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Impact of Single Parenting on the Academic Achievement of Students in Enugu Education Zone

ABSTRACT

This research project was aimed at examining the impacts of single parenting on Senior Secondary School students’ Academic achievement in Mathematics  in Enugu education zone. Three hundred copies of questionnaire were used for this study to collect information and data from senior secondary schools in Enugu education zone.  This study revealed the age of students, their gender, their  family’s  size,  and  their parents’ occupation. It also revealed the causes of single parenting among the people of Enugu education zone. This study further revealed the effects of single parenting on teenagers and the single parents. Also,  it revealed the  influence of single parenting on children’s Academic achievement. Likewise, this study  revealed the effects of single parenting on the society. This study also  revealed  the importance of parent-child relationship,  and  parent/family  involvement  in students’ academic work. Finally, this study has helped to suggest some techniques that will help to alleviate, to a great extent, the dangerous effects of single parenting on the Academic achievement of Mathematics in senior secondary students.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Everyone has had someone who nurtured them in their childhood and who they called “family”. No man existed by himself. Everyone comes from a family. Only few things are more universal than the family. The family is the only channel through which there can be continuity of life of human societies. The Bible testifies to this in Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” (American Standard Version).

Whether single or married, all parents leave long-lasting impressions on their children’s life and the single parents are not excluded from the role. However, death, divorce, or whatever may be the cause of this singularity will likely leave  deep impressions or impact on the emerging personality of the child. What actually matters is the way the single parent respond to the herculean tasks of single-parenting. Ahuja (2000) believes that in whichever manner the single parent has dealt with the parenting challenges, there are deep effects on the child’s character, individuality, and Academic achievement as compared to the children whose parents live together.

Being a child to a single parent is a very complex situation. Children look up to their parents for the gratification of their first three psychological needs, according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of  needs, that  is, the  Physiological needs (food,  water, air, shelter), Safety needs (security), and Love and affection needs. If the parents are confident and emotionally stable, their children will feel  secure and  confident.  The sense of belonging to a single parent has a disturbing effect on the child’s personality. Although, the norms and mentality of many African societies have changed, many children with single parents are often called bastards, that is if they have unmarried parents. As it is a social taboo, it always haunts the child whose mother was never married to his/her father, or when the father refused to recognize or accept these children as his. They are singled out by others at school and playgrounds and made fun of. As a result of which they become reluctant to attend school and socialize. These are parts of the difficulties that children with single parents have to pass through (Stinson, 2000).

The child is the focal point, and without the child, the concept “parent” is invalid. Researchers in social sciences have identified various ways in which children display different behaviour patterns depending on the type of household they come from. Many believe that materialism and compulsive  consumption  behaviour  in children have been found to be higher in single-parent households than in dual-parent households. (Amato, P. R., 1987)

A child from homes where both the father and mother are present will be well taken care of and socialize in the best way possible. This is due to the fact that the process of socialization depends on both parents playing complementary roles in bringing up the child. The home is the first and fundamental agent of socialization. Such a child that is brought up well is likely to achieve self-actualization later in life, while the children from single-parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some rights and opportunities (Battle, 1998). Salami (1998) is of the view that, “Children from broken homes are usually associated with anti-social  behaviour  and poor academic records”.

Time has really changed. Many of the old customs and traditions which were taught and practiced for several years are now obsolete. The modern  culture  has changed and outgrown the values and beliefs that  were thought to be the core beliefs and values of our society. Even though, moralists and conservatives are experiencing disgust over the currently evolving belief and cultural systems. The truth is, what has been unacceptable in the olden days, is now becoming fast and rapidly rising trends. For decades and even centuries, one of the major concerning issues  to  the conservatives, is the issue of single-parenting. Single-parenting is already becoming a fast and rapidly growing trend in the society. (Tenibiaje, M. O., 2011)

Children in single parent families are at greater risks than children whose both parents are actively present. Even when they  have  the  same  intellectual  ability, children from single-parent families are two times more likely to drop out of secondary school than children from two-parent families (Amato, 1987). Battle (1998) opines that parents are the primary and sole sources of financial support for the family. However, single parents have less time to help their children in their academics, and they are less likely to be stern in disciplining their children, leading to less parental control and low academic achievement (Battle, 1998).

Regardless of the circumstances that led to the birth of their children, parents must plan for them from infancy to puberty, and ultimately, adulthood. Having a plan and making that plan work out is one of the ways to ensure that children are properly cared for and that they grow up to be healthy, responsible,  and  productive human beings accepting and fulfilling their civic responsibilities in the society in which they live in. Both parents should be actively involved in the planning of their children’s education.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The child is morally upright and emotionally stable  when  both  parents cooperate in taking good care of him. The family is the first agent of socialization the child come in contact with, and the family has a great influence on the child’s physical, mental, moral, emotional, spiritual, and academic development. The family lays the strong foundation of education before the child goes to school and the personality that the child takes to school is determined by the home. “Charity begins at home,” says the wise ones. Parents have roles to play in the child’s educational development. In the typical Nigerian society, the father is to provide  food,  water,  shelter,  security,  and other necessary tools for the educational advancement of the child. The mother complements the efforts of the father in all her capacity, showing love and care to the child, helping the child carry out the house chores, do the assignments, and discipline the child in love. The absence or vacuum created by any of these two to a large extent affect the growth and development of the child in the right direction. Therefore, the two parents play significant roles in their development. Hence, this study examined the impact of single parenting on students’ Academic achievement in Mathematics at the senior secondary school level.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

