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The study explores on the sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi local government area of Benue State with the following specific set objectives: to ascertain the causes of single parenthood, to find out the effect of single parenthood and to
proffer possible solutions to the problem of single parenthood. The
study adopted the functionalist theory as the theoretical framework
for this study adopted the descriptive method and made use of the
questionnaire and semi-structured interview as methods of data
collected. On the causes of single parenthood in Makurdi local
government area, the study reveals that, divorce is the cause of
single parenthood. On the effects of single parenthood in Makurdi
local government area, the study reveals that, parenthood affects
children education. Also, on the possible solutions to the problem of
single parenthood, the study findings suggest that, orientation and
parental counseling as ways of solving the problem of single
parenthood. Base on the research findings, the study concludes that,
the family lays the psychosocial, moral and spiritual foundations in
the overall development of the child. Thus, parenthood is a
responsibility requiring the full cooperation of both parents who must
ensure the total development of their children. This analysis becomes
necessary because life in a single parent family can be stressful for
both the child and the parent. Furthermore, the study recommends that,
there should be enforcement of child right act and relevant laws to
protect children from single parent homes and help them develop
better. Also, financial and moral support to children from single
parenthoods can help solve the hardship children from poor single
parent homes face as some of their needs can be sorted out which will
help solve the problems that will hinder their development in the
society. Also, scholarship should be granted by the government to
children from single parent homes in order to give them the basic
education that is distorted as a result of parental separation and
enhancetheir development.

1.1 Background to the Study
Families fulfill important functions in every society. Most of the
children in the world grow up in a family, although the form of that
family might change during the life course. Generally, a family
provides a child with opportunities to develop into a stable and
independent person, for instance, through enabling the child to attend
school. The future success of children thus greatly depends on the
household they grow up in. Nevertheless, a child is not in the
position to choose its own family and has to accept if his/her family
is not capable of offering him or her best opportunities. Family
structures have changed enormously during the second half of the 20th
century (Martin & Kats, 2003).
Family background is the foundation for children’s development, as
such family background in terms of family structure, size,
socio-economic status and educational background play important role
in a child’s educational attainment and social development (Osunloye,
2008). The home has a great influence on the child’s psychological,
emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola
(2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents
are the first socializing agents in an individual's life. This is
because the family background and context of a child affect his
reaction to life situations and his level of development.
Family structure in terms of single and two parent families has been
noted in various literatures to have a significant influence on a
child’s mental development (Tenibiaje, 2009; Eweniyi, 2005). This is
because providing a supportive learning environment at home requires
parents’ time as much as financial resources. According to Salami &
Alawode (2000), the existence of single parenthood in Nigeria was
formerly unknown and where they existed they were ignored as
exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family
patterns both inside and outside Nigeria. Although there are no
available statistics of single parenthood families in Nigeria,
practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is an
increase of single parents in Nigeria. In the western countries, there
is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living
in single parent households (Nwachukwu, 1998).
The growth in the number of single-parent families implies that many
children are confronted with the negative effects of single-parenthood
every year, such as economic deprivation, a decrease in the quality
and quantity of parental contact, and a decline in parental support
and effective control. Hence the need for this study which is on, the
sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi Local
Government Area of Benue State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Second Demographic Transition that occurred from the 1960s until
the late 1980s in developed countries, involving dropped off fertility
rates, decreased marriage rates, and increased divorce rates and risen
numbers of births to unmarried women contributed directly to a growth
of the number of single-parenthood families in the world. This implies
that more and more children grow up in an unstable family nowadays.
(Lewis, 2001)
Single-parent families have on average lower income than two-parent
families and are thus more constrained in ensuring adequate financial
resources to meet their children’s needs. In addition, since single
parents must cope with the double responsibility of work and child
rearing, it may be more challenging for them to provide and maintain a
supportive learning environment for their children. Such families
according to Children's Defense Fund (1994) are faced with the
challenges of diminished financial resources, assumptions of new roles
and responsibilities, establishment of new patterns in intra-family
interaction and reorganization of routines and schedules (Agulanna,
1999). 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 which affect children development in all aspect
be it health, educational, psychological, parental care and academics
aspect. (Nzewunwah, 1995). Parents are often unable to adequately
support their children when family breakdown occurs due to their own
distress, and children often seek and gain support from those outside
the immediate family such as grandparents and friends. Obviously, this
has a detrimental effect on children’s well-being and development in
all areas of social life. (OECD/UNESCO, 2003 & Fischer, (2007) as
cited by Ushie el ta (2012).
Previous research has shown that children’s educational achievement
and development is negatively affected by single parenting, while some
found no relative difference on the effect of single parenting on
child’s development (Dronkers, 1994, 1999; McLanahan & Sandefur,
1994). This comes down to the fact that the loss of one parent from
the family, which can be interpreted as a decrease in the number of
family’s financial, cultural, and social resources, leads to a
deterioration of children’s educational achievement and development in
other areas of life. Nevertheless, studies have shown that similar
research have been carried out in develop countries of the world and
other parts of Nigeria but none of such current research was found by
the researcher that talks about the effect of single parenting in
Makurdi. Hence the current study is out to explore the the
sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi local
government area of Benue State. This study is to be conducted in
Makurdi because of the rising rate of single parent’s households
within Makurdi metropolis and the effect it has on societal
1.3 Research Questions
        The following research questions are formulated to guide the study.
What is the incidence of single parenthood in Makurdi?
What are the causes of single parenthood?
What are the effects of single parenthood?
What are the possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
This study aim to ascertain the effect of single parenthood on child’s
development with the following specific set objectives:
To ascertain the incidence of single parenthood in Makurdi
To ascertain the causes of single parenthood
To find out the effects of single parenthood
To proffer possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood

