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Background of the Study

Family has been universally perceived as a small but powerful unit and the oldest institution in the history of human existence that helps in the character formation of the child and moulding of behaviour of the individual in the society. This is because family is the fundamental and basic social unit for human development and also the primary agent for socialization of children. According to Macionis (2007) family is a social institution found in all societies that unites people in cooperative groups to care for one another including children. Family is a social unit made up of father, mother, children and blood relations (Okonkwo, 2005). Similarly, Ononuju (2005) opined that family is a unit of people tied together by bonds of marriage, birth or adoption, having in most cases a common abode. The authour also maintained that man and woman as the first members of the family have obligations towards the younger members as they arrive and that involves inculcating social norms such as love, care, cooperation and discipline among her members. Buttressing further, the author posited that when families fail in these basic functions, a faulty foundation is laid which will result in faulty adult behaviours such as corruption and all kinds of indiscipline. In the context of this study, Family can also be seen as a kinship group of two or more persons who live in the same household and are related by marriage or adoption. Family also performs certain functions for their sustainability and wellbeing.

Family performs many functions such as reproduction or procreation, protection and care of young ones, educational functions and provision of shelter (home) (Sunil, 2011). Reproduction or procreation is an essential function which the family performs in all societies. The family along with regulating the sexual behaviour in relation to the satisfaction of sexual needs secures a legitimate basis for procreation. This function of the family contributes to the continuity of family



and ultimately perpetuates the human race. Family is regarded as an institution par-excellence for the production and rearing of children. No other institution tends to take care of the child like the family; the child at birth is completely helpless and may not survive without the help of the family. Sunil (2011) asserted that family provides care, protection, security (mental, moral among others) and fulfills other needs to make the child fit in the society The author also asserted that all the members of the family depend on the home for comfort, protection and peace.

The family also performs educational functions such as socialization of the child that starts from the home through interaction with the parents, sibling and peers. The child learns a lot in the home before school age. Shankar (2012) posited that the performance of the child depends on the family background. It is within the family that the child learns about traditions, customs, norms, and values of the society in which they belong. Highlighting further, the authour stated that if any dysfunction is seen in the family system, the functions of the family can be affected. Several family factors determine the functionality and dysfunction of the family. These factors include family structure, family size, and family leadership style.

Family factors are often referred to as those characteristics that define the families and the specific things that make up the family such as family structure, family size, family leadership styles, disciplinary practices and parental involvement among others (Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Contributing to the above assertion, Benokraitis (2007) maintained that family structure is considered as a family support system involving two married individuals providing care and stability for their biological offspring. Family structures can also be seen as substantial make up of the members in relationship to each other without respect to roles and function (Toby, 2015). In the context of this work, family structure can be referred to as various components that make up family system such as father, mother and their children. It can also be referred to as households


consisting of two married parents and their biological children or their members who are related by blood, marriage, and adoption in extended family ties.

Family has many structures/types, namely: Nuclear and Extended. Nuclear family comprised of the man, the wife and their children in a monogamous relationship (Anyanwu & Ofordile, 2012). This implies a relationship that binds the father and the members of the household. Supporting the above assertion, Toby (2015) stated that nuclear family consisted of a father, mother, and their biological or adoptive descendants, often called the traditional family. From the above assertion nuclear family is the type of family which consists of the father, mother and their children while in Extended family, the members includes the husband, wife, children and other relations covering two to three generations (Anyanwu & Ofodile, 2012) Stressing further, the authors, asserted that extended family system consists of the husband, wife, children, grand parents, uncles, aunts, cousins from both sides. Furthermore, Ngale (2009) maintained that children who found themselves in extended family may experience overcrowding as a result of large family size which tends to result to low parental attention, financial hardship and this may lead the children into deviant behaviour.

Family size is the number of parents and children that make up a family, either nuclear or extended family (Farrington & Loeber, 1999). According to Bjorklund (2004) Family size refers to all siblings present in a household. Family size can also be seen as the total number of people found in the family. A family may be regarded as large size when the family members are within 7-10 and above 10, while a family may also be regarded as small when the size of family members are within 1-3 and 4-6 respectively (Arthur, 2005). This implies that family size might increase the risk of child’s deviant act. For instance, as the number of siblings in a household increases, the amount of parental attention that can be given to each child may decrease. Also, as the number of


siblings increases, the household tends to become crowded, possibly leading to increase in financial hardship, and frustration (Kantarevic & Mechoulan, 2006). The reason why family size may be linked to negative behaviours or deviant activities includes absentee parents, financial hardship and broken homes (Ngale, 2009). Thus, it may appear that the larger the number of children in the family, the more they exhibit deviant behaviour. From the foregoing, the researcher may view that the more the number of children in a family, the less time, energy, and financial resources parents will have to devote to each individual child. The family also is posed with certain leadership style that governs its members.

