CAUSES AND EFFECT OF PARENTAL NEGLECT ON JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
- Background to the Study
Child neglect is an act of omission by the parents that involves refusal or delay in provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and education.
Child neglect is the most common and important type of child maltreatment that has worsening impacts on personality development and cognitive restructuring of the child. There are many types of Child neglect like physical neglect, emotional neglect, health neglect and educational neglect (Corcoran 2004) although there is not a single cause for this matter but there are variety of causes responsible for this act. In most of the cases parents are the eventual source of neglect for their children.
Child neglect depends on how a child and society perceives the parents’ behavior; it is not how parents believe they are behaving towards their child. Parental failure to provide for a child, when options are available, is different from failure to provide when options are not available. Poverty and lack of resources are often contributing factors and can prevent parents from meeting their children’s needs, when they otherwise would. The circumstances and intentionality must be examined before defining behavior as neglectful.
Child neglect is not a new phenomenon in the history of man. It has been going on right from time immemorial. In Africa/Nigerian society what constitute abuse today has never been regarded as abuse. It has been seen as a way of training the child to become a well behaved, disciplined and self actualized person in society. It is a normal process that children from birth be exposed to a variety of experiences from parents, caregivers and other adults in the society. This is to enable the children acquire the necessary basic norms and skills for effective participation in the society where they belong and for their personal growth and development.
Parental involvement in a child education has a definite impact on the child’s level of academic performance. According to Falemu (2013) parental involvement in education is important because it is positively related to a child’s self expectation for academic success.
Parental involvement in children’s learning is positively related to improved performance (Oguniyi 2009). They further reiterated that the more intensively parents are involved in the children’s learning, the higher the performance and that this position holds truth for all types of parental involvement in children’s learning and for all types and ages of students
The level of parental involvement has important implications for children’s academic performance. Social cognitive theory suggests that children absorb messages about appropriate behavior and socially accepted goals by observing and talking with important people in their lives (Bandura, 1987). Based on this assumption, parents have the potential to model positive attitudes and behaviors toward school, and research in developed countries such as the United States has shown that parental involvement contributes to child academic success (Fan & Chen, 2001; Houtenville & Conway, 2008;
Parental involvement over the past decade, indicates that regardless of family income or background, “students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, be promoted, pass their classes, earn credits, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, adapt well to school and graduate to postsecondary education” (Henderson & Map, 2002: ).
Parents’ involvement in their children’s education has been shown to be an important variable that positively influences children’s education (Epstein, 2007). More and more schools are observing the importance and are encouraging families to become more involved. Because of this recent trend, it has become essential to understand what is meant by parent involvement and in what ways it has an influence on children’s education.
When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more. (Epstein, 2007)
Parental participation in pre-school activities includes a wide range of behaviors but generally refers to parents’ and family members’ use and investment of resources in their children’s schooling. These investments can take place in or outside of school, with the intention of improving children’s learning. Parental involvement at home can include activities such as discussions about school, helping with homework, and reading with children. Involvement at school may include parents volunteering in the classroom, attending workshops, or attending school plays and sporting events (Rain and William, 2011).
Parent is the child’s first and most important teacher in life and he is expected to play an active role in the child’s education. Parent is supposed to be supportive to the child in all aspects which include socially, physically, mentally and also emotionally (Epstein, 2001).
The process of acquiring these skills is sometimes stressful for the children to bear. Some parents and care givers make the condition for acquiring these skills so difficult that the children may find it difficult to cope. The condition in which children are exposed to as they try to acquire the skills to become disciplined and hardworking individuals is where the problems lie. When these conditions become over-stretched it becomes an abuse. For instance, when a child is taught the skills of becoming a farmer, he is taken to the farm, he practice these skills and he is kept in the farm doing that same work from dawn to dusk, without any rest, or having a good meal, this becomes negkect (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010). Also it may be normal if a child is asked to hawk from morning to evening or before going to school he sales and immediately after school he continues until dusk. This becomes an abuse. Orere-Clifferd (2011) states that children suffer from Child neglect because their parents and guardian demand a great deal from them for more than the children would bear. Most children in our public schools find themselves in such situation most often.
Child neglect is found in all societies and social class. It is found in the rich or poor home, as well as illiterate or literate homes. The parents abuse their children by frequently using them in their farm work, trade and businesses. This is to help support the income of the home and sometimes to provide for children needs. They are sometime asked by their parents to do some menial jobs such as house helps, cooks, baby sitters, and gardeners to help improve the income of the home (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).
The rich on the other hand have enough to care for their children but they exploit the children they employ as house helps and cooks. This they do by over working the servants in the daily house chores, while their own children are over pampered.
The servants or house helps work 24 hours a day, without any rest. Others do not have good food, clothes and sometimes no good place to lay their heads. Some are treated like animals, they are beaten, kicked pushed, and sometimes, hot oil, water and even acid is used on them. (Falaye, 2013).
