SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS INFLUENCING SINGLE PARENTHOOD IN KADUNA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS INFLUENCING SINGLE PARENTHOOD IN KADUNA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

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CHAPTER ONE

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY                                                                                                  Single-parenthood can be defined as when one out of two people who is responsible for the nurturing of a child is not available, and the  work meant for two people, is now been carried out by only one person. Single-parenting can also be defined as a situation in which one of the two individuals involved in the conception of the child is being responsible for the upbringing of the child (Whitting and Child, 1993; Henslim, 1985). Single parenthood is a social phenomenon that has always been in existence and is as old as mankind (Pollitt, 1994). Historically, single-parent families were the result of parental death; about one-fourth of children born around the turn of the nineteenth century experienced the death of a parent before they reached age fifteen (Amato 2000). There was a rapid and drastic increase in the number of single-parent families in the latter half of the twentieth century. This change has been used by some to argue that we are witnessing the breakdown of the family with negative effects for children, families, and society (Popenoe 1996).                                                                                                                                              Salami and Alawode (2000) in a study on influence of single-parenting on the academic achievement of adolescents in secondary schools in Ibadan asserted that single parenting result from divorce, separation of various kinds or death of one spouse which leaves the roles in the hands of a single parent. Single-parenthood may also arise when either the male or the female decides to produce and rear a child or children outside wedlock (Ortesse, 1998). Another form of parenthood outside of marriage involves single parent choosing to bear or adopt and raise children alone. Technological developments allowing insemination without inter-course contribute to women's choices in this regard (Burns and Scott 1994).                                                          Globally, a quarter to one-third of all families is headed by single parent. Developed countries, in particular, are experiencing an increase in single-parent families as divorce becomes more common. The United States has the highest percentage of single-parent families (34%) in 1998 among developed countries, followed by Canada (22%), Australia (20%), and Denmark (19%). In developing countries, divorce is not as common, but desertion, death, and imprisonment produce single-parent families, primarily headed by women. Rates vary country to country from a low of less than 5 percent in Kuwait to a high of over 40 percent in Botswana and Barbados. In countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Tobago more than 25 percent of households are headed by single parents (Kinnear 1999).                                      In Nigeria, the existence of single-parenthood was unknown and where they existed they are ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria. Parental roles in Nigeria are culturally determined and distributed. The maternal roles are that of child-bearing, home training and playing of complimentary roles, while the paternal roles are that of economic responsibilities and disciplines of children. The child is morally, mentally upright and emotionally balances when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents (Agulanna, 1999). The family is the first primary social group that the child first belongs to, come in contact with, and this group has a greater influence on the child’s physical, mental and moral development. (Maduewesi & Emenogu, 1997). According to Ortesse (1998), a child from intact homes will be well taken care of and well socialized as possible. This is due to the fact the process of socialization depends on both parents playing complementary roles in bringing up the child.                                                                                                                        Kibel and Wagstaff (2006) affirmed that the prevalence of single parenting is increasing and the pool is a composite of unmarried mothers (including many teenagers), divorcee and families separated by migrant labour arrangement. Nwachukwu (1998) in a study on single-parent family: emerging family pattern in Nigeria stated that children from single parent homes are more hostile, hyperactive and aggressive in nature. Many of the problems that single parents have are similar as those for two parents’ family, but these problems seem more difficult to bear or manage when the home is being tutored by only one person. For example, children feel hostile towards their parents as they grow-up and try to be independent. But in a situation, where the anger and rebellion are all directed towards one person, it may seem worse, if there is only one to bear it, not for the two to share. There are some problems that are exceptional, which are only faced by the single-parents, which make it somewhat difficult to raise children. These problems include: bitterness towards the absent spouse, loneliness, poverty and insecurity about raising children alone without a help. For these and some other reasons, single parents sometimes cling to their children or over-indulge them.                                                                                          Parenthood is challenging under the best of conditions. With one parent, the challenges are multiplied. Coping with childrearing for single parents becomes more difficult because of responsibility overload, when one parent makes all the decisions and provides for all of the family needs; task over-load, when the demands for work, housework, and parenting can be overwhelming for one person; and emotional overload, when the single parent must always be available to meet both their own and their children's emotional needs. Alone or in combination these result in problems for the single parent, including loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Consequently, uncertainty and emotional turmoil could increase the chance of psychological pitfalls as such these are factors responsible for the ugly reality of single parenthood, which gives a long way to psychologically, emotionally and developmentally effects on the child predicting depression on the single parent (Kibel & Wagstaff, 2006). Hence it becomes necessary to investigate the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area                                        

