INFLUENCE OF PARENTING STYLES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF ADOLESCENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS: A CASE OF MANYATTA CONSTITUENCY, EMBU COUNTY

INFLUENCE OF PARENTING STYLES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF ADOLESCENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS: A CASE OF MANYATTA CONSTITUENCY, EMBU COUNTY

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ABSTRACT

The Kenya Vision 2030 identified education as a major component of the social pillar of the Kenyan economy. The issue of parenting styles has been highlighted as a major component of academic achievement among adolescents who make up the secondary school population. This is because, there is a belief that each parenting style sets its own demands with respect to the conduct of learners and standards that they have to meet. Moreover, parents play a highly influential role in their children’s development. It is generally agreed that parenting style influences self-efficacy, self-esteem, and identity development, which are associated with academic achievement of students. In addition, the progress in children’s achievement is influenced by the decision that is made by both parents and their children to cooperate or confront each other. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of parenting styles on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools, a survey of Manyatta constituency in Embu County. The objectives of the study were to determine how authoritative parenting styles, authoritarian parenting styles, indulgent parenting styles and neglectful parenting styles affect academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools. The study employed a descriptive research design. The target population under study was all the 2089 students in secondary schools in Manyatta Constituency. A stratified random sampling method was applied to select a sample of 335 students who was proportionally distributed in the 46 schools and 39 parents. This study used questionnaire for data collection instrument and data was analyzed using descriptive analysis to establish the influence of parenting style on academic performance. The data was presented in tabular form. Finally the researcher found that the students who performed best experienced authoritative parenting style and therefore it was the best method of parenting style in relation to academic performance. The researcher recommended for a study to find out whether the results can be replicated among pupils in primary schools.


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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Back ground of the Study

Education has been highlighted as one of the main Millennium Development Goals that African countries including Kenya needs to achieve by the year 2015. In fact, education achievement has been pointed out as an instrument for eradication of poverty and inequality and as a tool for economic development (World Bank 2002. The Kenya Vision 2030 has further echoed this by identifying education as a major component of the social pillar of the vision (GOK, 2010). In the past 25 years, numerous studies on the family and school connection have examined the influence of distinct types of parenting styles on student school based outcomes. Darling and Steinberg (1993) defined a parenting style as the emotional climate in which parents raise their children and it is characterized by dimensions of parental responsiveness and demandingness.

Parents play a highly influential role in their children’s development. Baumrind (2012) in his study identified that pre-school children raised by parents with differing parenting styles varied in their degree of social competence. Parenting styles can be categorized according to the levels of parental demandingness i.e. control, supervision & maturity demands and responsiveness i.e warmth, acceptance & involvement (Maccoby & Martin, 2003). Parenting styles have often b e e n   presented as a three-category  structure which is;  authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles Dornbusch et  al. (1997).  An authoritarian parent demands obedience from the child and tries to shape  and control the child’s behaviors  with  an  absolute   set  of  standards. In  contrast, a  permissive  parent tends  to  offer  as much  freedom as the  child  wants, not  demanding  any form  of conformity as long  as the  child’s physical safety is not  at risk. An authoritative parent, on the other hand, values both the child’s autonomy and open   communication with the child.  An authoritative parent enforces rules and standards using commands and sanctions when necessary (Baumrind, 1993).

Theories about how parental values, goals, skills, and attitudes are passed from one generation to the next have been debated by several scholars since the seventeenth century. Recent attention has been given to examining linkages between the child’s home environment and the child’s school environment (Scaringello, 2002). Within these two developmental contexts, adolescents interact with and are influenced by multiple socialization agents, including their parents, teachers, and peers (Wentzel, 1999).  Adolescence is a particular period of human development in which the boundary between the school and the home is quite important (Silk and Steinberg, 2002). This is because, during this period, adolescents transition from the highly dependent and controlled period of childhood into a period marked by an increasing sense of self-exploration and autonomy. For instance, adolescents begin to develop their self-concept and they explore their relationship and connection to family, friends, and the larger society. 

