The Relationship Between Broken Homes and Adolescents' Behaviour in Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria

Bachelor Thesis, 2021

58 Pages, Grade: 3.5




1.1 Background of the Study

A home is defined as the house, flat or apartment that an individual lives in with his/her family (Hornby and Parnwell, 2010). Family is defined as a group of people who are related to each other. This includes genetic connection, adoption, marriage or by mutual agreement. The family comprised of married couple with their biological or adopted child/children living together in one household.

The family can therefore, be regarded as a social group characterized by common resident, economic, cooperation and production. When a child is born, the family is the first primary group with which they come into contact. It is a place for the transmission of social values of right and wrong; what is morally and religiously accepted or condemned by the society. It follows that by the time a child attained five to seven years of age he must have learnt what are his rights, obligations and roles within the society. The child's home is a primary agent of education where the child acquires socialization. The home lays the psychological, moral and spiritual foundations in the overall development of the child (Ogbeide, Odiase and Omofuma 2013). Therefore, the home is a determining factor in children's behaviour and thus influences their academic, emotional and social adjustments, with expectation for stability, where parents and children live together in harmony without any threat of separation either temporary or permanent which could lead to broken homes in the immediate or forseable future time.

A stable home is the one that consists of the father, mother and children without separation, divorce, death of one or both parents, maladjustments, desertion or single parenthood. The relationship between couples must be cordial in order to breed peaceful coexistence and understanding; the absence of this breeds instability and frustration in children which leads to broken homes. Broken homes exist where children are left to their own ideas and solutions due to lack of care, affection and control by their parents.

Broken home can be defined as when one out of two people who is responsible for the nurturing and child rearing is not available, and the work meant for two people, is now been carried out by only one person. In Nigeria, up till the 19th century, the existence of broken homes was unknown and where they existed, they were ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns across culture and educated elites. In Nigeria, especially among the Yoruba's, the parental roles are culturally determined and distributed. The maternal roles are that of child-rearing, home training and playing of complimentary roles, while the paternal roles are that of economic responsibilities and disciplines of children. The child is morally, mentally upright and emotionally balanced when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents.

Unity is the soul desire of every family in the society today; but the issue of broken home is on the high side in most of our societies today. There are so many factors responsible for the rate of broken homes in our society ranging from poor social background, where the father is the only bread winner of the family happens to part ways with his wife that does not have a good educational background or a means to take care of their children in which the pressure goes to mother and children. The ongoing pressure on the children can equally affect them negatively because these children are lacking proper parental guides from both parents, hence, the children are morally and emotionally affected. Another point to note here is the death of one of the parents especially if the surviving parent is the mother, mothers are mostly known for giving care to the children; at times financial assistance as well but this is not always coming through because mothers can actually assist to some extent financially. The children began to learn how to survive on their own, some end up meeting the wrong people and at the end of the day might become cultist, bandits, miscreants and even political thugs among other social vices in the community. At a point in time you can easily identify such children by the way they behave, interact and relate with others in the society. Parents have a major role to play on the behavioural pattern of children in the society, because the first education starts from home. The effort of parents in the upbringing of their children is the reflection of what people see in their children outside their various homes.

Broken home are fertile breeding grounds for children's stress, tension, lack of motivation, frustration and depression which are instrumental to their academic, emotional and social adjustments. On the other hand, training received from stable homes is of great importance in their personality, academic, social and economic achievement; especially from childhood to adolescents.

Adolescence is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood. Children who are entering adolescence are going through many changes (physical, intellectual, personality and social developments). Adolescence begins at puberty, which now occurs earlier on average than in the past years. Adolescence is a period of life with specific health and developmental needs and rights. It is also a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and abilities that will be important for enjoying the adolescent years and assuming adult roles. All societies recognize that there is a difference between being a child and becoming an adult and how this transition from childhood to adulthood is defined and recognized differs over time.

Early Adolescence (Ages 10 to 13)

During this stage, children often start to grow more quickly. They also begin notice other body changes, including hair growth under the arms and near the genitals, breast development in females and enlargement of the testicles in males. They usually start a year or two earlier in girls than boys, and it can be normal for some changes to start as early as age 8 for females and age 9 for males. Many girls may start their period at around age 12, on average 2-3 years after the onset of breast development. These body changes can inspire curiosity and anxiety in some especially if they do not know what to expect or what is normal. Some children may also question their gender identity at this time, and the onset of puberty can be a difficult time for transgender children. Early adolescents have concrete, black-and-white thinking and may start to explore ways of being independent from their family. In this process, they may push boundaries and may react strongly if parents or guardians reinforce limits.

