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The title of this study is the effects of parental conflicts on students’ academic performance in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The causes of parental conflicts, the effects of parental conflicts on students’ academic performance and the effects of parental conflicts on general performance of the students led to the study. This study wish to assess and point out other problems students from conflicting homes pose to the society in general. This study is of significance (0.05%) to the governmental and non-governmental agencies in Kaduna North Local Government, the teachers/school administrators and the students who are the target groups to know the causes and how to minimize or control the rate of divorce. Some of the research questions are: in what ways can parental conflict affect academic ability, what is the society’s perception of parental conflicts on children upbringing and how can parental conflict affects cordial relationship between children and their parents. The necessary literature was reviewed on the topic. The research design used for this project was survey research design. The study was conducted in five secondary schools in Kaduna North, Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Random sampling technique was used in selecting five secondary schools from the total population as sample for the study, the instrument used for the collection of data were two sets of questionnaires for school teachers and the students. One hundred and sixty (160) questionnaires were administered to the parents/teachers, one hundred and forty (140) questionnaires were also given to students, making a total of three hundred   (300) questionnaires. The four point Likert scale response questionnaires were used. Recommendations were made to reduce the problems of students relating to parental conflicts. Pre-referral intervention can reduce students placement in special education due to parental separation, community agency can play a unique role in counseling students who are exposed to family dissolution.



Background to the Study

Conflict can be defined as the lack of peace in an environment. Conflict in a family therefore refers to a situation whereby the smooth interaction and relation among members of a family is disrupted because of one thing or another. It can be between the two parents or between parents and their children. Conflict in a family can be as a result of lack of trust, drunkenness, lack of dialogue, lack of respect, joblessness and idleness. It comes in form of fights, quarrels, spouse battering, child abuses and child molestation. It can result to a bad atmosphere in the home, separation or even divorce.

According to Walker (1999), studies carried out have shown that when one form of violence was found in the family, other forms were more likely to also occur and that violence in the family has a direct relationship to community violence and other forms of aggression and gender based violence. Law enforcement in many countries will not intervene in what is often called a “domestic quarrel” even though psychological research indicates that without such intervention, abusers are unlikely to seek help to stop their battering behaviour. Research has found a strong relationship between violence in the home and violence in the community. Golden (2000) reported that it has been found that prior history of abuse can increase the likelihood of abusive behaviour. According to Steinberg (1996), parental conflict and aggression or a conflict atmosphere in the home is related to offspring’s personal or violent crimes.

Murphy and O’Farrell (1994) highlighted the view that parents play a central role in shaping the child’s development through their influence. Thus if parents keep having conflicts in their homes, children are bound to be affected as they grow up. They also asserted that children learn through imitating and identification with the parents and other significant adults. If the children grow up in a family where violence is a common phenomenon, they may end up doing the same in their families, unless intervention is carried out. The first important influence on children is the family but children and families are interactive members of a large system of social institutions, such as the school, the workplace and community. Parental involvement and education improve both family and child functioning. It has been found out that parental involvement in a child might have lasting effects on its behaviour. Steinberg (1996) asserted that conflict is a critical aspect of family functioning that often outweighs the influence of family structure on the child’s development. He also reports that studies carried out have found that children’s healthy and social development is most effectively promoted by love and at least some moderate parental control. According to Seifert and Hoffnung (1997), children who have lived for years in situations of neglect or abuse suffer severe stress. They also state that students often receive long term support from parents or other adults at home as well as strong support from teachers and others at school. Involving parents in learning activities with their children at home is one kind of parental involvement that many educators believe is an important aspect of the child’s learning. If the family is undergoing conflict, parents will not have time for their children.

Men, who more often use violence, do so in order to obtain and maintain power and control over others. The American Psychological Association  (APA) task force on violence and the family defined domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behaviours including a wide range of physical, sexual and psychological maltreatment used by one person in an intimate relationship against another to gain power unfairly or maintain that person’s misuse of power, control and authority. Berk (1999) asserted that problematic school performance is among the more common problems associated with child abuse and neglect. Such children often experience difficulties with social relationship, problem solving and the ability to cope with new or stressful situations. According to studies carried out, some abused or neglected children develop aggressive behaviour patterns, others become withdrawn while others even get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or major depression.

