Impact of Single-Parenting on Academic Achievement of Students in Selected Secondary Schools
Purpose of the Study
This study therefore investigated the effect of single-parenting on academic achievement of students in Mainland Local Government Area schools and how they affected in the academic performance of students in schools.
The following undermentioned are the specific objectives of this study:
(1) To establish whether students’ attitude to academic work is influenced by single-parenting.
(2) To evaluate the academic achievement of students from intact home and those from single-parent homes.
(3) To ascertain if students from single-parenting exhibit juvenile delinquency syndrome in our society.
(4) To determine whether students from mother-only families perform better academically than those from father-only homes.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
CONCEPT OF SINGLE-PARENTING
Single parenting can be defined as a situation whereby only one of the two individuals involved in the conception of the child is being responsible for the upbringing of the child. Single parenting may arise when either the male or the female parent decides to produce and rear a child or children outside wedlock (Coontz .F 2017).
In Nigeria, the existence of single parenting was unknown and where they existed, they were ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria. In Nigeria, especially among the Yorubas, the parental roles are culturally determined and distributed. The maternal roles are that of child-rearing, home training and playing complementary roles, while the paternal roles are that of economic responsibilities and discipline of the children. The child is morally and mentally upright, and is emotionally balance when both parents carry out the caring responsibilities.
Single parenting is a very important social issue that can have significant effects on a child’s academic success. The family structure, ideally, provides a sense of security and stability that is necessary for children. When there is breakdown in the family structure, it may have a tremendous impact on a child and his/her ability to function ordinarily or achieve academically.
Clayton (2017) as cited by Omolayo (2013) opined that parental separation usually brings a big blow on adolescents. Parental separation also leads to fall in standard of living and in some cases of adoption; there are some surrogate families that are unnecessarily hostile, uncaring, and insensitive to the adolescents’ needs.
Taking a look into how God ordained and organized the structure of the family, He never gave consent to the concept of “avoidable” single parenting. Both parents have spiritual duties to perform for the spiritual upbringing of their children. Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-6,
“Have you not read.” he answered, “that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female”, and said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh? Thus they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Montgomery’s New Testament)
CAUSES OF SINGLE-PARENTING
Single parenting is caused by so many factors. It is pathetic that most of these factors leave a great scar and bitter experience on the single parent and the child (or children). Some of the causes of single parenting are:
1.DEATH: This is the termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. The death of a marriage partner results in single parenting, and this is a very painful experience for the other partner and the child (or children). Death causes a lot of serious crises in the family. In most cases when the father dies, the mother will be left with the great responsibilities of nurturing the child (or children), and the immensity of this task may weigh her down, making her almost helpless. The death of a parent makes the child emotionally imbalance, unnecessarily wicked and bitter, and sometimes feel inferior to his/her peers.
2.DIVORCE: This is the official termination of a marriage in a law court. Both partners may wish to end their marriage, and they both will be placed under some legal terms and conditions concerning the caring of their children. Divorce tears the family members apart. It leads to change of hopes for children, because in most cases, they are the worst-hit. The child (children) will be meant to live with one parent, thus, leading to single-parenting.
3.LONG-TERM IMPRISONMENT: When a partner is convicted in the law court and sentenced to long-term imprisonment (and if possible, life imprisonment) for a crime committed, the other partner will be left with the responsibilities of caring for the child (or children), especially when the other partner decides to remain faithful to the marriage. Children found in such homes feel bitter and inferior, and most of their mates tag them “criminal’s child”, which affects them emotionally and spoils their confidence.
4.NATURAL DISASTER: Natural disasters like earthquakes, wars, floods, tsunami, volcanic eruption, drought and famine, etc. may lead to separation of marriage partners because when things like these happen, each individual fights for his/her survival and such competition leads to the survival of the fittest. Men lose their wives (and very possibly, children), women also lose their husbands, and this experience is somewhat pathetic.
5.NATURE OF ONE PARTNER’S JOB: In this contemporary Nigerian society, we can find a lot of families that are not compact (together) due to the nature of the occupation of either the husband or the wife. Although money is not a problem in such homes, but children are vulnerable to emotional instability and there will be imbalance in the discipline of such children.
6.RAPE: Rape is the crime of using force to have sexual intercourse with somebody. This is mostly common to teenage girls. This is a great crime that is punishable under law. Rape most times leads to unwanted pregnancy, which leads to childbearing at the inappropriate time/stage of one’s life. The mother may hate the child. Women who are raped suffer a sense of violation that goes beyond physical injury.
7.FAMILY INTRUSION: This is mostly common in the southern parts of Nigeria. The “mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law” conflict is the most common. This may lead to maltreatment of the wife, which may eventually force her out of her matrimonial home, leading to single-parenting.
8.LONG-TERM ILLNESS: The long-term illness of a man’s/woman’s partner may render him/her helpless and useless in the responsibility of caring for the children. Such illnesses consume the financial income of the home, and children in such families don’t have the privilege to attend the best schools, buy the best textbooks, and other learning materials.
The design used for this study is descriptive survey. The survey research technique was used.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
There are about 50 Public secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. But for the purpose of this research, ten secondary schools were selected. The ten schools selected have a population of 2000 senior secondary students.