Besides the above variables (family structure and family size) so far discussed that may affects the behaviour and socialization of children or family members, family is also posed with certain leadership styles that parents use in training their family members. Family leadership style is the aggregate of the various patterns which parents use in the up-bringing, training and rearing of their children (Okpako, 2004). In other words, family leadership styles are the methods which parents use in training their children. It is also known as parenting styles or child rearing practices. In the context of this study, family leadership styles are the different types of practices parents use to rear or socialize their children to internalize acceptable norms and values of the society that will help to mould their personality and behaviour.

Highlighting further on family leadership styles, Baumrind (1972) identified four family leadership styles to include authoritarian family leadership style, authoritative family leadership style, permissive family leadership style and neglectful family leadership style. Authoritarian family Leadership Style is perceived as family leadership style in which all the decisions and directives made are passed to subordinates who are expected to carry out these under very close supervision (Annick, 2002). Stressing further, Annick maintained that any subordinates’ attempt at


questioning the directives given are discouraged including the fact that there may be little or no opportunity for subordinates to develop initiative and creativity.

Families that adopt authoritarian family leadership style are characterized by high expectations of conformity and compliance to family rules and directions. Authoritarian family leadership style is a restrictive, punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their directions and to respect their work effort (Dienye & Oyet, 2011). Authoritarian parents are less responsive to their children’s needs, and are more likely to spank a child rather than discuss the problem (Tim, 2007). Stressing further, the author stated that authoritarian parents display little warmth and are highly controlling. Authoritarian parents exercise authority such as “you will do this because I said so” and “because I’m the parent and you are not”. Authoritarian parents do not engage in discussion with teens and family rules and standards are not debated. Authoritarian parents also believed that the children should accept their rules and regulations without question, children of such parents may tend to learn that following parental rules and adherence to strict discipline is valued over independent behaviour. In a related view, Kopko (2007) opined that children may become rebellious and might display aggressive behaviours and as well may become dependent. These children who are more submissive tend to remain dependent on their parents.

Authoritative family leadership style also called assertive, democratic or balanced family leadership style (Dienye & Oyet, 2011), is characterize by child centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity. Authoritative family leadership style understands their children’s feeling and teaches them how to regulate them. They encourage children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions. Authoritative parents set limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parents will explain the motive for their punishment (Tim, 2007). Children under this type of family leadership style tend to display a positive behaviour. According


to Santrock (2006), children of authoritative parents tend to be cheerful, self-reliant, self-controlled, friendly and achievement-oriented, co-operate with adults and cope well with stress.

Permissive family leadership style involves allowing the children to do what they wish. Permissive family leadership style also called indulgent family leadership style is a style of family leadership in which parents are very involved with their children, place few demands or controls on them (Dienye & Oyet, 2011). In using this style, the parents are nurturing and accepting and are very responsive to their children’s needs and wishes. Justifying the above assertion, Santrock (2006) postulated that permissive parents do not require children to regulate themselves. Buttressing further, the authour noted that Children from such parents tend to be rebellious, low in self-reliance and self control, impulsive, aggressive, domineering, aimless, and low in achievement.

Neglectful family leadership style also known as uninvolved detached, family leadership style involves parents that exhibits low control, and are not involved in their child’s life, are disengaged, undemanding, low in responsiveness and do not set limits (Nwachukwu, 2001). Contributing to the above idea, (Tim, 2007) stated that parents of neglectful family are unsupportive of their children but will still provide basic needs. Children of neglectful parents tend to “ be socially incompetent, have low self esteem, impulsive and aggressive, poor self control and do not handle independence well, have difficulty in determining right or wrong behaviour and experience school problems” both academic and behav ioural (Terry, 2004)

In other words, when there is any form of dysfunction in the family system, the resultant effect tends to be seen in the behaviours exhibited by the child/children. According to Merriam, (2013) behaviour refers to the way in which one acts or conducts one’s self in response to stimuli. From the foregoing, behaviour can also be defined as the way in which an animal or a person acts


in response to a particular situation, stimuli or towards others. Any conduct or behaviour which does not conform to the accepted cultural norms of the society is known as deviance. Deviance is recognized as violation of cultural norms (Macionis, 2007). In consonance with the above assertion, Richard (2009) opined that deviance is the act of being different from the popular belief usually in a bad way. Buttressing further, the authour stated that deviance is an act or behaviour that does not conform to accepted norms and values of the society and rules and regulations guiding an organization or institution in the society. When an individual behaviour is at variance with the existing norms, he or she could be described as a deviant. Justifying the above assertion, Wisegeek (2013) maintained that deviant behaviour can be referred to as behaviours which do not adhere to widely-accepted social or cultural norms. Deviant behaviour is considered abnormal or anti-social if it is uncommon, different from the norm and does not conform to what society expects (Nwankwo, 2006). In the context of this work, deviant behaviour is any act which is contrary or at variance with the societal accepted norms and values such as stealing, fighting, bullying, telling lies, absenteeism among others.