A study carried out by Park, Chiang and M. Ju (2010) on why Asian children performed better academically in American schools revealed that Asian American parents who adhere to traditional Asian values usually utilized parenting behaviors that are incongruent with their children’s level of acculturation which is the process of adaption to the attitudes, values, and behaviors of the dominant culture of the host country (Berry, Olmedo& Trimble, 1996). In addition, the study found out that traditional Asian parents reinforced the value of unquestioning obedience to parents. The concept suggested that children should prioritize family obligations over personal interests. Another study conducted on the importance of parenting styles and academic achievement in schools in Hong Kong, The United states and Australia by Leung, Lau and Lam (1998) revealed that Australian parents were lower than both Chinese and American parents in academic authoritarianism. Chinese parents were higher in general authoritarianism, but lower in academic and general authoritativeness. All groups, academic achievement was negatively related to academic authoritarianism, but showed no relationship with academic authoritativeness. Academic achievement was positively related to general authoritarianism in Hong Kong and among children from the United States and Australia whose parents did not have any college education while Academic achievement was positively related to general authoritativeness only among the two English-speaking groups.  

Some studies conducted in Ethiopia have also shown that the most commonly practiced parenting style in Ethiopian families differs as a function of children’s sex. For instance, studies with a sample of junior secondary school students demonstrated that parents were authoritative for their daughters, but authoritarian for their sons (Seleshi & Sentayehu, 19982w). Another study with a sample of high school students reported that an authoritative parenting style was the most commonly employed parenting style for daughters whereas neglectful parenting style was the most predominantly adopted parenting style for sons (Kassahun, 2005). On the other hand, this researcher, in the same study, with a sample of elementary school students revealed that irrespective of children’s’ sex, an authoritative parenting style was the most commonly employed parenting style in the families of Ethiopia.

A study conducted by Changalwa et.al (2012) in Kaimosi Kenya, revealed that there was a significant relationship between authoritative parenting style and academic performance of college students. He found that in Kenya, a high proportion of students who performed poorly abused drugs and especially alcohol, and from the findings it was clear that their parents were authoritative type of parents. In Kenya, authoritarian style of parenting is the most dominant and hence a lot of emphasis is put on physical punishment. Parents and teachers in Kenya insist on the use of corporal punishment and so doing they confuse discipline and punishment. However the Ministry of Education realized that caning did not instill discipline and therefore they abolished it from the school systems (Wangari report, 2000) This study by Changalwa et.al (2012) concluded that authoritative parenting styles in Kenya had the greatest influence to poor performance in school among students.

Manyatta Constituency is one of the constituencies in Embu County Kenya. The constituency comprises of Embu North and Embu West Districts and it has 46 Public Secondary schools which are categorized as either County or District schools. Manyatta Constituency has been faced with one of the poorest academic performance among secondary school students in the past 5 years (Ministry of Education, 2012) This is because since the location is within the Embu County Headquarters environs, the students are more vulnerable to urban influence which has seen most of them get involved in unruly behavior which has a tickle influence on the academic performance of this students.

1.2 Statement of the problem

A person's upbringing has a profound influence on how they see the world and how they process information (Bowman, 2008). Stevenson (1998) observed that different students view education as having different goals. This means that parenting can create a pool of informed citizens with a developed ability to think and reason and it can be used to establish students who share a common body of knowledge and who share socialization into the way things are done in a particular society. Bowman (2008) and Stevenson (1998) fail to relate the parenting styles and academic performance of students. This therefore creates a gap that this study aims to fill.