Middle Adolescence (Ages 14 to 17)

Physical changes from puberty continue during middle adolescence. Most males will have started their growth spurt, and puberty-related changes continue. They may have some voice cracking, for example, as their voices lower. Physical changes may be nearly complete for females, and most girls now have regular periods. At this age, many teens become interested in romantic and sexual relationships, they may question and explore their sexual identity which may be stressful if they do not have support from peers, family, or community. Late Adolescents (18-21 and beyond)

Late adolescents generally have completed physical development and grown to their full adult height. They usually have more impulse control by now and may be better able to gauge risks and rewards accurately.

Teens entering early adulthood have a stronger sense of their own individuality now and can identify their own values. They may become more focused on the future and base decisions on their hopes and ideals. Friendships and romantic relationships become more stable and more emotionally and physically separated from their family.

According to Fraser (2004), psychological home condition arises mainly from illegitimacy of the children; the label of the adopted child, broken homes, divorce, separation and parental deprivation are likely to cause negative behaviour in the children especially when they reach the adolescent age. Broken homes could cause the children to feel isolated and problematic; hence, they are frustrated and psychologically disturbed even when they are in classroom, which could result in poor academic performance.

The lack of need for affection and acceptance from family may carry the risk of self­concept problems in adolescents. This is because the family is the first and major environment of growth and as such, a number of factors may be affecting the formation of the self-concept in them. Self-concept is personal factors within the individual that has an important role because it serves as a frame of reference for individuals to interact and adapt to the environment (Hurlock, 2001). Individuals who have a positive self-concept is being able to exert themselves properly, recognize their abilities and able to do introspection so that they can act more responsibly in the environment. Conversely, individuals that have a negative self-concept are typically less able to exert themselves, may be irritable, feel rejected by others and tend to be pessimistic that their behaviour in the environment tends to be problematic. Problems of self-concept in adolescents from broken home family may lead them to a variety of behaviours that are not responsible because the child self-identified themselves as different and have a lot of problems.

This is becoming increasingly complex during adolescence because they are undergoing a period of transition and critical stage in their search for Identity.

Compared from teenagers who come from intact families, adolescents who come from families with broken homes have more academic problems that are externalizing (juvenile delinquency), and internalized problems (anxiety and depression), lack of social responsibility, less competent in social relationship, dropout, sexually active in early age, consume illicit substances, and involvement in gangsterism.

Adolescents from broken homes are quite similar to their peers from intact families as far as their value priorities were concerned, but they attributed a slightly greater importance to hedonism (e.g., enjoying life, self-indulgence) and stimulation (e.g., a varied life, daring), and less to conformity (e.g., obedience, self-discipline) than their peers did. Thus, we could speculate that adolescents from broken homes tend to embrace those values elicited by the family contingencies (i.e., change and loss of security). The social and emotional impact on adolescents following the divorce of their parents is significant, compared to students from intact families. Adolescents from divorced families face more behavioural problems, increased conflict with parents, and increase in drugs alcoholism and increase in mental health problems.

According to Amato (2001), children from divorce background, otherwise called broken homes achieve lower academically; tend to be dysfunctional behaviourally; experience more mental health problems and experience more trouble with relationships. These risk factors are present in adolescents regardless of when the parents divorced or how much time has passed since the divorce. Adolescents are the most vulnerable to changes in the family structure during this time in their life than at any other developmental age. A divorce that occurs between parents during children adolescent stage is proven to have the most negative impact with the individual into adulthood. Following a divorce, adolescents may feel an array of emotions including: abandonment, grief, guilt, shame, hurt, shock, sadness or anger. The intensity and duration of these emotions vary depending on the individual; however the impact on the child's emotional health is considerable. Moreover, parents are one of the most important sources for their children's socialization, and it is likely that parents who decide on separation are more prone to open to change and less to conformism. Values are significantly related to propensity to transgression, for both adolescents from separated/divorced families and adolescents from intact families.

The effects of broken homes may impact greatly on the internal organization of the family and by extension affect a child's emotion, personality and academic achievement. Any nation that seeks to advance technologically will no doubt ensure that the future of the adolescents is well guided, protected and guaranteed. Efforts would be made by such a nation to ensure that children from broken homes are identified, counseled and encouraged so as to develop their innate potentials, and contribute towards national development. Hence, the need for this study to investigate the relationship between broken home and adolescents behaviour in Ondo state senior secondary schools

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There is a global awareness of the importance of the home environment on adolescents' behaviour and relationship in the society. In Nigeria, most home are not intact as a result of issues of incompatibility of the couples, misconception and misunderstanding. The home lays the bedrock of development of a child in all stages of life and it has a greater impact on how they behave in the society. Adolescents from broken home engage in risky behaviors due to lack of guidance and affection from home which makes them to be less effective among peers, schools and the society at large. The teachers commonly describe adolescents from broken homes as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractive than adolescents from intact family. Thus, the problem of this study is to find out the relationship between broken home and adolescents behaviour in Ondo State Senior Secondary Schools.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the effect of broken homes on adolescents' behavior in Ondo State Senior Secondary Schools. Specifically, the study is to determine the following:

1. To determine the general causes of broken homes in the society
2. To examine the relationship between broken homes and academic performance of the adolescents in senior secondary schools.
3. To determine the relationship between broken homes and the social relationship of the adolescents.
4. To examine the relationship in the emotional stability manifested and the gender socio­relationship of adolescents who come from broken home and those from intact home.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study.