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM                                                                                                   Single-parent families have been present in all societies over time (Coontz 1997). The numbers of single parents’ families have increased drastically and it is gaining a global dimension (Achakpa, 1999). In most countries, there is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living in single parent households. Regardless of how family diversity is viewed the increase in and prevalence of families headed by one parent has a major influence on the social, economic, and political context of family life (Nwachukwu, 1998).                                      This wind of change has also affected the Nigerian society where the idea of single parenthood seems to be a norm, rather than an anomaly. Although there are no available statistics of single-parent families in Nigeria, practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is an increase of single parents in Nigeria. Until recently, single parenting is alien to Nigerian family culture. However, the aggressive influence of western culture has impacted so much on traditional family value in Nigeria. This coupled with increasing socio-economic demands on traditional family life and the attendant social complexities have worked to erode strong positive family values associated with traditional Nigerian families. Consequently, single parenting hitherto considered an aberration in the recent past is now gaining societal acceptance; but not without its negative tendencies (Salami and Alawode, 2000).                                                              The socialization of children is very important for the continuity of any culture; basically, parenting is one of the challenging social roles in Nigeria today (Santrock.2002). Ortese (1998) in a study on single parenting in Nigeria; counselling concerns and its implications said parents are the first point of contact of children. When both parents are present, it implies that the child would derive most care. However, when one of the parent is absent in a child’s life, a gap is created as the child would lose the support that would have emanated from that parent. Generally, it is the responsibility of the parent, to train and bring up the child in the norms and values of the society. They are to be responsible for the social, psychological and emotional welfare of the child. Nevertheless, divorce and separation of various kinds or death of one spouse may leave the role in the hands of a single parent. A child from homes where the father and the mother are present will be well taken care of and socialized in the best way possible. Such a child is likely to achieve self actualization later in life Ortese(1998).                                                         Various reasons have been adduced as to why people get into single parenthood. An early age at first marriage is associated with a higher probability of divorce and separation (Single and Samara, 1996). It has also been revealed that several factors contribute to the growing number of single parents. Among these is the changing view of single-hood, which is increasingly being viewed as a legitimate alternative to marriage. High divorce rate means more singles and people who have experienced divorce in their families may have more negative attitude about marriage and more positive attitude about single-hood. The reasons commonly given by women for leaving their partner usually include: adultery, cruelty, desertion, addiction to alcohol or drugs and husband imprisonment and the death of husband. In Nigeria, high rates of divorce, separation, birth to unmarried couples, death of spouses, war, abandonment, poverty, economic instability, and social movement are contributing factors to single parenthood (Lauer & Lauer, 2002).                                                                                                                                      Desertion is one of the ways to single parenthood in our society, it is a common trend that has recently crawled into Nigerian society, and men tend to abandon their families. Desertion is also known as the poor man divorce, Kendall (2003) without going through legal process of divorce. Either the father or the mother walks away from the marriage. Children of deserted parents find it more difficult to understand the reasons why they have to do without the other parent. Santrock   (2002), assert that these children see themselves as unloved and unwanted by the deserted parents or some put the blame of the available parents as it is their fault for the abscond parent desertion. The crucial event of a marital breakdown is the act of separation. This usually occurred when the relationship between both parents had gone cold.                                        A single parent is usually considered the primary caregiver. Life in single parent family can be extremely stressful, in socio-economic, psychological and emotional terms leading to depression (Ebin, 2005). Children from single-parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some rights and opportunities. The problem of deprivation of a second parent is bad enough but when the remaining parent cannot cope with the resultant problems a tragic situation arises. In such a situation, the child becomes a misfit in the society (Salami and Alawode, 2000). Several researchers have worked on the issue of the single parenthood especially concerning it effect on children and the challenges faced by single parents. (Salami and Alawode, 2000; Nzewunwah, 1995; Nzewunwah, 1998; Igba, 2006; Keswet & Dapas, 2010; Egbochuku &  Oliha, 2014 and Olaleye & Oladeji, 2010) these studies had focused on single parenthood influence on academic performance, its influence on adolescent bahaviours, its impact on street children, its effect on truant behaviour of secondary school students, challenges and coping strategies of single parents and emerging family pattern of single-parent family. Studies on the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood are few. Moreso, all of these studies have been concentrated on other area outside Kaduna State. However, the present study is interested in investigating the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

