INFLUENCE OF CUSTODIAN ARRANGEMENTS ON THE EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR OF CHILDREN IN ABUJA, FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, NIGERIA

INFLUENCE OF CUSTODIAN ARRANGEMENTS ON THE EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR OF CHILDREN IN ABUJA, FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background to the Study

When parents set up a home and have a family, they naturally hope to create a happy environment in which their children can grow up (Pamela, 2000). According to Mallum (2002) the home plays an important role in the child‟s personality development. Parents are expected to be with their children throughout the years of child upbringing. In the traditional family setting, the man was a bread winner; this gave the woman the opportunity to remain at home with the children. Igba (2006) emphasized that children should be cared for by both parents and that children should not be separated from either or both parents against their will. This is not so in the state where death, divorce, illness and employment have separated many children from their parents, leaving the custody of the child in the hand of one parent, relatives or nonrelatives.

The Family Law Series of Canada (2009) specified that custody is the right to make the important decisions about the care and upbringing of the child. Moreover, it is a child‟s biological or adoptive parent who gets custody but in some cases, other family members who are regarded as third party. For the purpose of this study, third party custody includes family members and non-family members. In the Nigerian context, it is common for non relations to take custody of a child who serves as a house help. This could be done in agreement with the parents or relations of the child. Typically, the term custodian arrangement has been operationally defined to mean children residing in household other than a household in which both biological

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parents are present (Demuth& Brown, 2004). Custodian arrangement exists in different forms which include single parenthood, step parenthood, legal guardianship and foster parenthood.

Igba (2006) stated that West African families make custodian arrangement for their children to stay with richer relatives in the city and for newlyweds to hire a young village girl to cook and clean for them. Other factor that could warrant custodian arrangement for children include rape, teenage pregnancy, military leave, employment demands, adoption, urbanization and industrialization have also contributed to custodian arrangement for children (Igba, 2006). Ononuju (2004) asserted that every child born alive has to undergo training which involves development of good personality, acceptable behaviour and rearing responsible citizens. Consequently, good training becomes an essential component of custodian arrangement in the process of which many children are exposed to aggressive acts. When one endures a constant name calling, criticism, social rejection, sarcasm or maltreatment, the emotional pain is immense. Children who witness these types of exposure to hostile environment known as child abuse may develop serious negative emotional behaviour. The abused child is one who is deprived of proper parental care and proper socialization process (Kembe, 2005). Child abuse is any act on the part of a parent or caregiver that has the potential for, or has actually caused serious emotional, cognitive, mental or behavioural disorders for a child (UNICEF, 2008). These behavioural disorders may hamper development of acceptable social behaviour.

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Social behaviour is often related to emotional and personal behaviour of an individual. The concept of social behaviour can be explained as a combination of learning and interacting with either an individual or a group (Kolo, 2010). According to Joel (2007) behaviour is the act of the soul which is expressed using the body. It is two dimensional, either good as in interest and love or bad as in hatred and anger. Santrock (2005) affirmed that emotion is an effective experience that accompanies generalized inner adjustment, mental and psychological stir up state in the individual and that show itself in his own behaviour. In most cases, the social and emotional behavioral problems that manifest as a result of poor custodian management of children includes dishonesty, stealing, rudeness, bullying, disobedient, truancy, fighting, aggressiveness, uncooperativeness, and antisocial behaviour such as being constantly withdrawn and sadness (Prevent Child Abuse America, 2010).

Studies like that of Salami and Alawode (2011) investigated the effects of single parenting on the academic achievement of adolescents. The study revealed that students from intact homes are significantly better in academic achievement than those from single parenting homes. Also Olaoye and Oyegunwa (2012) examined the influence of single parenting and implication for children academic and moral upbringing. This study revealed that children from single parenting home tend to suffer neglect and diverted attention from the fathers and mothers that have separated. This finding agreed with the findings of Ortese (1998) who believed that children from homes where the father and the mother are present are well taken care of and socialized in the best possible way. Moreover, Billing, Ehrle, and Kortenkamp (2002) studied Children Cared for by Relatives and their Well-being in United State of

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America. The result shows that 13 percent of children in relative care exhibited high levels of behavioral and emotional problems which were higher than the 7 percent of children living with their biological parents who experienced these difficulties.

Custodian arrangement, compared with intact family, is a very important issue that can have significant effects on children‟s emotional and social behaviour. Children who are raised in custodian arrangement home are likely to face problems of not reaching their full potentials. The parents ideally provide a sense of security and stability that is necessary for children but when there is a breakdown in the family structure, it may have a remarkable impact on a child and also the ability to function normally or exhibit a socially acceptable and positive emotional behaviour. In most situations the children no longer have two biological parents to depend on. So they have to rely on one parent or none to meet their needs.

With limited finances, time and similar inadequate support, children need to perform to the best of their ability. This is not to say that the custodian parents raising them are not providing them with more than adequate love and attention but rather the custodian parent model within itself is comprised of many different factors that can affect children‟s social and emotional behaviour. Therefore, since custodian arrangements deprived a child of one parent or both, the present study want to clarify the popular assumption that children from custodian arrangements are emotionally and socially imbalanced in view of the fact that it can conspicuously be noticed.

1.2         Statement of the Problem

Children need a great deal of nurturing which includes attention, love, affection and encouragement from their parents. The child also needs to be provided

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with a wide range of stimulating interaction that positively nurtures the child‟s development, particularly in psychosocial terms. The researcher observed in Federal Capital Territory, that some children and house helps in custodian arrangements are exposed to hawk on the streets and highways at the expense of their schooling. Some of these children are exposed to responsibility too much for their ages in dangerous and unhealthy environment. This is child abuse, including any behaviour which neglects the child‟s survival and developmental needs, causes physical or emotional injury and subjects the child to measure situation and experience which interferes with his/her healthy development towards adulthood (Alokan, 2010).

