The main purpose of the study was to investigate parenting skills needed by young parents in Enugu State for proper child up-bringing. Specifically, it investigated feeding, health care, emotional, physical exercise, sleep/rest and safety skills needed by young parents in Enugu State. A descriptive survey research design was adopted. The population comprised 625 young and older parents with 245 young and older parents as the sample size. Questionnaire was used for data collection and it was face validated by three experts. Six research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. Mean and Standard Deviation were used in answering the research questions while t-test was used in testing the stated hypotheses. The findings include among others feeding skills needed by young parents: sitting comfortably while breastfeeding the baby, feeding the baby on both breasts, one at a time, winding the baby at the end of feeding, giving exclusive breastfeeding for six months and boiling all the water used for preparation of baby’s food, providing adequate diet for the baby; washing hands before preparing baby’s food, sterilizing baby’s feeding unit after each meal, encouraging children to sit comfortably before eating, monitoring children while eating. Toilet training skills: changing diapers/nappies as and out when due, detecting when the child is wet and uncomfortable, supervising the children when they are using potty/toilet, teaching older children how to clean their buttocks with toilet papers/water and making toilet areas easily accessible for children. Emotional skills: comforting or cuddling a child, detecting when the child is wet an uncomfortable, providing the child with toys, helping the child to sleep through petting, socializing the child properly and responding promptly to a child’s desire to ease himself/herself. Physical exercise: choosing, or providing play activities suitable for the child, selecting the play materials suitable for children, teaching children how to use the play materials and providing safe play ground for children. Sleep/rest skills: rocking to make the child sleep off, being familiar with the baby’s signs of sleep and ensuring that the baby sleeps under mosquito net. Safety skills: keeping floors safe from dangerous items, keeping drugs, cleaning agents and tools out of reach of the children, monitoring children in their everyday activity and keeping children’s surroundings clean. The researcher generally recommended that young and older parents in Nigeria should imbibe the various parenting skills in other to bring up well balanced personalities in the society.



Background of the Study


A child is a person who is not yet an adult. Rakesh, (2009) defines a child as a minor, or somebody who is yet to become an adult. The African charter on the rights and welfare of a child (2013) defines a child as every human being below the age of 18 years. A child in this study is therefore, a male or female human being between (0-5) years of age and who is provided his physical and emotional needs by his parents. This implies that child upbringing   and rearing is the responsibility of the parents in the society.

Child rearing means rearing a child from infancy to adulthood and educating the child in societal morals and values (Berk, 2000). It involves guiding the child through his life to be a productive member of the society. It is caring for a child during the early stage of his life. (Douglas, 2002), stated that what a child becomes has to do with his environment and the nature of training from his parents. Child rearing is act of raising or bringing up a minor. It is an active molding of a child’s character, personality, talents, physical and emotional well being of the child in addition to providing the basic needs to the child. In other words, what a child becomes in future is dependent to a large extent on the nature of the child’s upbringing by the parents.


Parents are the biological mother and father of a child who bear the responsibility of providing for child his physical and emotional needs in the society. Parents are the children’s source of information, raising or bringing up children. It is not just the basic food, shelter, clothing that keep children alive, but also the active molding of character, personality, talents, emotional and physical well-being of the child. When it comes to what makes a person whom he is, the debate of nature versus nurture is a common talking point (Douglas, 2002). The fact remains that much of who a person is, relates to his/her upbringing by their parents that is why child rearing and the factors that influence it, are of the utmost relevance. Parents are friends and counselors of their children. They are the children’s sources of guide, reflectors, feelings, opinions and ideas, and listeners and active communicators. Ononuju, (2004), states that parents are love objects. Ononuju further stated that parents provide security, physical and emotional needs and support for the children both in early and later life. Parents are models to their children and the home is a teaching laboratory, hence the need for well-behaved parents as child trainer. Parents have the responsibilities of transmitting values, moral beliefs, taboos, culture, rules, and tradition of the society to the children. This implies that parenting has to do with taking care of the child as well as providing for his needs.

Parenting is the process of caring and nurturing young children from infancy to adulthood. Kendiora and Leary, (1993) define parenting as anything

that a parent does or fails to do that may affect the child, and include caring for physical needs, playing, disciplining, teaching and establishing a pleasant emotional environment. It involves all the day to day care of children till they are responsible enough for their own needs. Lamborn, (2002) explains that parenting is more about parent’s attempts of controlling and directing the behavior of children. Parenting is a complex activity that includes many specific behaviour that work severally and jointly to influence development in children. It means raising a child from infancy to adulthood and educating that child as well as installing morals and values (Berk, 2000). It involves guiding that child through his life to be a productive member of the society. Parenting is caring for children or a child during the early stages of life. As applied in this study, parenting is the process of caring for children and helping them grow and learn through application of different parenting skills by young.

Young parents are men or women who are still new in the area of child- rearing. They are in the expanding stage of their family cycle. Expanding family here refers to that stage when the family includes not only the husband and the wife but also their children. Young parents include those parents that are below thirty (30) years of age with their children between (0-5years) of age and those parents not young in age but young in the area of child rearing. In other words, they are older parents (30 years and above) but still with their children (0-5 year) of age. Many young parents below the ages of thirty are new in the

area of child rearing and have problems of lack of parenting skills in dealing with children. This is because they are young themselves and inexperienced in child rearing hence they require good knowledge of parenting skills to balance their fun and teaching simultaneously. During this stage, the young parents are faced with lots of challenges especially in the area of child rearing and upbringing.