According to Ushie, Emeka, Ononga, & Owolabi (2012) in a study on influence of family structure on students’ academic performance in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State stated that lack of family instability; divorce and indecent way of life among other factors remain common reasons why single parents are more likely to experience other disruptions that could affect their depression. These conditions are not conducive for effective parenting. This is because when the single parent is overburdened by responsibilities and by their own emotional reaction to their situation, they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their children's needs (Nzewunwah, 1995). It is against this backdrop that the study was embarked upon to examine the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area.

1.3 Research questions

In view of the afore-going problem, this research intends to address the following questions:

1.      What are the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government area of Kaduna State?

2.      What are the socio-economic challenges associated with single parenthood in Kaduna North Government Kaduna?

3.      What are the coping strategies to be employed by single parents in Kaduna North Local Government area?

1.4 The Objective of the Study                                                                                                         The general aim of this study is to examine the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area. The aim will be achieved with the following specific objectives:

1.      To examine the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government area of Kaduna State.

2.      To investigate the socio-economic challenges associated with single parenthood in Kaduna North Government Kaduna.

3.      To outline the coping strategies to be employed by single parents in Kaduna North Local Government area.

1.5     Significance of the Study.                                                                                                                   The study sought to investigate the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area which will enable the researcher to provide an in-depth understanding of the problem of single parenthood especially among the residents of Kaduna North Local Government Area, Kaduna.                                                                                                           These findings would hopefully create more awareness and serve as a source of reference for sociology students, communities, religious organization, legal institutions, government, stake holders, governmental organization, counselors, non-governmental organizations, administrators in research and policy and the public who are interested in reducing the incidence of single parenthood in our society.                                                                                                                                   It will serve as a contribution to knowledge and contribute to the work of other researchers and individuals carrying out similar studies on the socio-economic consequences of marital instability. The findings of this study will also add to the existing knowledge about marital instability, since knowledge develops through more research, the gap in the study can serve as a base for future research on socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood.               The results obtained from this study and recommendation provided could be used for policy making and policy implementation to find lasting solutions to the problem of single parenthood.

1.6   Scope of the Study

The research shall be carried out within the confines of Kaduna North Local Government Area. the research primarily focuses on the socio-economic factors influencing single parenthood in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.7 Definition of Terms                                                                                                                                 The following terms are defined as used in this study.

Socio-Economic Factors:  The combination of social and economic elements. The combination or interaction of social and economic factors.

Single Parenthood: Single parenting is a situation in which one of the two individuals (i.e., mother or father) involved in the conception of the child becomes solely responsible for the upbringing of the child. In addition single-parenthood can be defined as when one out of two people who is responsible for the nurturing and child rearing is not available, and the  work meant for two people, is now been carried out by only one person.                


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