ANALYSIS OF DATA AND DISCUSSION
This chapter deals with the analysis of data in order to highlight the perceived impacts of single parenting on students’ Academic achievement of senior secondary school students in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Information about their family background were also collected.
The data was presented and analyzed based on the research questions. Personal data of the respondents were also analyzed.
Section A showed the personal characteristics of the respondents and their families which are class, age, sex, father’s occupation, mother’s occupation, number of children in the family, and religion. Section B indicated the distribution of respondents according to their personal opinions to the fixed-response questions they were asked. This is done to know the actual answer and to achieve the specific objectives of this study.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This study has helped to reveal the devastating effects of single parenting on the Academic achievement of senior secondary students in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. This study also reveals that, apart from their poor performances in , children from single-parent homes face a lot of emotional distress that hamper their self-confidence and simultaneously affect their rate of socialization.
Based on the analyses made in chapter four, it was discovered that children from single-parent homes find it difficult to pay their school fees and buy textbooks and other learning materials on time. Many of them even miss classes because of their inability to pay their school fees on time. Their poor performances can also be attributed to their lack of textbook and lack of support from their single parents in terms of tutoring.
Many of the respondents also believe that children from single-parent homes easily lose interest and concentration in classes and when studying at home, in schools, or in the library. This may be due to the fact that they are teenagers, and they really understand the challenges their single parents face, which makes them feel insecure and restless. They are easily afraid and may be made to carry out some responsibilities not meant for them, like engaging in menial jobs, petty trading, while some even go to work in farms so as to find means of livelihood.
This study has also helped to reveal that children from single parents do not perform well in assignments, obviously, because their parents do not have time for them. They also perform poorly in tests and examinations, apparently due to their poor preparation for those tests and examinations.
This study reveals that the educational achievement of a child mostly depends on the orientation and kind of encouragement the child gets from home. The family is the first and fundamental agent of socialization. Therefore, before the child is exposed to the outside society, the home must have prepared him/her to some extent, as a saying that goes thus: “Charity begins at home”.
The home has either positive or negative effects on the child. If the child finds happiness, peace, joy, unity, cooperation, and support in the home, such a child will be motivated to acquire mathematical knowledge and skills, and if not, the reverse will be the case. As a result of this, students from intact homes who are provided with good learning environment and materials and extra coaching classes to complement what they have been taught in school tend to perform better in than those from single-parent homes that are deprived of such support.
The following points should be put into consideration to alleviate, to a great extent, the dangerous effects of single parenting on the Academic achievement of in senior secondary students.
- Pre-marital counseling should be emphasized and done properly in counseling centres. This will help prospective couples to know the adverse effects that incessant quarrels and separation can have on the personality and achievement of their children.
- Marriage seminars should be organized by all sectors of the society and the seminars should be handled by professional and experienced experts. This would help to minimize disunity in families and couples should be encouraged to attend before and during married life.
- Marital disunity is a major cause of single parenting. Therefore, to avoid this, parents should tolerate, accommodate, appreciate, and understand each other in marriage. Forces of disunity should be ignored, de-emphasized, if not eliminated. Both parents should try to stay together for the sake of good upbringing of their children. Whenever there is problem in the home, the couple should try to see the counselor for a help or otherwise, settle the problems within themselves amicably.
- Married couples should avoid misunderstanding in the presence of their children as this might endanger the security and confidence of the child. They should learn to love, respect, care, tolerate, and understand each other so as to establish a good and sound relationship in the home.
- The government should help to fight against environmental hazards and crimes like rape and sexual harassment/molestation. This will help to create a safe environment for learning and families will be at peace. War against rape and sexual molestation will stop the birth of fatherless and unwanted babies.
- The government should give adequate attention and support to students from single-parent homes.
- Students of single parenthood should be encouraged on the three basic dimensions of self-concepts, namely; sense of belonging, sense of worth and sense of competence. They need a positive identity or an enhanced self-concept for the overall adjustment.
- Religious organizations should discourage their adherents from divorcing their marriage partners.
- Teachers should recognize, understand, respect, and treat the educational needs of their students from single-parent homes. They should not see them as objects of ridicule, and should always protect from oppression and intimidation that may come from their mates from intact homes. They should help children from single- parent homes to develop their confidence and skills for survival and sustenance.
- National Orientation Agency (NOA) should carry out campaigns against divorce and should enlighten all Nigerians on the bad effects of disunity in families on individual and national development.
- Adebola K (2013) Single-parent family structure, psychological, social and Ainley et al, Socio- economic Status and School Education
- Amato (2013) .Demographic factors and students’ academic achievement in and Technology Management, 7(2), 01 ‐ 14 Augustina Chigozie was reported in vanguard newspaper on 4th of March
- Alokan, F.B. (2010). Influence of Sex and Location on Relationship between student problems and Academic Performance. The Social Sciences (TSS), 5(4), 340 – 345.
- Giddens, A. & Sutton,P. (2012).Sociology. Retrieved from https://www.polity.co.uk/giddens7/studentresource/guides/ag10.asp
- Amato, P. R., & Keith, B. (2013).Parental divorce and well-being of children.Psychological Bulletin, 110(1), 26-46.
- Anderson, K. (2002). Broken homes, Broken Hearts.Leadership University, http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/broken.html, Retrieved on 21/01/2014.