1. What are the causes of broken homes in the society?
2. What is the relationship between broken home and the academic performance of adolescents in senior secondary schools?
3. What is the relationship between broken homes and social relationship of the adolescents?
4. What is the relationship between the emotional stability manifested and the gender socio­relationship of adolescents who come from broken home and those from intact home?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H 01: There is no significant relationship between broken home and the academic performance of adolescents in senior secondary schools

H 02: There is no significant relationship between broken homes and social relationship of the adolescents

H 03: There is no significant relationship between the emotional stability manifested and the gender socio- relationship of adolescents who come from broken home and those from intact home.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is expected to benefit the following at completion: parents, teachers, adolescents and the society at large.

The study will be of important to parents as it will inform them the need for tolerance to avoid divorce or any issues that may lead to broken home, and to always put their children future in mind in all their affairs because future of the children depends greatly on parents. This will be done through sensitization using the reports from this study at Parent-Teachers Associations' meetings and other forum among parents in the society.

The study will be of benefit to the teachers as it will inform them about the degree of influence of broken homes having on adolescents' academic performance and their behaviours in school. Specifically, the study will sensitize the teacher to be more conscious in handling students from broken homes. This would be done when findings of this study are presented at academic conferences and teachers workshops.

Similarly, the study will inform the adolescents from broken homes on how to behave positively in the society, also to be active in their academics and not to be intimidated by any circumstance that might come their ways.

The study will provide an addition to body of knowledge on the relationship between broken homes and behaviour of adolescents in the society through making its findings available at open education resources.

1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study is limited to senior secondary schools in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo state and concepts in broken homes and adolescents behavior were covered.



2.0 Introduction

This chapter was reviewed under the following subheadings:

- Theoretical Framework
- Concept of Home
- Concept of Broken Homes
- Concept of Adolescents
- Effect of Broken Homes on the Adolescents behaviour
- Academic Performance/Achievement of Adolescents from Broken Homes
- Empirical Framework of the Study
- Review of Related Empirical Studies
- Summary of Literature Review

2.1 Theoretical Framework

2.1.1 Theory of Dysfunctional Behaviour (Misyangi, 2008)

Home is a crucial factor in the psychosocial development of an individual. According to the ecological and social systems approach, the family and school are important socialization institutions (Moos, 2010). Adolescence is a time of expanding vulnerabilities and opportunities that accompany the widening social and geographical exposure to life beyond the school or home, but it starts with the home. Families are groups related by kinship, residence, or close emotional attachments and they display four systemic features; intimate interdependence, selective boundary maintenance, ability to adapt to change and maintain their identity over time, and performance of the family tasks. According to Eitzen (2003), “home is a construct of meaningful relationships”. Research has indicated that factors in the adolescent's social ecology help to direct the adolescent toward either positive (e.g., self- directedness, future orientation) or negative (e.g., behavior problems) outcomes. It has been argued that the home context exerts the most powerful social influences on adolescent development (Perrino & Szapocznik, 2001). There is a strong link between home functioning and individual behaviour. Home is responsible for supporting, protecting and guiding the children, so the concept of home functioning is important (Petzold, 2008).

Adolescence, another phase of life cycle that fills the gap between the puberty and the working adult came to be recognized in nineteenth century. In twentieth century this phase increased more in the number of years that another phase came to be recognized to be known as youth. It is a phase of the post-secondary education. This is an important and valuable period of life, during which an individual prepares to move into the adulthood, full of challenges and responsibilities (Morgan, & Schopler, 2003). The World Health Organization (2001) defines “adolescents” as people between age 10-19. Externalizing and internalizing problems are two empirically derived dimensional constructs that have been used frequently to describe adolescent dysfunctional behaviour (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). Externalizing behavioural problem is defined as consisting of aggressive and delinquent behaviours (like fighting, vandalism, stealing, lying, and other rule breaking behaviours) (Achenbach, Dumenci, & Rescorla, 2002).

Internalizing behavioural problem is defined as consisting of anxious and affective symptoms (like worry, sadness, hopelessness, physical symptoms, etc) (Dekovic, Buist, & Reitz, 2004).

The longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have shown that behavioural problems typically begin at 12 years of age and increase into middle adolescence (Shirtcliff, & Marceau, 2008).)


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The Relationship Between Broken Homes and Adolescents' Behaviour in Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria
Obafemi Awolowo University
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Die Note entspricht einer 1,7 / The grade is equivalent to a B
relationship, between, broken, homes, adolescents, behaviour, senior, secondary, schools, nigeria
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Joshua Adetayo (Author), 2021, The Relationship Between Broken Homes and Adolescents' Behaviour in Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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