THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background of the Study
It is observed by the researchers that marriage between a man and a woman is expected to be a permanent affair and lasting association until death takes away one of the partners but changes in the Nigerian society, marriage is now seen to be a temporary affair which can be dissolved if either part by cruelty, desertion or adultery goes against the wishes of their union. Divorce is actually a legal dissolution of the marital union which, involve the governance of the marriage bind between a husband and his wife. For a marriage to be successful there is need for a couple to be in harmony mentally, physically and spiritual. In other words, the husband and the wife must have a common goal and each have to contribute his or her own towards the fulfillment in the family and keyword should be love (Cohen, 2002).
Parents play a vital role in their pupil’s lives, serving as their earliest and most important role model. Children tend to look up to and observe their parents behavior from a very young age (Herzog & Cooney, 2002.). Throughout childhood, family experiences play a vital role in building pupil’s attitude, beliefs and expectation. (Rogers and Rose (2002) report that children of divorce experience determined sad effects such as depression, anger, aggression, parent-child conflict as well as parental divorce in terms of research, a common question among social scientist regarding children and divorce is how these children are affected by their experience and how they are different from those who are not experiencing ongoing parental conflict and discord. Experiencing parental discord may lead a child to trivialize the importance of commitment and view the institution of marriage with negativity (Doland 2003).
According to Mc Doland (2003) as cited earlier on, divorce is defined as the dissolution of a relationship, which is recognized as marital relationship. It marked by formal court proceedings and its decree is divorce. Divorce is usually accompanied by formal arrangements for owing of property, custody and support of children if there any. The property adjustment may also include a provision requiring alimony to be paid by one partner to the other although alimony is less frequently granted today.
Children from divorced families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles than those who live with both parents. This shows that two parents are much better in bringing up healthy children than one. Children who come from broken families will most likely have difficult time in life. Children of divorce parent are roughly two times more likely to dropout from school than their peers who benefit from living with parents who are not divorced (Mclannahan 2006). Some children from broken marriages are likely to turn to drug abuse or negative behaviors. The truth is that every child needs and deserves the love and provision of a mother and a father. Happy family is the best environment for children. A strong family home is a place where children gain the identity, discipline, and moral education that are essential for their full individual development. Nigeria, as a nation with a strong marriage, had created the best route to achieving the Nigeria dream. It has now become a nation in which divorce is commonly seen as the path to personal liberation. In this case many experts argue that, because nothing can be done about it, all Nigeria should simply accept the culture of divorce without considering the future of the children.
The qualities of parental relationship spills over into relationship with their children .Couples with satisfying marital relationship are more warm and supportive towards their children. (Amato and Ketin 2001) speculated that the gap in well —being between children with divorced and non divorced parents might have narrowed either because divorce became more easily socially accepted or parents were making greater efforts to reduce the potentially disruptive impact of divorce on their children. Children with divorced parents score lower than children with continuously married parents on measure of academic success (Astone Mclanahan, 2002). The quality of functioning is one of the best predictors of pupil’s behavior and well being. Several within group studies shows that either a conflicted relationship with the custodial parent inept parenting on the part of the custodial parent are linked with a variety of negative outcomes on children including lower academic performance, internalizing problems, externalizing problems, reduced self-esteem, and poorer social competence (Buchnan, Smacco by Dombush, 2006).
The effects of divorce on children are traumatic divorce can cause children to question their self- worth, to experience unnecessary grief, guilt or confusion. Young children especially, have difficulty understanding the rationalities of their parents decision to divorce. In a marriage it is difficult for children to find a sense of security because experience shows them that what seemed stable and good fell to pieces to and left them empty. Growing up in a broken home may also cause children to have difficult in future relation.
Parental relationship plays a very important role in determining the academic performance of their children in school. Family harmony can easily be affected due to parental conflicts. The degree of parental conflicts varies from mild to serious. These conflicts affect the academic performance their children hence lead to drop out from school. In their recent longitudinal study, (Harold A, and Shelton, 2007) revealed the roles of marital relations and pupil’s academic performance. In accounting for the relationship between spouses affects their pupil’s adjustment directly through the emotional stress level, role modeling and academic performance (Cumming, 2000).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As adolescent become young adults, they begin to explore various aspects of life that include dating, intimate relationships and thoughts about future marriage. Research had shown that many factors are involved in the formation of a young adult’s view of marriage such as their experience or lack of experience with parental divorce (Jones and Nelson, 2001). In their study of young adults and intimate relationships (Sinclair Nelson,2004) found out that students from divorced and intact families do not differ in the ability to experience intimate relationship, contradicting many other studies which have shown a difference between the groups. Parental conflicts within divorced and non divorced families can have a detrimental effect on how young adults view marriage thus leaving many young adults uncommitted to a number of partners in the early dating years due to fear. In relation, (Sinclair and Nelson, 2001) found that parental divorce can give young adults feelings of insecurity as well as have a greater variety of dating partners and interest in relationships, (Franklin, Jan off-Bulinan and Roberts 2008) found that college students who experienced parental and success of their future marriage.
While Literature on the relationship between broken marriages has focused on school going children’s drop out, it is silent on the role of teachers in minimizing the negative effects on off divorce on school going children. Because the increasing rate of drop out has affected the government and family social economic abilities, it is important to consider teachers and community member’s role in minimizing the effects of broken marriages on school going children. This study intended to fill the gap in the literature. Studies such as those of (Harold et al, 2007; Cummings and Davies 2000; Turner and Koplecc.2006) were done in USA with a focus on nuclear family. Not much has been done in Africa were most families still have the elements of communal and extended families.
