1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Marriage is a basic institution in every society designed by God as a social agreement between two individuals to become husband and wife (Becker, 2002; Uka, Obidoa & Uzoechina, 2013). It is an institution that gives legitimacy to sexual relationship and reproduction for legitimate children (Ryan & Powelson, 2010). Marriage involves joining in in matrimony two individuals of different gender to become one flesh as husband and wife, given the need for companionship, procreation, continuing and sustaining family ties (Gbenda & Akume, 2002; Abane, 2003; Bumpass, 2009). Nevertheless, marital instability in the present day society is of huge concern as it is associated with separation, divorce and widowhood (Omoniyi-Oyafunke, Falola & Salau, 2014). According to Uka, et al., (2013), marriage is a legalizing of a special relationship between a man and woman to which the society gives approval; and it places partners under legal and social obligations to themselves and the society. Although the concepts of marriage and family are often used synonymously, they are not same but have distinct meanings. The term family is defined as any two people who are related to each other (Sarker, 2007). To Onwuasoanya (2006) the family is the household and those who live in one house, and a network of persons such as the couple, their offspring and kin intimately held together by a bond of social and kinship relationship. The significance of the family devoid of instability is recognized by researches locally and worldwide (Becker, 2002; Sarker, 2007; Uka et al., 2013; Omoniyi-Oyafunke et al., 2014). This is because the family without instability grows and is one where positive relationship is promoted and sustained. As a consequence, Sarker (2007) refers to marital instability as the interpersonal association and interaction within the marital relationship. Moreover, Lesmin and Sarker (2008) defined marital instability as the process whereby marriages breakdown through separation, desertion or divorce. Hence, the increasing incidence of marital disharmony such as the occurrence of divorce shows that there is marital instability in a number of families in the Nigerian context (Ezennay, 2006). Marital instability occurs as an attempt of one individual or partner to checkmate the behaviour and anticipations of the other (Uka et al., 2013).. The contact between the parent, teachers and students makes a lot of impact on the academic performance of the students. So those who do not regularly attend lectures because of lack of proper monitoring by the parents could experience challenges adjusting academically (Bumpass, 2009). Parents are thereby faced with the problem of enriching their home environment so as to establish a positive effect on the student’s academic performance in schools (Castro-Martin & Bumpass, 2009).
Available statistics of separation cases in Bolgatanga indicated that one thousand, five hundred and ninety-seven (1,597) registered marriages were dissolved by the registry during the period of five (5) years (Bolga High Court Marriage Registry, 2012). The statistics showed that one hundred and ninety-four (194) marriages were dissolved in the year 2007; two hundred and twenty-nine (229) marriages were dissolved in 2008 while two hundred and eighty-seven (287) marriages were dissolved in 2009. Further to that, three hundred and twenty-four (324) marriages were dissolved in 2010 and three hundred and thirty (330) marriages were dissolved in 2011, respectively. Between January and April of 2012, the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly (BMA) also recorded a total of two thousand, nine hundred and seventeen (2,917) dissolved customary marriages which covered a period of six years. These alarming statistics underscore the seriousness of the problem of separation no matter the factors that led to it adultery, incompatibility, poor communication, financial problem, abusive behaviour, lack of commitment to it, alcohol and drug abuse and mental illness. Parental separation rates in the U.S. are at 50% for first marriages, and subsequent marriages are 2.5 times more likely to end in separation. Academics are one of the most important aspects of a student’s life, with good grades, students are able to get into colleges and universities, and allow them to earn degrees in order to obtain jobs that they want. If the relationship between the student’s parents is unstable and filled with conflict, this can alter the student’s academic performance. (Afifi, 2013; Brown, 2012; Overland, 2012).
Udansky and Wolf (2008) identified single parenting as a major problem on the rise. Parent separations is a common phenomenon in the community today, but still represent a major life stressor for the individuals involved, with potentially strong negative consequences for the mental and physical health of all members of the family. The effect of separation on child academic performance has been the subject of research attention for several decades, and has long been viewed as the cause of a range of serious and enduring behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents (Kelly & Emery, 2003).
Park and Kim (2003) argued that the mother traditionally’ play substantial role in the care of the family. The mothers’ cares for them, listens to their problems and provide solutions. Mothers are very important in ensuring a happy childhood and meaningfully adult life for their children. The parent child relationship studies indicate that a father can contribute uniquely to the development of the child independently of the mother’s contribution. However, when issues on factors such as emotional, intelligence, self-esteem, competence and confidence come up, the father cannot be replaced easily by the mother (Park and Kim 2003).
Forman and Davies (2003) maintained that at adolescence, the individual is getting developed psychologically to cope and bear with stress and tensions which they are faced with. A child biological temperament plays a vital role in the eruption and resolution of separation (Davies 2003). According to Ekundayo & Oyeniyi (2008) and Adebule (2012), the society is tackling with many behaviour problems of the adolescent students, which include truancy, disobedience, drug addiction, smoking, flirting, stealing, armed robbery, examination malpractice, cultism, thugery, sexual abuse, sex activities, indiscriminate sex, homosexual (gay and lesbianism) as part of behaviour problems prevalent among students (Omotosho, Adeniyi and Bada 2010).
Adebowale (2006) in a study on the social behaviour of adolescents as it affects their moral behaviour observed that the type of home which the adolescent comes from, determine to a considerable extent, the type of attitude which he will develop to exhibit and his academic performance. Parental separation has a long and lasting impact on lives of any student. The state of the home or the marital status of adolescent parents speaks volume about the life of the child. Separated homes have been found as a crucial factor causing anti-social problems poor academic performances among secondary school adolescence. Olusola (2008) believed that the highest incidence of adolescents whose parents are living separately may become way-ward, unruly, or take to sexual misconduct as a way of searching for affection which was lacking in their unhappy parental home. Many researchers have shown that immoral behavior and poor academic performance are prevalent among adolescents who are from unstable or separated family, with less adequate parental training on their moral and social attitudes (William, 2002). This study intends to assess parent separation on the academic performance of adolescent students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of parental separation is an increasing social problem that has become a topic for discussion in recent times; it is traumatic for those who experience it. Those affected may experience grief, embarrassment, resentment, disappointment, intense anger and divided loyalty. Children need a secure emotional base after their parents separate, exactly as they needed before (McIntosh, 2005). The major protective factors that facilitate children’s adjustment to divorce are low inter-parental conflict, effective and constructive resolution of conflict between the parents, the quality of the parent-child relationship, nurturing, authoritative parenting from at least one parent, and cooperative co-parenting with good communication (McIntosh, 2003).
It is these family processes that contribute to determining children’s academic performance, well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures per se (such as the number, gender, sexuality and co-habitation status of parents) Kelly (2000). Single parenthood may arise when either the male or female decides to produce and rear a child or children outside; parents can help make a smooth transition for their children during a divorce (Wolf 2008). Parents can present a reliable and cooperative parenting style when providing their children with discipline and behavior expectations (Carlson and Hines, 2003). Therefore this study intends to assess parent separation on the academic achievement of their children.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to find out the effects of parental separation on the academic achievement of secondary school students in Ijebu east local government area Ogun state, specifically the study intends to:
1. Find out the relationship between parental separation and students’ academic achievement