There are different forms of deviant behaviour which include physical form of deviance, criminal form of deviance, moral form of deviance and psycho-social form of deviance. Physical form of deviance is perhaps the most visible form of deviance and it can evoke stereotypes, stigmatization, and discrimination. Sociologists have described two types of physical deviance including; violations of aesthetic norms (what people should look like, including height, weight, and the absence or presence of disfigurement), and physical incapacity, which include those with a physical disability (Goode, 2005). According to Nzekwu (2011) criminal form of deviance are offences that are destructive to life and property and requires prompt attention because of their harmful nature and the gravity of the behaviour, their significant departure from that which is


normal and acceptable in both the school community and the larger society. Ibia (2006) stated that

criminal  offences  are  great  offences  against  societal  laws  and  hence  must  be  repressed  and

controlled in accordance with the established rules and regulations governing the school system

and the laws governing the larger society.  Stressing further, the author enumerated the example of

criminal form of deviance to include suicide, exam malpractice, stealing, forgery, fighting, fraud

and assault. Moral form of deviance can be defined as the deviation from society’s moral values.

The behaviour negates the moral norms in the society. Examples of moral deviance are sexual

perversion, alcoholism, drug use, rape, and such behaviours are rampant amongst children and

teenagers  (Nzekwu,  2011).  From  the foregoing,  it  could  be deduced  that  deviant  behaviours

exhibited by primary school pupils may include stealing, picking pocket, fighting, quarrelling,

lateness, loitering about, lying, gossiping, noise making, among others which may be caused by

some factors such as poor parent-child relations among others.

The causes of deviant behaviour among primary school pupils may be associated with poor parent-child relations, (poor supervision, lack of discipline, low parental involvement in the training of the child, low parental warmth), and psychological factors (daring, impulsiveness, poor concentration),family structure/ type, family size , child neglect, parental conflict and disrupted families (Lipsey & Derzon, 1998). Alienation, negative labeling, social bonds amongst others may also be causes of deviant behaviour. Murray and Farrington, (2005) opined that family may be an important factor for pupils’ deviant behaviour. In addition, pupils’ from broken families tend to have deviant behaviour. Cheng, (2001) also maintained that Family factors may also cause deviant behaviour of pupils. There are also other causes which include environmental and psychological factors.

Justifying the above point, Kendra (2015:1)

stated that the individual is the primary unit of analysis in psychological theories of deviance. That is, individual human beings may be solely responsible for their deviant behaviours. Secondly, an individual personality is the major motivational element that derives


behaviour within individuals. Thirdly, criminals and deviants are seen as suffering from personality deficiencies. Thus, deviant behaviour results from abnormal, dysfunctional, or inappropriate mental processes within the personality of the individual. Finally, these defective or abnormal mental processes could be caused from a variety of things, including a diseased mind, inappropriate learning, improper conditioning, and the absence of appropriate role models or the strong presence of inappropriate role models.

From the above causes of deviant behaviours among primary school pupils, it may be seen that in spite of deviant acts emanating from family factors such as family structure, family size, family leadership styles, other factors such as environmental and psychological factors may also have been influencing deviant behaviours with its attendant consequences. Supporting the above assertion, Sanjana (2008) described children who exhibit deviant behaviours as children with moral problem, lack of respect for traditional values, lack of self-respect, lack of independence and self-sufficiency which have serious consequences on them and the society at large. Buttressing further, Sanjana stated that children with deviant behaviour potentially lost chances for fulfilling their life ambitions and career and as such constitute problems to the society. These deviant behaviours have severe or serious consequences on pupils and society at large. Deviant behaviour might affect the individual and society at large in the area of socialization, academics, character formation and life ambitions among others, which may lead the child to become societal nuisance terrorizing the lives of other members of the society in general.

The researcher’s observation has shown that parents in Awgu education zone are mostly farmers and businessmen and women whose aim is to acquire wealth through their farm produce at the end of the harvest season and for the business class who equally aims at making “quick money”. As a result of these, parents handover the training of their children and wards to housekeepers and nannies without proper supervision of their children’s behaviour or character


formation, food, health and academic works such as assignment given to them in schools. In Awgu Education Zone, personal observation as a result of visit to some primary schools have shown that pupils in the primary schools are late to school, fight each other, involve in examination malpractice. Also, some of the pupils steal other pupils’ money and books; they tell lies and make a lot of noise in the classroom. Some of the pupils are used to loitering during school hours, some even roam along the street when lessons are going on in the school, and some of them spend so much money during break period, buying things for themselves and their friends which is an indication that the money they are spending might have been stolen from their parents. The pupils’ extravagant spending is not known by their parents. These negative behaviours may have serious impact on their education and social lives which in turn will affect the society at large. The pupils may be distracted and have low concentration in the class room thereby leading to failure or low academic performance.

These pupils who indulge in these deviant behaviours may graduate from stealing to armed robbery in future and become terror to the family, community and society at large. However, whet

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