Parenting skills mean the ability of parents to perform learned actions that achieve the desired outcome of enabling the child to make satisfactory progress developmentally and to have the opportunity to achieve potentials. Miller (2010) stated that parenting skills make parents to understand what to expect from children: their capacities, interest and needs at various ages. It gives parents realistic expectation of child rearing. Miller further listed parenting skills to include feeding needs, health care, toilet training, security, psychological care, as well as emotional requirements of the child in the society. In this study, parenting skills mean the ability of the parents to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs in the family. A child has physical and emotional needs that have to be met while the child is being parented. Physically, a child needs healthy food, appropriate clothing, good hygiene, sleep, and safe environment. The closeness of the parent to the child affects positively his emotions. Emotionally, a child needs to be held, cuddled and comforted (Clyton, 1999). A child that is not in union with either of the parents

may not be easily controlled and poses a challenge to child rearing especially when the parents may be working and raising children.

Effective use of parenting skills provides the child with care and nurture which in turn helps the child develop to his fullest capacity. Hall and Elliman, (2003) asserted that adequate knowledge and application of parenting skills helps to influence the child’s development and progress. If properly applied makes the child an adjusted individual who will be socially accepted in the society. The goal of parenting is to produce responsible and productive individual, who will be a source of blessing to their parents and the society at large hence the provisions for the needs of the child has to be the priority and concern of every parent in the society. It is the ability to provide physical care, encouragement, love, support and guidance. All these should be provided with the goal of helping each child develop to the fullest potential. Parenting without a proper foundation has always and indefinitely led to confusion for any developing child. That is why the attempt of trying to be a successful parent is so important and will be the most important job of one’s life (William, 2004).

Parenting therefore, whether for young or older parents requires adequate knowledge of the skills involved in child rearing in the society. In Nigeria and particularly in Enugu State, young and experienced parents appear not to possess the necessary skills needed for appropriate child rearing in the society. As a result the child is denied adequate physical and emotional care needed for

his growth and development. Therefore, parenting skills needed by young parents have to be properly addressed to protect the future of the child. Emphasis has to be on the imparting knowledge of parenting skills to young parents to ensure training of the child in the society. This should be the desire of every parent for giving the children the needed attention for their development. Statement of Problem

Young parents in the expanding stage of their family in terms of child bearing are faced with a lot of challenges especially in the area of child care and upbringing. They need appropriate skills such as in feeding, toilet training, emotional, physical exercise, and sleep and safety skills to ensure proper child up-bringing in the society.

Regrettably, in Nigeria, young parents are not exposed to any form of training in parenting prior to child birth. This is because; there is no special programme for preparing inexperienced and would-be parents with regard to their responsibilities in parenting of children. Experienced mothers are not always around to help; hence, young parents operate on trial and error leaving both parents and child to suffer. Young parents therefore, are required to acquire appropriate parenting skills. It is against this background that the problem of this study is: Do young parents in Nigeria including Enugu State posses the required parenting skills for proper child rearing?

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to determine parenting skills needed by young parents in Enugu State. Specifically, the study determined the:

1. Feeding skills needed by young parents.

2. Toilet training skills needed by young parents.

3. Emotional skills needed by young parents.

4. The physical exercise skills needed by young parents.

5. Sleep/rest skills needed by young parents.

6. Safety skills needed by young parents in Enugu state.

Significance of the Study

The findings from this study would have both theoretical and practical significance. The theoretical significance of the study hinges on attachment theory. This theory proposes that the quality of care provided to the child leads to ‘secure’ (optimal) or ‘insecure’ (non-optimal) attachment (Cassidy and Shaver, 1999). This study would help to authenticate the principles of this theory for parenting skills needed by young parents to give qualitative care for proper child rearing. The findings from this study would add to the existing body of knowledge in the field of parenting and child rearing.

Practically, the study would be beneficial to the following: parents, Home Economics curriculum planners, teachers, government, and family counsellors and

other researchers. The findings would provide the parents with the required knowledge of the parenting skills to be adopted in training of their children. It would help the parents to update and embrace new parenting skills that would help them to properly bring up their children.

The findings would help Home Economics curriculum planners in the development and modification of curriculum materials. Those parenting skills that are possessed below normal or lacking would be emphasized in the curriculum so that young parents can learn and develop the skills in the Home Economics lessons. In line with this, is that teachers will teach those skills that are not possessed by young parents.

The government would benefit from the findings of this study as it would guide policy formulations and implementation with respect to parenting skills in the society. The findings would help to reduce the burden of destitute on the government as good parenting skills would promote better training of youths as good citizens

Family counsellors would use the findings as a guide in their counseling processes and practices. It would give them guide on how to advice young parents and others to help children actualize their full potentials in the society.

The findings from this study would serve as reference materials for other researchers who may wish to conduct research in areas related to parenting skills not covered by the present study.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study.

1. What are the feeding skills needed by young parents?

2. What are the toilet training skills needed by young parents?

3. What are the emotional skills needed by young parents?

4. What are physical exercise skills needed by young parents?

5. What are the sleep/rest skills needed by young parents?

6. What are the safety skills needed by young parents in the state?


The following null hypotheses for the study were formulated for the study and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

HO1: There is no significant difference between young and experienced parents with regard to feeding skills needed by young parents

HO2: There is no significant difference between young and experienced parents with regard to toilet training skills needed by young parents in the child’s social environment.

HO3: There is no significant gender difference between young and experienced parents with regard to physical exercise skills needed by young parents in

child’s development.

HO4: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of young and experienced parents with regard to safety skills needed  in the child’s social

environment in Enugu State.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to public institutions in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State. The content scope focuses on determining the feeding, health care, emotional, physical exercise, sleep/rest and safety skills needed by young parents in Enugu State.




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