The researcher also observed in Federal Capital Territory that the care and socialization given to custodian children by some custodian parents are different from that of two biological parents. There is a difference in the liveliness of children from homes where the father and mother are present. In most custodian families in Federal Capital Territory, the researcher further find out that those children in custodian arrangements spent hours doing domestic chores in the home on daily basis with less attention paid to their physical and psychological welfare. Some of these children complained of being fed poorly, went to school late and went to bed late. Some custodians considered these children as house-maid and treat them harshly.

Reports from Newspapers in Nigeria present various challenges and problems encountered by children in their custodian arrangement homes. For example, Nasir (2012) reported that two women were arrested by the Secretariat of FCT Social Development for allegedly abusing children in their custody. The arrests were made with the assistance of their neighbours who had been angered by the continuous

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maltreatment of the children. Nasir revealed that the eight (8) year-old children, Amarachi and Ifeanyinwa were bathed with hot water by their aunt for failure to meet up with the workload assigned to them. Moreover, a 13 year-old Blessing was burnt with hot pressing Iron by her aunt who she serves as a house help.

Another report by Akinkuotu (2011) revealed that a man beat his 11 year-old son to death because of his step mother who had reported to his father the boy‟s reluctance to go and buy foodstuff (indomie) for her. Perhaps, if the child were her son, she would not have reported him for such a minor offence. Again, Ohai (2008) reported that a foster parent (aunt) starved and tortured an eight (8) year old girl, broke her arms and removed her teeth. This foster parent transformed the plump girl into a skinny body and badly bruised skin by frequent beating and starvation. Whenever it rained heavily, most houses in their area experienced flood, her aunt would move out of their home and leave her alone in the flooded house without food most of the time. Custodian Parents in Federal Capital Territory confine these children to hawk on the streets.

According to Salami and Alawode (2011) the child is morally upright and emotionally stable when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents. Many children in custodian arrangement families are never allowed to express their feelings in the home except on few occasions with family friends or classmate outside the home. All these can be traced to contemporary child custodians who may treat their wards irresponsibly without thinking of the consequences of their custodianship. The researcher further observed that in Federal Capital Territory, custodian parents do not have time to develop the emotions of the children in their custody. Salami and

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Alawode (2011) affirmed this when they stated that children from broken home were likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some rights and opportunities. Moreover, the breakdown of family and the deterioration of civility in everyday life have generally become national issues. Among the social issues that are creating problems in the society especially among the youth are poor school attendance, uncooperative attitude, lateness to school and obedience to law. Also included are psychological problems of various kinds and degrees such as bad mood, wickedness, depression, poor concentration, lack of confidence and self esteem among others (Salami & Alawode, 2011).

It is pathetic to know that little or no effort has been put in place to address the problems highlighted. Therefore the researcher deem it fit to carry out this study to serve as a stepping stone in providing solution to the problems associated with influence of custodian arrangement on emotional and social behaviour of children.

1.3         Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study was to determine the influence of custodian arrangements on emotional and social behaviour of students in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

The specific objectives were to:

1.      identify the major types of custodian arrangements for children in Federal Capital Territory;

2.      determine the emotional behaviour of students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory;

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3.      determine the social behaviour exhibited by students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory;

4.      assess the differences in the emotional behaviour between male and female students who are in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory; and

5.      ascertain the differences in the social behaviour between male and female students who are in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory.

1.4         Research Questions

The following research questions were answered by the researcher

1.      What are the major types of custodian arrangements available for students in Federal Capital Territory?

2.      What are the emotional behaviours exhibited by students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory?

3.      What are the social behaviours exhibited by students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory?

4.      What are the differences in the emotional behaviours of male and female students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory?

5.      What are the differences in the social behaviours of male and female students

in    custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory?

1.5        Null Hypotheses

The following Null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

H01: There is no significant relationship between the mean score for emotional behaviour and types of custodian arrangement for students in Federal Capital Territory.

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H02: There is no significant relationship between the mean score for social behaviour of students and types of custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory.

H03: There is no significant difference in the mean score of emotional behaviour of male and female students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory.

H04: There is no significant difference in the mean score for social behaviour of male and female students in custodian arrangements in Federal Capital Territory.

1.6         Significance of the Study

The followings will benefit from the study: the custodian parents, children in custodian arrangements, teacher, counselors and psychologists. This study will contribute to knowledge and literature by revealing the influence of custodian arrangements on student‟s emotional and social behaviour.

The outcome of the study will be of importance to the custodian parents who are directly concerned in the development of emotions and social behaviour of the students. They will benefit from the findings of the study as the study will help them to see the need to be involved in the emotional and social development of the students in their custody.

The outcome of the study will also help to improve the quality of emotional and social behaviour of the children in custodian arrangements. The study will enable teachers to teach students in custodian arrangements to improve their emotional and social behaviour.

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Also, counselors and psychologists will from this study be able to generate vital information that assists them in admonishing students from custodian arrangements. In like manner all those who are concerned with the care and welfare of students in custodian arrangements will be guided by this study as it will serve as eyes opener for seminars, conferences and for further research. The outcome will also help them to educate parents to understand the importance of their involvement in the nurturing and developing the emotional and social behaviour of their students.

1.7         Basic Assumptions of the Study

The study was based on the following assumptions that;


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