A single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention, and finance. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child, because the  parent will be hustling in search for money, so that the child won’t experience malnutrition, thereby making the parent neglect his/her duties of helping the child academically, especially in Mathematics. Teachers describe children from single parents as  more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive, and  distractible than children from intact families (Salami 1998). Therefore, the general objectives of this study is to find out the various causes of single parenting, find out the impacts of single parenting on child’s performance in Mathematics, find out the ways by  which  single  parents  can help  to improve their children’s Academic achievement in Mathematics, and suggest ways by which single parents can create time and give attention to their children’s academic achievement in Mathematics. Specifically, the main objectives of this study

(i) Examine the various problems children from single parents face  in Enugu education zone;

(ii) Find out the impacts of single parenting on children from single parents as regards the payment of their school fees, purchase of textbooks and other learning materials, and concentration in class; and

(iii) Find out the impacts of single parenting on  the  child’s  Academic achievement in Mathematics in Enugu education zone.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. Are children from single parents at higher risks of facing some certain problems than children from couple-parents?
  2. Is there any significant difference between the time of payment of school fees, purchase of textbooks and other learning materials, and degree of concentration in class of children from single parents and children from couple-parents?
  3. Is there any significant difference between the Academic achievement in Mathematics of children from single parents and children from couple- parents?

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study is delimited to the impacts of single parenting on students’ Academic achievement in Mathematics in senior secondary schools in Enugu education zone.

1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is hoped that the outcome of this study will help to enlighten single parents of the risks of single parenting, how it affects their children’s Academic achievement in Mathematics, and how they can strive to improve  their  children’s  Academic achievement in Mathematics. It will also help bachelors and spinsters to prepare very well for marriage before going into it, so that they will  not  put the  lives  of  their unborn children in danger. It will also help students from  single-parent  homes  to realize the consequences of their present home condition and put in their best efforts in order to sail through the demeaning tasks of self-study with ease. This study is also intended to call the attention of marriage counselors to the damaging effects of broken homes on children’s Academic achievement especially in Mathematics, so that they will help to safeguard marriages that are about to crash. Also, this study will hopefully help Mathematics teachers to recognize, understand, and respect their students’ family background with respect to their Academic achievement in Mathematics and provide ways of helping them achieve self-actualization in the subject.

1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

For terms to carry any meaning within a study, they need  to  be defined  in a clear, unambiguous and acceptable way. Concepts can be defined either in a conceptual or operational manner. Here, this process is understood as a “process defining concepts by set of other concepts. The process of defining concepts is essential because it allows for specific contexts to be described and explained in a manner that pertains to  the study.

MATHEMATICS: Pilant Michael S. (2008) defines Mathematics as a way of describing relationships between numbers and other measureable quantities. Mathematics can express simple equations as well as interactions among the  smallest  particles  and farthest objects in the known universe. Mathematics allows scientists to communicate ideas using universally accepted terminologies. It is truly the language of science.

Oxford dictionary defines Mathematics as the branch of science concerned with number, quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts (Pure Mathematics) or  as applied to Physics, Engineering, and other subjects (Applied Mathematics).

Wilder (1972), defined Mathematics as a tool which ideally permits mediocre minds to solve complicated problems. Tools are very important and useful in all ways.

Mathematics is also useful at all levels of knowledge. Therefore, such subject as mathematics must not be phobic in nature to students and other related areas.

Oddi (1986) asserted that, Mathematics is an indispensable branch of natural science upon which scientific and technological advancement depend. Since all science subjects depend on mathematics, therefore, its teaching should be interesting to the students.

SINGLE PARENTING: Single parenting can be defined as when one out of two people who are responsible for the nurturing and rearing of a child is not available, and the work meant for two people is now been carried out by only one person.

According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a single parent is defined as a mother or father who looks after children of their own, without the other partner.

Single parenting can be viewed as a situation whereby the duties that require two parents to carry out on their children is being carried out by a single parent, either the wife or the husband. Salami (1998) views a single parent (also lone parent or sole parent) as a parent who cares for one child or more children without the physical, moral, and disciplinary assistance of the other partner in the home.

IMPACT: Encarta dictionaries (2009) define impact as “the powerful or dramatic effect that something or somebody has on something or somebody.”

Academic achievement: According to Encarta dictionaries (2009), academic relates to education, educational studies, an educational institution, or the educational system.

Encarta dictionaries (2009) also define performance as the manner in which something or somebody functions, operates, or behaves.

Academic achievement can then be defined as how well one performs in his/her studies and classes in an educational institution or system.

STUDENT: Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (6th edition) defines student as a person who is studying at a university or college.  It  also defines student  as a person who is studying at a school, especially a secondary school.

Encarta dictionaries (2009) defines student as somebody who  has studied  or takes much interest in a particular subject.

SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL: According to Nigeria’  Universal  Basic Education (UBE) policy, we have the 9-3-4 educational system, which means 9 years for basic education (that is, Primary and Junior Secondary  education),  3  years  for Senior Secondary education, and 4 years for tertiary education. Senior Secondary education is the education that determines the type education (programme) that will be acquired (studied) in the tertiary institution.

Hence, Senior Secondary School is the place where Senior Secondary education takes place under the training of qualified teachers. in Enugu education zone

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