THE EFFECT OF BROKEN HOMES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS

CHAPTER ONE

1.0                                            INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The family is the child’s first place of contact with the world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family. Agulana (2000) pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Structurally, family/homes is either broken or intact. A broken home in this context is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one of parent and illegitimacy. According to Frazer (2004), psychological home conditions arise mainly from illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken homes, divorce and parental deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the home, are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child he asserts.

Life, in a single parent family or broken home can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources (children defense find 2004). Schults (2006) noted that if adolescents from unstable homes are to be compared with those from stable homes, it would be seen that the former have more social, academic and emotional problems. Rochlke (2003) is of the opinion that the family and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. Levin (2001) states that parents are probably the actor with the clearest undimentionals interest in a high level of their children’s academic performance. To some extent, there is simple evidence to show the marital instability brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and frustration obviously, these manifestations act negatively on a child’s academic performance.

Johnson (2005) asserts that children of unmarried parents separated families often fail and are at risk emotionally. However, this may not be completely applicable in all cases of broken homes. Some children irrespective of home background or structure may work hard and become successful in life. Moreover, Ayodele (2007) stated that the environment where a child finds himself/herself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school. The influence of sex (gender) on academic performance has also been an issue of concern to most researchers. This is because ‘gender’ appears to have some powerful effect on learning.

According to Fauto-Sterling(2005) and Friedman(2005) suggest no significant difference in cognitive ability between males and females. Although research results vary widely the following conclusions have been drawn. Males are more abstract learners, females have more anxiety about study success, males are more instructive, and females are more analytical and organized (Bielinskia & Davison 2003). Okoye(2008) postulated that sex differences may have little or no effect on academic performance, rather, he submits that eventual achievement by learners is predicted more on personal effort than sex variable.

However, the overall picture suggests that males and females may learn differently. In the same vein, socio-economic background is another factor that may affect academic performance of students. This background refers to the parent’s educational attainment, occupation, level of income and social class placement. When a child’s needs are not properly addressed, his learning ability could be affected due to lack of motivation.

Generally, the home has been identified as an overwhelming factor affecting students’ performance academically. It would appear, then, that broken homes may present a very serious danger to the emotional, personality, and mental adjustment of the young adolescent. This impinges on students’ academic achievement. Other variable to consider in this study is the personality development of the child. We define personality as the sum total of the man or woman, as he or she impresses other men and women. We must learn what part personality plays in the three main areas of human life activities: love and marriage, career, and social relations. According to Freud, the personality is a trinity consisting of  ego and superego. The id is a reservoir of psychic energy and the source of the human instincts. It furnishes the power that sustains a person’s activities.

 The ego is a special part of the id which keeps the individual in touch with the outside world, and finds outlets for the expression of his instincts. The superego is a kind of moral censor which passes judgment on the individual’s strivings according to the standards which he has acquired from his parents. It makes him feel guilty when he goes against those standards, and proud of himself when he lives up to them. According to Jung, the personality consists of six parts: the ego, the personal unconscious, the collective unconscious, the persona, the anima, and the shadow.

The ego requires little explanation. It is what is more generally known as the conscious mind. It is made up of conscious perceptions, memories, thoughts and feelings. The personal unconscious consists of experiences which have been repressed or forgotten, but which can under certain circumstances be recalled. The collective unconscious is a storehouse of ancestral memories which is common to the whole race. The personal is that side of ourselves which we choose to display to society.

The personal is thus a mask which often hides the true nature of the personality. The anima is the feminine side of a man’s personality. Its counterpart is the masculine side of a woman’s personality, which is known as the animus. The shadow is the animal side of man’s nature. In Jung’s view the personality looks not only backwards to its racial past, but also forwards to a goal, which is the development of a unified whole known as the self. The self or psyche, according to Jung, has four basic functions, which are present in every individual. These are thought, feeling, sensation and intuition. Thought seeks to understand the world on the basis of a true-false evaluation; feeling apprehends it on the basis of a pleasant-unpleasant evaluation; sensation perceives things through the senses; intuition perceives them through an inner awareness. Jung (1900) says that the personality reveals two attitudes. They are introversion and extraversion.