Many more, caregivers called abusive names such as; good for nothing, block head, etc. sometimes some are tired hands and feet and locked in a room, for hours and even days. These actions demoralize the child (Falaye, 2013).
Those who go to school may not be attentive in class because of the work they do at home. The classroom may be the only place where they have a rest from such home activities so they may fall asleep in the class. They may therefore not partake in classroom activities and so may not acquire any learning (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).
The children of the rich parents may not be allowed to take part in the general activities in the home. They may therefore not know how to cook, wash or care generally for the home. This constitutes an abuse because the child needs to be exposed to such activities because it is certain that the child may need such knowledge in future (Falaye, 2013).
Neglect according to Okpara (2001) include inadequate feeding, shelter and lack of supervision, inadequate body care, poor clothing, poor and denial of medicinal attention and inadequate provision of educational materials and supervision. Other aspects of neglect may include letting the child live in a filthy environment and non provision of proper nourishment.
Other aspects of Child neglect may include child exploitation, slavery, trafficking and abandonment. The different forms of abuse affect the child in all spheres of life including academic attainment.
Conversely, a child is said to be abused when the parents, care givers or any human action leads to physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the child. It also involves failure of the parents to provide the necessary love and care for the child.
It has been observed of late that the academic performance of children in secondary schools in the State, particularly, in Ikeja Local government Area is becoming low. One wonders if such low academic performance is as a result of the parental negect. The study therefore seeks to find out if parent neglect has any effect on the academic performance of secondary schools studnets.
Statement of the Problem
At the heart of every educational system lays the desire for the students, teachers and the institutions to achieve their educational goals; however, the extent to which this desire is achieved in the study period of a student varies based on individual differences. Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to perform highly in academic settings. A recent meta-analysis suggested that mental curiosity (as measured by typical intellectual engagement) has an important influence on academic performance in addition to intelligence and conscientiousness. Despite high mental abilities, conscientiousness and intellectual engagement demonstrated by most children it has been observed of late that the academic performance of children in secondary schools in the State, particularly, in Ikeja Local Government Area is becoming low. It has also been observed that in this recent times issues of Child neglect is on the rise in the local government due to economic depression caused by the global economic backdrop and incessant social/civil unrests. One wonders if such low academic performance is as a result of the abuse/maltreatment children are exposed to. This became the motivation to investigate the effect of Child neglect on academic performance of primary school pupils in Kwande Local Government.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate causes and effect of parental neglect on junior secondary school students academic performance, a case study of Ikeja local government area of Lagos state
Specifically, the study seeks to investigate;
- The causes of parent neglect on junior secondary students performance in school
- To find out effect of parent negelect on students academic performance
- To find out whether home environment has an influence on academic performance of students
- To investigate whether parents’ participation in educational activities at home has an influence on academic performance of junior secondary school students
In order to achieve the objectives the following questions are hereby posed;
- What are the causes of parent neglect on junior secondary students performance in school
- What are the effect of parent neglect on students academic performance
- To what extent does home environment has an influence on academic performance of students
- Does parents’ participation in educational activities at home has an influence on academic performance of junior secondary school students
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be an eye opener for parent in improving parental involvement in academic performance of students. The study will also provide intellectual inputs for future researchers in search for knowledge on parental involvement on academic performances. This will form a foundation for further studies too. The findings can be helpful to teachers and the parents in developing programs to upgrade their skills, knowledge, positive altitude and competencies of handling children.
The result of this study will be an added advantage to governments stand on child’s right act and care, if it shows a significant influence. Parents, Guardians, Teachers, other caregivers and the general public will find the result of this study useful, as it will reveal to them the need for effective care and protection of their children, especially the importance of providing educational needs for a higher academic performance. The research will also be a resource of value to other researchers carrying out research on the topic or similar subject matter.
Scope of the Study
The study is intended to cover all the secondary schools in Ikeja Local Government Area. However, due to time and financial limitations the study is limited to 5 selected secondary schools. The study is also limited to the issue of parents neglect and academic performance of students; since it will be too cumbersome to study all the factors that deter academic performance of school children in the area.
This Project is is available for the below list of Nigerian State capitals.
Abia Umuahia, Adamawa Yola, Akwa Ibom Uyo, Anambra Awka, Bauchi Bauchi, Bayelsa Yenagoa, Benue Makurdi, Borno Maiduguri, Cross River Calabar, Delta Asaba, Ebonyi Abakaliki, Edo Benin. Ekiti Ado Ekiti, Enugu Enugu, Gombe Gombe, Imo Owerri, Jigawa Dutse, Kaduna Kaduna, Kano Kano, Katsina Katsina, Kebbi Birnin Kebbi, Kogi Lokoja, Kwara Ilorin, Lagos Ikeja, Nasarawa Lafia, Niger Minna, Ogun Abeokuta, Ondo Akure, Osun Oshogbo, Oyo Ibadan, Plateau Jos, Rivers Port Harcourt, Sokoto Sokoto, Taraba Jalingo, Yobe Damaturu, Zamfara Gusau, FCT Abuja.
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