Recent developments in the field of parenting and family studies have led to the renewed interest in the relationship between children’s school achievements and parenting style. These developments have heightened the need for the study on children’s school achievements. Since the family is the first window of the child, parenting style and its influence on children could greatly affect their understanding, attitude and school achievements. Accordingly, there are several research works done on parent-child relationship and children’s school achievements and behaviors that are required for a successful adaptation to the society and the family (Ladd & Pettit, 2002). However few scholars have focused on the parenting style as an influence on the children’s school achievement, more so, most of the studies have focused on developed countries which have different characteristics and experiences. Therefore this study investigated the influence of parenting styles on academic performance of adolescents in Secondary schools in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County.

Some researchers have observed unique situations where secondary school learners from some family backgrounds attain significantly high grades than others (Bullock, 2000). However, another study conducted by Willetto (1999) among students in Navajo found out that there was no relationship between academic achievement and parenting styles. He therefore suggested that the role of parenting styles in education deserved thorough studies. Therefore, it is based on this suggestion by Willeto (1999) and the above background that this study sought find out the influence of parenting styles on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools in Manyatta Constituency. Further, the study sought to find out whether there was any relationship between parenting styles and academic performance so as to deduce which observation between

Bullock (2000); and that of Willeto (1999) would be generalized in Manyatta Constituency,

Embu County.

In addition, the academic performance of secondary school students in Manyatta Constituency has been dwindling in the past five years, making them to lag behind their counterparts in other constituencies in Embu County (Ministry of Education, 2012). Many scholars have sought to find out the factors contributing to this poor academic performance. However, none of the scholars has studied on the contribution of parenting styles on academic performance of adolescents in secondary school students.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to explore the influence of parenting style on academic performance of adolescent in secondary schools in Manyatta Constituency. 

1.4 Objectives of the study

This study was guided by the following objectives

1.      To establish the influence of authoritarian parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools

2.      To investigate the influence of authoritative parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools

3.      To establish the influence of indulgent parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools

4.      To assess the influence of neglectful parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools

1.5 Research Questions

This study answered the following questions

1.      How is the influence of authoritarian parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools?

2.      To what extent does authoritative parenting style affect academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools?

3.      What is the influence of indulgent parenting style on academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools?

4.      To what extent does neglectful parenting style affect academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study provided research and recommendations on how parents can assist in improving academic performance of adolescents who are in secondary schools. The study is therefore of importance to many individuals including: School management will be made aware of importance of learning the parenting styles that a student goes through in order to avoid poor academic performance. The study will also benefit parents in learning how their parenting styles influence how their children perform in school. The research will benefit other researcher in the same filled with the literature to support their arguments and hence improved knowledge.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

One limitation that was experienced through this study was time and hence the researcher asked for assistance from research assistants to ensure that the expected scope was covered within the given time. The researcher also experienced a challenge in accessing parents of all the students sampled, and therefore the study used the parents of students who were in day secondary schools since they were able to refer the researcher to their parents as compared to students who are in boarding schools since they were in school session during the research time and secondly the parents were dispersed in different geographical areas.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This study was limited to Manyatta Constituency and the dispersed parents were reached through the research assistants. 

1.9 Basic Assumptions

Among the assumptions of the study included: all the parents and students would respond to the questions honestly and that the sample would represent the population. 

1.10 Organization of the Study 

The study focused on the influence of parenting styles on the academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools. The study was conducted amongst the secondary schools in

Manyatta Constituency in Embu County. This study was carried out between March, 2013 and August, 2013. The report is organised in three chapters. Chapter One comprises of the background of the study and the purpose of the study. Chapter Two comprises of a literature review of the problem under study. Chapter Three comprises of the research methodology that the researcher will use to select a sample, collect data and analyse data. Chapter Four is the data analysis, presentation and interpretation, while chapter Five comprise of discussion of findings, conclusion and recommendation.

1.11 Definitions of the Significant Terms

Authoritarian parenting style- The process of parenting style showing that children are  expected to obey their parents’ orders

Authoritative parenting style- The act of believing that children are expected to obey authority and rules without being imposive  .  

Neglectful parenting style- Failing to take care of children

Indulgent parenting style- The state of doing just whatever one wants.


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