The introvert is influenced by what he finds within himself. The extravert takes his bearings from what lies outside himself. The essence of Adler’s theory (1998) of personality is the doctrine of a creative self, which asserts that man makes his own personality out of the raw materials of heredity and experience. Adler’s conception of the nature of personality thus coincides with the popular idea that man can be the master, and not the victim, of his fate. Alder says that the individual’s style of life or law of movement is an expression of his total personality. The style of life is the individual’s characteristic way of reacting to the situations that confront him in life. It is pertinent therefore, to understand the basic principles of development and personality development. Personality development is the developing a personality cult so as to create a strong positive impression about self with the targeted group, or in general; and more pertinent aspect of such personality are to maintain and prove in a long run.

The basic principles of development according to Lawes and Eddy (2006) have outlined four basic principles of child development. These are:

1. Children differ greatly in their rate of development, one may develop rapidly another much slowly.

2. A child may vary in his own rate of growth: at some time during his childhood, he may develop rapidly; at others he may be making little progress.

3. Different aspects of growth may proceed at different rates, for example, mental growth may not be as rapid as physical growth.

4. Despite the different rates of growth, each child passes through the same stages in the same order, for example, each crawls before he walks, speaks before reading, etc.

It therefore, calls for social development of the children in school. Children need to be helped to achieve satisfying social relations with their peers and adult members of the community. Piaget (2000) has distinguished three stages of social development in children- Egocentric. (This is the first stage where the child is impervious to social stimulation from without), Social communication (at this stage the child makes a conscious effort to enter into real social communication) and the Reciprocity and mutual respect between persons. Piaget observed that in the children he studied, the sequence of these stages of social development varies with different socio- economic groups, cultures and sometimes gender. The school and the home must provide conditions favorable for social development of children to excel in their academic pursuit.

Children should be assisted to achieve socially acceptable pattern rather than the repression of their emotion for emotional feelings and expression in life. So far the researcher has examined the influence of broken homes on academic performance and personality development of adolescence, but who is an adolescent?

It could recall that adolescence is a transitory period between childhood and adulthood. During this period, an individual is seen neither as a child nor as an adult. Hall(1904) claimed that adolescents are characterized by emotional instabilities and hyper-activities, which cause them to experience storms and stress. Erickson (1965), opined that identity formation creates tension in the

adolescents to the extent that some of them become confused about their personality. According to Brown, Berriel and Russel (2006). Adolescence refers to the period of growth between the ages 12 and 21 years which shows very rapid social expansion. It is the era of peer group when the child spends most of his days with others of his age.

It is the “transition period” from childhood to adulthood. It can be likened to “a bridge” which children have to cross in order to get to the final stage of human development because it is often characterized by significant physical and physiological changes. The period of adolescence between two extremes in the continuum of human growth and, developmental stages (childhood and adulthood) often puts the youngsters in dilemma of how to meet the society’s expectations. Coping with adolescents in Nigerian schools demand a thorough understanding of the peculiarities of this age group which according to Durojaiye (1972) is an era of identity crises when the young person begins to ask such question as “Who am I? Where am I?

Crow and Crow (1962) on the other hand refer to children at adolescence as the “terrible teens”. They need the help of understanding adults in coping with the various physiological and psychological changes that they experience which give rise to a host of other problems. The period of adolescence is very important to the development of an individual. Any laxity on the part of parents’ in assisting and guiding the adolescents may result in academic backwardness and development of unwholesome behavous, the foundation of what a person becomes in the society is laid in the home and at the initial stage of life.

Parents therefore have important roles to play in ensuring that the youths acquire the appropriate social, psychological, moral and academic development. They are required to be alive to their responsibility in providing sex education for their children at home. However, the school through the Parents Teachers Association could assist in enlightening parents on their roles in helping adolescents experience a smooth transition into adulthood.

Academic performance is the seen as the knowledge attained or skills, shown in the school subject. To indicate such achievement, test scores or marks are assigned by the teachers. It is the school evaluation of the classroom work on the basis of the grades awarded.

Statement of the Problem

While literature on the relationship between broken homes has focused on school going children’s drop out, it is silent on the role of teachers and community members in minimizing the negative effects on off broken marriage on school going children. Because the increasing rate of dropout has affected the government and family social economic abilities, it is important to consider teachers and community members’ role in minimizing the effects of broken marriages on school going children. This study intended to fill this gap in the literature. Studies such as those of Andrew1981; Harold et al., 2007; Cummings & Davies 1994; Turner & Koplec, 2006) were done in USA with a focus on nuclei family. Not much has been done in Nigeria where most families still have the elements of communal and extended families.

          There is a global awareness of the Importance of the home environment on pupil 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 pupils) is well guided, protected and guaranteed.

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Updated: 15th January 2019 — 10:57 am