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This project is set to deal with the marked rise in the rate of divorces involving children education. It is contended that much of confusion is studying the effect of divorce on children has been a result of a failure to view divorce as a process involving series of events and changes in life circumstances rather than as a single event. At different points in this sequence children are confronted with different coping strategies. The data for this project was gotten from a questionnaire distributed and it was analyzed through percentage which led to the conclusion that adverse the effect of parental breakup on a Child’s education is one of those social contexts in which the experience of divorce is more common.
1.0 Background to theProblem
Most parental divorces end in divorce. Divorce, according to Havemann (1990) is a legal process through which a marriage is dissolved. Traditionally, divorce implied that one of the partners was guilty of some transgression in the marriage and that one was at fault. Historically, adultery and physical cruelty were the only basis for divorce, but later, a number of other transgressions were added such as abandonment, habitual drunkenness and mental cruelty. Divorce is consideredasunmitigated evil. The experience of the human race, however, seems to prove that there may be a right or wrong use of it. Divorce has become, not only a legal action, but also a range of economic, psychological and social actions.
Steinzor (1969) sees divorce as an act of considered and willful choice which is inconsistent with human heritage. In human culture, love and personal choice in marriage are logical derivations of institutionally guaranteed freedoms, where there is freedom to choose divorce as means a freedom to change one’smind.
The image of the heavy hand of death in the marital vow,” till death do us part,” it seems, contradicts tradition of liberty and the individual right ‘to change mind before death’ (Steinzer 1969). Thus, divorce has become contradictory to marriage vows: that one is committed to achieving harmony within the family but be ready to separate if family life becomes aprison.
According to McDonald (1978) - as cited earlier on, divorce is defined as the dissolution of a relationship, which is recognized as marital relationship. It is marked by formal court proceedings and its decree is divorce. Divorce is usually accompanied by formal arrangements for the owning of property, custody and support of children, if there are 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 grantedtoday.
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 parentsare 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 divorced parents are roughly two times more likely to drop out from school than their peers who benefit from living with parents who are not divorced (Mclanahan 1994). Some children from parental divorces are more likely to turn to drug abuse or other negative behaviors. The truth is that every child needs and deserves the love and provision of a mother and a father. The loving two –married –parent family is the best environment for children. A strong family and home is a place where children gain the identity, discipline, and moral education that are essential for their full individualdevelopment.
America, once a nation with a strong marriage, had created the best route to achieving the American 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 Americans should simply accept the culture of divorce without considering the future of the children. Studies in the early 1980s showed that children in repeat divorce earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around with (Andrew Cherlin,1981).
In 1990s, the divorce in India was as low as 7 failed marriages per 1000 marriages. As women increased in work places and earned a salary, the need to rely on a man to earn the daily bread for the family has nearly ceased to exist. With this new found freedom, women no longer had to spend time to think about the consequences of a parental divorce. Still, the divorce rates in India posed the beginning of the new millennium are as low as 11 failed marriages per 1000 marriages.
The effects of broken homes on children are traumatic. Broken homes 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 parental divorce it is difficult for children to find a sense of security because experience shows them that what seemed stable and good fell to pieces and left them empty. Growing up in a broken home may also cause children to have difficult in futurerelationship.
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 of 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 children’s academic achievement. In accounting for the relationship between marital relations and children’s adjustment, researchers suggest that a relationship between spouses affects their children’s adjustment directly through the emotional stress level, role modeling and academic performance (Cummings & Davies, 1994)
Unhappy marriage of parents may be associated with low achievement, because witnessing conflicts between parents heightens a level of stress on children and keep them from focusing on schoolwork. These children also learn inappropriate social problem-solving skills through modeling parental behaviors. In Korea, Lee and Chung (2004) found that the marital relationship perceived by Korean adolescent students were positively related to their school adjustment. Parents in a dysfunctionalmarriage 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. This process is consistent with interdependence between subsystems that family systems theorists maintain (Whitchurch & Constantine, 1993).
The quality of parental relationship spills over into relationship with their children. Couples with satisfying marital relationships are more warm and supportive towards their children. Amato and Keith (1991) 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, 1991).
The quality of parental functioning is one of the best predictors of children’s behavior and well-being. Several within-group studies show that either a conflicted relationship with the custodial parent or inept parenting on the part of the custodial parent are linked with a variety of negative outcomes on children including lower academic achievement, internalizing problems, externalizing problems, reduced self- esteem, and poorer social competence (Aseltine, 1996; Buchanan, Maccoby, & Dornbush,1996).
Parenting, and by implication lack of it, is the single largest variable implicated in truancy, school disruption and under-achievement. It is therefore described as themost important public issue facing the society. Both mothers 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 (1993), in a study of primary school children six months after parental separation, found that one third reported some feelings of self-blame, in turn was related to a variety of child’s problems, and lowered feelings ofself-competence.
1.2 Statement of theProblem
While literature on the relationship between parental divorces has focused on school going children’s drop out, it is silent on the role of teachers and community members in minimizing the negative effects on off parental divorce on school going children. Because the increasing rate of dropout has affected the government and family social economic abilities, it is important to consider teachers and community members’ role in minimizing the effects of parental divorces on school going children. This study intended to fill this gap in the literature. Studies such as those of Andrew1981; Harold et al., 2007; Cummings & Davies 1994; Turner & Koplec, 2006) were done in USA with a focus on nuclei family. Not much has been done in Africa where most families still have the elements of communal and extended families.
1.3 Purpose of theStudy
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects that parental divorce has on children’s academic performance and their role in minimizing thoseeffects.
1.4 Objectives of theStudy
The objectives were to:
1. Examine primary school teachers’ perceptions on the effects parental divorces on children’s academicperformance.
2. Explore the perception of children in parental divorces and the effects of their status on their academicperformance
3. Explore community members’ views on their role in the effects of parental divorce on pupils’ academicperformance.
This study was guided by the following research questions:
1. What are the teachers’ perceptions on the effects of parental divorce to children’s academicperformance?
2. What are children’s perceptions on the effects of parental divorce to their academicperformance?
3. What are the perceptions of the community members on their role in minimizing the effects of parental divorces on children’s academicperformance?
1.6 Significance of theStudy
The study intended to:
(i) Provide a thick description of the effects of parental divorces on the academic performance of school-going children and teachers and community members’ role in minimizing thoseaffects.
(ii) Contribute knowledge to the existing literature about the effects of parental divorce on students’ academic performance in primary school pupils in Nigeria.
(iii) Stimulate research on parental divorce and their effect on academic performance in primary schoolchildren.
As known by all educators, home plays a very significant role in formation of a child’s personality and socialization, broken homes are identified as one of the factor that undermine the socialization process at home, which consequently affect the performance of the child in school. If the concern of education, in particular - is to look after socialization process of the child as well as his intellectual development, then this research work shall be of great importance to parents and educators that absence of one or both of the parent affect children educational carrier
1.7 Delimitation of the study
The study concentrated mainly on people’s perceptions and their role in the context of parental divorce. It did not dwell on the causes of parental divorce.
1.8 Organization of the Study
The study comprises of five chapters. Chapter one consists of the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions, significance, limitation of the study, delimitation of the study, basic assumptions, definitions of key terms and organization of the study. Chapter two comprises of literature review theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Chapter three deals with research methodology, covering research sampling, procedures, research instruments and their validity and reliability, procedures for data collection and data analysis. Chapter four comprises of findings and discussions which were generated by the study. Chapter five presents summary, conclusions and recommendations.
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