents‟ involvement in problem behaviour problems, influence of involvement in behaviour problems on adolescents‟ academic performance and the attitude of adolescents towards parental discipline.
- An In-depth Conceptual Analysis
As this study is about the adolescent experience of parental discipline, it is necessary to take an in-depth look at the adolescent himself in order to gain a more holistic view of the members of this age group and understand the inner workings of their psyches better.
Dacey (in Ferreira, 1991: 11) defines the adolescent as a child between 11 and 19 years of age, who is in search of personal identity. He is becoming aware of differences in identity and behaviour and therefore he has to experiment with different ways in order to accept or reject them and form an ideology of his own. Adolescence does not end before an own identity has evolved. In essence, ‘adolescence’ means ‘growing toward’ or ‘developing’.
This development brings about the typical moodiness, restlessness, self-centredness and inclination to criticize of the adolescent. These qualities all form part of the inner turmoil of the adolescent, as he is in the process of personality growth (Lingren, H., 1995a: 4).
One of the most significant theories regarding adolescence, is that of Erik Erikson (in Gouws et al., 2000: 65-66).
According to Erikson, both genetic and environmental factors influence the development of the human personality. The individual has to go through eight stages, each characterised by a conflict of two opposite poles that the person has to resolve. During each phase, previous crises again have to be worked through. Synthesis is reached when the development crisis has been resolved.
Briefly, the stages are as follows:
- Phase 1: Trust versus mistrust (synthesis: hope) ( 1st year of life)
- Phase 2: Autonomy versus reticence and doubt (synthesis: will-power) (2nd year of life)
- Phase 3: Initiative versus guilt (synthesis: goal-directedness) (3rd to 6th year)
- Phase 4: Productiveness versus inferiority (synthesis: proficiency) (6th to 12th year)
- Phase 5: Identity versus role diffusion (synthesis: dependability) (12th to 18th year)
- Phase 6: Intimacy versus isolation (synthesis: love) (19th to 40th year)
- Phase 7: Generativity versus stagnation (synthesis: providence) (40th to 65th year)
- Phase 8: Integrity versus despair (synthesis: wisdom) (65 to death)
From the above it can be seen that stage 5 concerns the conflict of identity versus role confusion of adolescence (12 – 18 years of age). The teenager must establish a sense of identity in occupation, gender roles, politics and religion. The adolescent should search for his own identity, separate from his parents, and that is why the forming of peer relationships is of vital importance during adolescence.
The crisis of identity in opposition to identity diffusion is the centrepiece of Erikson’s theory. (Gouws et al., 2000: 65-66; Cramer et al., http://facultyweb.cortland.edu/~ANDERSMD/ERIK/sum.HTML)
It is clear that the end of adolescence cannot be determined by age alone, as each individual cannot be expected to resolve the crises and tasks expected of him at the same pace. Many adults have not yet mastered all the tasks expected of the adolescent.
From a social point of view, adolescence ends when certain adult roles are taken on, such as starting out on a career, getting married and starting a family. Psychologically, adolescence comes to an end when a person has found his own identity, become emotionally independent of his parents, formed an own set of values and is capable of having an adult love relationship (Gouws et al., 2000: 2-3).
Robert Havighurst (in http://education.indiana.edu/cas/devtask.html) identifies eleven developmental tasks that are part of the adolescent’s normal transition to adulthood:
- The adolescent must adjust to the physical changes in himself and come to a new sense of his physical self.
- The adolescent develops an abstract thinking ability about his world. One of his tasks is, therefore, to adjust to these new intellectual abilities.
- In high school, more demands are made on abstract thinking and the adolescent must adjust to these increased cognitive demands.
- The adolescent must develop new verbal skills to communicate the more complex concepts and tasks that he is now capable of.
- During adolescence he becomes aware of an identity separate to that of his parents. The awareness of his uniqueness forces the adolescent to develop a personal sense of identity.
- The adolescent must determine career-orientated goals.
- After the strong dependence on parents during childhood, the adolescent needs to start developing independence and individuality.
- Peer interaction reaches a peak during adolescence, and because peer acceptance contributes to the adolescent’s successful social and psychological development, the adolescent must establish stable and meaningful peer relationships.
- With the adolescent’s new sense of physical and sexual maturity, he needs to incorporate a new set of attitudes and values into his personal identity. A developmental task is thus, to learn to manage his sexuality.
- After the acceptance of parents’ structured set of rules during childhood, the adolescent becomes aware of other conflicting sets of values. He must restructure his earlier beliefs into a personal value system.