Parenting and by implication lack of it, it is the single largest variable implicated in truancy school disruption and under-achievement. It is therefore described as the most important public issue facing the society. Both mother and fathers make a vital contribution to the cognitive and emotional well being of their children. However, studies suggest that the single most important family trend in the United States is the growing absence of fathers from children and this lead to truancy. (Healy, Stewart and Copeland 2000), in a study of Secondary school children six months after parental separation, found that one third reported some feelings of self-became, in turn was related to variety of child’s problem, and lowered feelings of self-competence.
Unhappy marriage of parents may be associated with low performance of children in school, because witnessing conflicts between parents heightens a level of stress on children and keep them from focusing on school work. These children also learn in appropriate social problem solving skills through modeling parental behaviors. In Korea, parent in Lee and Chung (2004) found that the marital relationship perceived by Korean adolescent students were positively related to their school adjustment. Parents in a dysfunctional marriage are likely to be distressed and distracted by conflicts with their spouses and they cannot afford to invest their time and energy in children. In turn, inappropriate, parenting style worsens parent-child relations. In view of this, the study tend to investigate effect of divorce on students academic performance in Secondary schools in Abeokuta Central, Ogun State, to fill gap in research and knowledge.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1. To determine weather students from stable home perform academically than students from broken home.
2. To determine effect of divorce on academic performance of students.
3. To determine moral laxity of students from broken home and stable home.
4. To determine effects of divorce on moral behavior of students from broken homes.
1.4 Research Questions
1. Do students from stable homes perform academically than students from broken homes?
2. To what extent could divorce have effects on academic performance?
3. Do students from broken homes have moral laxity than stable homes?
4. To what limit could divorce affect moral behavior of students from broken homes.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H01: There is no significant difference in the academic performances of Secondary school students from broken and from unbroken homes.
H02: There is no significant effect on the academic performances of Secondary school students in term of socialization of the home.
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that findings from this study will enrich programs of teaching social sciences. Although all extensive research has been done on how children are afflicted by parental divorce, on research area that lack depth is the effect of divorce on young adult’s attitude and perception of divorce and marriage as well as their beliefs on the formation of their own intimate relationship. With the high divorce rate and growing prevalence of marriage and divorce in today’s society, it is equally important to research the attitudes and perceptions of individuals from divorced and non- divorced as well. It will also make youngsters to be discriminative in their choice mate. Findings from this study and building from parent who have thought divorce in the understanding of the problem experienced by their parent and give assurance about their children.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focused on the effect of divorce on students academic performance in Secondary schools in Odeda Local Government Area, Ogun State Nigeria. A sample size of 100 would be selected from various schools in Odeda Local Government Area. The study would be limited to various of gender, age and educational level. Questionnaire would be use as an instrument for data collection. Analysis of data would be limited to the use of frequency count, percentage and mean.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are used to give the reader[s] an interesting study.
DIVORCE: This is the way of dissolving a legal marriage which permit’s the partners to remarry if they choose
STUDENTS: Children who are being taught in a Secondary school
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Refers to the degree of exhibition of output in educational activities in school or learning outcome of the recipient in an highly institutionalize.
2.1 Conceptual Framework
Parents who have happy and supportive relationship with one another are more likely to respond sensitively to the child’s needs (Benson 2004). Conversely, parents in a dysfunctional marriage are likely to be distressed and distracted by conflicts with their spouse and they cannot afford to invest their time and energy in children. In turn, inappropriate parenting style worsens parent-child relations. This literature review focused in teacher’s perceptions on the effects of divorce to children’s academic performance, effects of divorce on school going children, perceptions of children with single parent, academic performance among adolescents of divorced families, comparisons of children from divorced and two parent families and factors affecting the children’s academic performance and socialization processes in the family.
Parents in a stressful marriage are less likely to have close relationships with their children, whereas parents who are satisfied with their marriage are more likely to have quality relationships with their offspring (Buehler & Gerald, 2002; Conger et). A low level conflict with parents and closeness to them are associated with less likelihood of having behavioral and emotional problems (Caughlin & Malis, 2004, Vandewater & Lansford, 2005). Among various aspects of parent-child relations, communication is specifically important in adolescence when children have to negotiate their new roles with their parents (Benson 2004). Children witness parents’ conflicts may shape a negative perception on self, because they tend to consider themselves as causes of conflicts and blame themselves for a disharmonious marital relationship (Grych et al., 2000). Family disruption has been defined in various ways, including recurrent residential moves, separations from parent figure and marital dissolution or divorce (Adam & Chase-Lansdale, 2002). An early family study, disruption was defined by characteristics such as female head of household, low socioeconomic status, receiving aid for dependent children, and parental separation.
Other researchers studying longitudinal samples (Chilton & Markle, 2004) defined family disruption only by a family composition different from husband-wife families; mother only, father only, and neither biological parent. Anderson, (2002) found that adolescents from single parent families were involved in higher rates of delinquent behavior and that minorities from single parent families were especially more likely to be involved in certain types of delinquency than other students. Because of the need to expand the study of family dysfunction and academic achievement, as well as the established relationship between family dysfunction and child behavior problems in some studies, and between behavior problems and poor academic functioning in other studies, the literature described next addresses behavior, achievement, and family disruption..