Kiura (1999) asserted that a healthy relationship between husband and wife depends on self-understanding, understanding spouse, balance between individuality, mutual relationship, proper management of conflicts, sexual harmony and sound skills in mutual dialogue and communication. Kiura (1999) further stated that parents need to assume responsibility for their children’s eternal destiny, educate them, prepare them for life and guide them towards the right way. If parents are not in harmony, it follows that their children will suffer too. They do not only suffer at home but also when they go to school or visit friends by carrying the burden of their parents with them.

Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria today, hardly a week goes by before it is reported in the media that a child or its parents or both have been hospitalized or killed as a result of family conflicts. Other cases reported are those whereby a woman packs and leaves her matrimonial home with her children because she can no longer tolerate her husband’s behaviour. There are even cases whereby it is the men who move out of their homes to look for peace elsewhere. There have also been cases of suicidal killings, where the head of the family kills his wife and children before killing himself. There is also the case of street children, some of whom are on the streets because they have run away from violent home environments. These incidents take place not only in rural areas but also in urban ones. Kaduna North has also recorded some of these incidents. When families are in conflict, it affects children in their physical, cognitive, affective and even spiritual growth. Their lives are enclosed or imprisoned if they continue being exposed to a violent environment. For some, such an environment means that they have no access to formal education and their cognitive and affective developments are tampered with. This study, therefore, sought to find out the effect of family conflicts on children’s education.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of family conflicts on the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Kaduna North local Government Area of Kaduna state.

Objectives of the Study

This study was guided by the following objectives;

i.        To investigate the effects of parental conflicts on the child-educational performance and psychological state

ii.               To determine effects of parental conflicts on the upbringing of the child.

iii.      To determine effects of parental conflicts on child-parents relationship.

Research Questions

In order to guide the study, the following research questions were formulated by the researcher;

i.        In what ways can parental conflicts affect children academic performance?

ii.       What is the society’s perception on parental conflict and the    children upbringing?

iii.             How can parental conflicts  affects cordial relationship between children and parents?

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study may be of help to teachers and parents and it will add knowledge to the body of literature on family conflict. The study will be of help to parents and especially those who experience problems in their families. They will understand how problems in a family can affect their students’ short-term life and to some extent, their future. This will encourage such parents to embrace dialogue and understanding in an effort of trying to solve their problems. In instances where the problems are severe, they can engage the services of a counsellor so that harmony prevails. The study will also contribute to the body of literature on family conflicts and its influence on a  students’ academic performance  .

It may also be of benefit to counsellors, especially those stationed in schools. They can be able to offer intervention measures to students who come from families that experience conflict in an effort to help them concentrate on their studies and build good relationships with other students. The findings may be useful to teachers especially because they spend more time with the students at school. They can intervene by referring students to the school counsellor or by calling the parents of the student and discussing the student’s behaviour and academic performance.

Scope of the Study

The scope of this research study is to assess the effects of parental conflicts on the children’s academic performance in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

Limitations of the Study

The study is delimited to effects of parental conflicts on children’s education in five secondary schools in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna state. Other delimitation encountered in the course of this research study are;

i.                 Financial constraint; financing of the research work was solely by the researchers which was not enough compared to what was required.

ii.               Time constraint; time was also another delimiting factor. Enough time is needed to carry out this type of research study. The researcher did not           have enough time to carry out the research study.

iii.             Limitation in data gathering procedure, availability of enough data for research work would have ease the stress involved in the        research work but the reverse was the case. The researcher spent and wasted fruitless hour(s) and money trying to gather data both from offices, libraries and the internet.

Definition of Terms

The following terms, which were important to the study, had the following operational meanings:-

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