- In the transition to adulthood, many adolescents engage in risky behaviours. As development progresses, the adolescent must develop greater impulse control and behavioural maturity.
To these can be added that the adolescent should develop empathy towards others, as well as some degree of wisdom, integrity, reliability and compassion. (Gouws et al. 2000: 2 – 3)
Adolescence is often divided into 3 stages:
Early adolescence (13 – 14 years old), in which a confusing transition from childhood to adulthood takes place (Comstock in Marshall, 2001: 2). In this phase many physical changes occur:
- growth takes place
- body composition starts changing
- both the circulatory and the respiratory systems start changing
- the primary and secondary sex characteristics start developing (Marshall in Figgs, 2001:2)
This chapter presents the research methodology used in this study. The chapter gives details of the research design, locale, population, sampling techniques and sample size determination. The chapter also describes research instruments, data collection and data analysis.
Research Design and Locale
In this section, the research design, variables and study locale are discussed.
This research study used mixed method of research that made use of descriptive and correlational research designs. Descriptive design allows for extensive data collection on a large population within a short period of time, determining and reporting the way things are (Creswell, 2012).
Qualitative data was collected from parents using interview schedule. The data provided information on the influence of parental discipline on adolescents‟ behaviour problems, the influence of involvement in behaviour problems on academic performance and the relationship between parental discipline and adolescents‟ academic performance. Qualitative data was collected from adolescents using questionnaires (appendix B) and provided information on factors that influence parental discipline, influence of parental discipline on adolescents‟ behaviour problems, influence of involvement in behaviour problems on adolescents‟ academic performance and the relationship between parental discipline and adolescents‟ academic performance.
FINDINGS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSIONS
This chapter begins with a discussion on general demographic information of the adolescents. Findings of the study on: factors that influence parental discipline, the influence of parental discipline on adolescent‟s behaviour problems, the influence of involvement in behaviour problems on adolescents‟ academic performance and the relationship between parental discipline and adolescents‟ academic performance are then presented in the sections that follow.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter presents a summary of the findings for each study objective. It also presents the conclusions and recommendations drawn from the findings.
The main purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among parental discipline and adolescents attitude in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. In relation to objective 1, the findings of the study revealed that several factors influenced parental discipline. These factors were: media and modern technology, socio-economic factors, dual career and tight schedules, availability and accessibility of drugs and substances, structural and lifestyle changes, family conflicts and divorce, daily stresses and family conflicts.
The findings further revealed that majority of parents were dual career parents who were away most of the time with tight schedules. Children were left alone or with house-helps most of the time and this led them to spend most of their time watching television, listening to music and surfing the internet through their mobile telephones. Parents did not spend quality time with their children and this affected their ability to nurture them. Family conflicts such as quarrels, parental separation/divorce and other family feuds affected how parents related with their children. The findings also revealed that family crises such as financial challenges, sickness and death of a family member affected the way parents brought up their children.
In relation to objective 2, the findings from both parents and adolescents revealed that majority of parents used authoritative parenting style and less than a quarter of parents used permissive parenting style. Very few parents used either authoritarian or neglectful parental discipline. Majority of adolescents of authoritative parents have never been involved in behaviour problems and in general, adolescents of authoritative parents were less involved in behaviour problems as compared to those of authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved/neglectful parents.
The findings from parents revealed that all of them tried to find out about their children‟s whereabouts when they were not in school, the activities they were involved in and knew their children‟s friends. More than a quarter of parents set the time their children were to be back home when they went out. About half of the parents did not know parents of their children‟s friends and those who knew them was because those parents were family friends. More than half of the parents restricted the type of clothes and hair styles their children wore and controlled use of household gadgets such as television, radio, computer/internet and mobile telephones.
Findings from adolescents indicated that slightly more than half of their parents demanded to know their whereabouts when they were not at school and more than half of the parents monitored their activities. This information differed with the information that parents gave on the same. Majority of parents supervised their children as they did their homework and very few parents did complete homework for their children. However, both adolescents and parents concurred that all parents knew their children‟s friends, reminded them about homework, but did not spend quality time together.
Findings from parents revealed that majority of them sat down with their children to discuss consequences of children‟s mistakes and more than a half of the parents promised rewards for change of behaviour. Findings from adolescents revealed that majority of parents were not consistent with disciplining them or punishing them when they made mistakes. Findings from parents revealed that all of them attended school open days and a majority of them made visits to school to discuss academic performance and progress. However, adolescents revealed that only almost a half of the parents attended school open days or visited school, contrary to parents‟ claims.
