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        1.1      Background to the Study                                                                 

A family can be recognized as a unit of people who have agreed to live together as father, mother and children. It is a single protective umbrella in the wider society. As an umbrella it protects, covers or shield it members from the buffeting characteristics of a wider society. It is an institution that protects, covers, shield and nurture it members. Nwobi (1996) family members are important to each other and offer each other love and support. The family protects its members from external attach, by proving food, clothes shelter and care. The young ones grow to trust the family as a place of peace and comfort sharing their problem with the family member than outsiders. This is because family members respect and love each other and would like to keep their secret. It is not ideal for family member to expose each other secret; they are supposed to bear each other burden. Chukwuemeka (1999) defined family as a set of people related by blood, marriage or some other agreed upon relationship or adoption who shares the primary responsibility for reproduction and caring for the members. Nwobi (1997) defined family instability as a situation where the family knows no peace poor structure and organization, emotional separation of members and poor relationship with relation in-laws. Josh billings (2008) defined upbringing children as the rearing of children, especially the care love and guidance given by parents.

.     1.2 Statement of the Problem

However, in recent time, it has been observed that family instability I Nigeria has increased especially in Umuchiatu, ObeNkanu West Local Government Area Enugu State. This phenomenon has resulted into various social problems as a result of unchecked effects by the social welfare, government, and individual themselves. Children brought up in such homes encounter problems moving from mother to father in order meet their needs and when they cannot cope with the situation they indulge in various social vices like truancy, robbery, stealing, drug trafficking, prostitution and other socially vices. These normally affect the society as a whole because family is the nucleus of the bedrock of the society. 
Why am interested in this topic is to enable me to know the cause of family instability, as a newly married woman when it occurs in my family or around me, I will advice them and bring solution to their problem.

      Children from broken homes are more likely to run away from their family than children who come from more stable families (Uwaoma&Udeagha, 2007).Uwaoma and Udeagha further explained that a broken home has an imbalance and as a result is detrimental to a child’s socialization and personality adjustment. The resultant effect is that a child may be more vulnerable to negative peer pressure and may ultimately commit delinquent acts not committed by children from stable families where there is a balanced structure of two parents who act as good role models in the child’s acquiring proper roles (Odebunmi, 2007).

      Children growing up in unstable families are at a greater risk of experiencing a variety of behavioural and educational problems, including; smoking, drug abuse, vandalism, violence and criminal acts than children from stable families (Sheryln, 2008). According to Sheryln, changes in the family can affect the levels of self-control in children. The transitions in the family structure also lead to changes in the organization, monitoring and disciplining of the children. If the changes are widespread, the resulting changes in the adolescents’ levels of self-control will likely lead to anti-social behaviours (Mullens, 2004). 

      Single-parent families are often financially vulnerable as compared to two-parent families. This unfortunate economic circumstance can draw these families to disorganized neighbourhoods where crime and delinquency are rampant (Alfrey, 2010). The implication according to Alfrey is that the children may be exposed to learning delinquent behaviours and they may also be enticed into joining delinquent gangs. It is the opinion of the researcher that financial vulnerability may also be a source of strain to children in single-parent families. Hence, they may not have some of their needs met by their single parent. The effect is that children in such a situation may be pushed to engage in theft, extortion and other delinquent actions to make ends meet. 

     The menace of child upbringing in Owerri municipality is evident in juvenile crime statistics in Owerri municipality collated by the Police headquarters, Owerri from 2009 to 2011.Based on the data, it shows that juveniles between the ages of 14 to 17 years committed the following offences: Murder, 1 case, theft, 61 cases, assault, 55 cases, and breach of public peace, 6 cases.

       Nwankwo et al (2010) have also attributed the rise of anti-social behaviours among young people in Owerri municipality to family instability among other factors.  They noted that children from unstable families have multiple behavioural problems which impel them to engage in delinquent behaviours. This, according to them is because the warmth, direction, love and protection which the parents would have provided for them are lost and then sought in anti-social behaviours such as drug abuse.

      However, there seems to be a controversy on the relationship between family instability and child upbringing. While Alemika and Chukwuma’s (2001) study, among other studies found no relationship between broken homes and child upbringing, Kimani’s (2010) study found a positive relationship between broken homes and child upbringing.  As a result, this study aims at bridging the gap in studies on child upbringing and also to investigate the relationship between family instability and child upbringing in Owerri municipality.

1.3    Research Questions

This study is aimed at finding answers to the following questions:

1.        What is the extent of family instability in Owerri municipality?

2.        What is the relationship between broken homes and child upbringing in Owerri municipality?

3.        How does conflict in the family affect child upbringing in Owerri municipality?

4.        How does inadequate parental supervision affect child upbringing in Owerri


5.        What are the consequences of family instability on the society?          

6.        What are the solutions to family instability as it affects child upbringing? 

1.4Objectives of the Study

       The general objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between family instability and child upbringing in Owerri municipality.

      The specific objectives of this study include:

1.                  To find out the extent of family instability in Owerri municipality.

2.                  To ascertain the relationship between broken homes and child upbringing in

Owerri municipality.

3.                  To critically evaluate the influence of family conflicts on child upbringing in

Owerri municipality.

4.                  To appraise the influence of inadequate parental supervision on child upbringing?  

5.                  To find out the consequences of family instability on the society.

6.                  To proffer solutions to the problems of family instability and child upbringing in Owerri Municipality.      

1.5  Significance of the Study

        This study is very significant because if the causes of child upbringing are not known, then, finding a solution to the problem may become an effort in futility. Therefore, this study will be a resource material on how family instability and other family-related variables influence child upbringing. This study will ultimately contribute to closing the gap that exists in studies on child upbringing. In addition, this study will increase the knowledge base in criminology. It will also be useful to other researchers who may need secondary data for other research work in related subject matter.

      Practically, the findings of this study will be very useful to guidance counselors and those responsible for the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents in that it will serve as a working tool in dealing with the problems of juveniles. Parents and care-givers will also find this study very useful as it will raise their consciousness towards monitoring and supervising their children and wards. The findings of this study will also be useful to the government in the sense that it will assist the government in formulating policies that will consolidate the family.

Operational Definition of Concepts

Family: In the context of human society, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated either by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage or other relationship), or co-residence (as implied by the etymology of the English word "family") or some combination of these

Instability: The state of being unstable; lack of stability.

Implication: The conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Child Upbringing: Child upbringing is not an easy task. Both husband and wife have important role to play in the home front so as to raise good children that will be useful to the family and society at large. Some parents have failed in their responsibilities to their children. As long as parents do not play their roles adequately, these children

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