1.5 Significance of the Study
        This study will be significant in various ways; First and foremost,
it will be of importance to the government, head of institutions,
policy makers as they will formulate policies that will help protect
the rights of the child and assist in their overall development. Also,
this research will be of significance to the academicians as well as
add to the already existing body of knowledge and further researchers
who may want to carry out research on the topic in further.
        The findings will also have significant importance for social workers
as it creates awareness and measures to be adopted in rendering help
to those neglected group of children in the society who come from
single parent homes. The study will further enable people be aware of
the important of the family as a functional well being of the children
and the effect of parental conflict, which mostly lead to separation
or divorced of parents on the children that always result to children
been raised by single parents.  The research work will be a valuable
reference point for most nongovernmental organizations that cater for
the welfare of the child. Also, this research work going by its
recommendation at the end will help in the already existing child act
law that is gear towards the protection and welfare of the child as
social welfare services will be better access by children from single
parent homes in Makurdi and Nigeria by extension.

1.6 Scope of the Study
        This study is geographically located in Makurdi local government area
of Benue State, it is confirm to the local government because of its
strategic location and the timeframe under which this study is to be
conducted within the 2013/2014 academic session and also, the academic
scope of this study cover areas such as the incidence of single
parenthood, the causes of single parenthood, the effects of single
parenthood and possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood
1.7 Definition of Terms
Single Parenthood: According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary
English, single-parenting is been defined as a mother or father who
looks after children on their own, without the other partner.
Single-parenting can 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. Single-parenthood may
arise when either the male or the female decides to produce and rear a
child or children outside wedlock (Ortesse, 1998).
Family: Murdock (1949) defined family as a social group characterized
by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It
includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a
socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children owned
or adopted, of the sexually co-habiting adults. Macionis (2006) see a
family as a social institution that unites people in cooperative
groups to oversee the bearing and raising of children.
Marriage: Macionis (2006) define marriage as a legal relationship,
usually involving economic cooperation as well as sexual activity and
childbearing that people expect to last. Marriage is of good value
most especially in the area of procreation that is bearing children.
It is also seen as the legal union or relationship between a man and a
woman who are married as husband and wife.

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