In relation to objective 3, findings of the study revealed that less than a quarter of the children reported to have engaged in various behaviour disorders such as: drug and substance abuse, teenage sex, student unrest, truancy, dropping out of school and aggression. There were more adolescents who reported to have been involved in aggression related behaviours. However, less than a quarter of parents reported that their children were involved in drug and substance related behaviour problems.
Majority of the parents reported that they did not know whether their children engaged in any behaviour problems.
All parents reported that behaviour disorders negatively affected academic performance with majority reporting that adolescents who engaged in behaviour problems lost out on studies, had less concentration in their class work and hence performed poorly in academics. The study findings also revealed that involvement in behaviour problemshad a negative influence onadolescents‟ academic performance as majority of them performed averagely and about a quarter of the adolescents performed less than average in academics. This therefore indicated that behaviour problems were negatively correlated with academic performance.
Authoritative parenting was found to be positively correlated with academic performance. However, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved or neglectful parental discipline were found to be negatively correlated with adolescents‟ academic performance.
Several conclusions were drawn from this study. First, although previous research has proven that parenting style has a direct correlation with adolescents‟ involvement in problem behaviour and academic performance, a number of factors influence the parental discipline that parents adopt to bring up their children. Some of these factors include: media and modern technology, dual career and tight schedules family conflicts, divorce, daily stresses, family crises and socio-economic factors.
Second, a majority of parents used authoritative parenting style in bringing up their children with a few of them using permissive and authoritarian parental discipline. The findings indicated that parental discipline influenced adolescents‟ involvement in behaviour problems but, children of parents who used authoritative parenting style showed fewer behaviour problems and high academic performance compared to adolescents of parents who used other parental discipline. The findings also indicated that compared to other parental discipline, a majority of adolescents with neglectful parents engaged in behaviour problems.
Third, the findings on the influence of involvement in behaviour problems on adolescents‟ academic performance revealed that some adolescentshad involvement in behaviourproblems although majority of parents were not aware. The findings also revealed that these behaviour problems had a negative influence on academic performance.
Fourth, the findings showed that authoritative parenting style was positively correlated with academic performance and compared to other parental discipline, adolescents of parents who used authoritative parental discipline performed better academically. Authoritarian, permissive and neglectful/uninvolved parental discipline were found to be negatively correlated with adolescents‟ academic performance.
Three types of recommendations are made in this section: recommendations to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, recommendations for parents that are viewed necessary and may help in bringing up children who are well behaved, adjusted and achieve good grades in their academic performance. The third one is recommendations for further research.
- Recommendations for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology The following suggestions are for the Ministry of Education, Science and
- A policy on education of adolescents with emotional and behaviour problems should be
- Teachers should be given in-service training courses on emotional and behaviour This will equip teachers with necessary attitude, knowledge and skills to manage adolescents with behaviour problems.
- Educators should use the findings of this study to re-think about typical advice given to parents for promoting the development of the
Recommendations for Parents
The following recommendations arising from the study findings have been suggested to parents.
- Parents need to understand their children as capable individuals who have the abilities and tools to influence their own destinies. Therefore, parents should provide an atmosphere that allows children to make informed decisions and More so, parents should strive to know their children‟s whereabouts and monitor their activities as this can protect children from engaging in behaviour disorders.
- Parents should allow their children to take initiative in exploring and understanding their environment as this can serve as a platform to prepare them to excel academically, socially, emotionally and psychologically. Parents should also seek better and effective ways of controlling what their children access through media and more especially internet on mobile telephones. They should also keep their children busy with constructive activities when they are not in school to keep them from engaging in behavioural disorders.
- Parents should take up their parental roles seriously and avoid delegating them house-helps and teachers. Therefore, they should have regular meetings with teachers or make telephone calls to talk about their children‟s academic performance and general Parents should work hand in hand with teachers to identify their children‟s behaviour disorders and work together to discipline them.
- Parents should purpose and dedicate quality time with their children, dialogue with them, listen to their concerns and address them effectively. Additionally, parents should seek to know their children‟s friends, their places of residence and possibly the parents of their children‟s
- Parents need to be close and friendly to their children from a young age. In addition to this, parents should: Supervise their children‟s school work, such as
- Listen to what people say about their
- Encourage their children to go to
- Provide their children with basic needs especially school items
- Be honest about economic/financial situation and not
- Encourage their children to join youth groups especially religious ones, send them to church/religious camps and encourage them to attend church, family functions and seminars.
- Be exemplary role models to their children and model good behaviours such as honesty and truthfulness.
- Be consistent in the way they deal with their children‟s
- Listen to their children and accommodate their ideas in family matters whenever
- Find out the root cause of bad behaviour and look for professional ways of
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