The family is the child’s first place of contact with the world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family. Agulana (2010) pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Structurally, family/homes is either broken or intact. A broken home in this context is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one of parent and illegitimacy. Divorce is a legal termination of valid marriage.
According to Frazer (2004), psychological home conditions arise mainly from divorce and parental deprivation. According to him, such abnormal conditions of the home, are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child.
Life, in a divorced or broken home can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources (Children Defence Fund, 2004). Schults (2006) noted that if children from unstable homes are to be compared with those from stable homes, it would be seen that the former have more social, academic and emotional problems. Rochlkepartain (2013) is of the opinion that the family and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. Levin (2011) states that parents are probably the actor with the clearest interest in a high level of their children’s academic performance. To some extent, there is simple evidence to show the marital instability brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and frustration obviously, these manifestations act negatively on a child’s academic performance.
According to Fraser (2013) performance and behaviour of children living with a single parent is below that of children living with the two parents. He observed that children who lives with a parent especially a divorced one, usually feels unsecured, always attention seeking and anxious that his/her education may be seriously hindered or disrupted through these feelings and at the end it would affect the child’s total behaviour.
Johnson (2005) asserts that children of separated families often fail and are at risk emotionally. However, this may not be completely applicable in all cases of broken homes. Some children irrespective of home background or structure may work hard and become successful in life. Moreover, Ayodele (2007) stated that the environment where a child finds himself/herself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school. When a child’s needs are not properly addressed, his learning ability could be affected due to lack of motivation. Generally, the home has been identified as an overwhelming factor affecting students’ performance academically. It would appear, then, that broken homes may present a very serious danger to the emotional, personality, and mental adjustment of the child. This impinges on students’ academic achievement.
According to Hargreaves (2011), student's resilience in a one-parent household is believed to be a significant indication of success in other areas of their lives, including academics. Students under emotional heartache and stress at home often have emotions that interfere with concentration during the school day. Students may have difficult times concentrating on school work from divorce-related stress occurring at home. Students may face unique challenges of completing homework, assignments, when organizing their homework, backpack, and paperwork between multiple homes (Akambi, 2014).
According to Smith (2009), some students are flexible and adapt well to change largely due to implementing effective coping strategies, while other students may react in the opposite way. Students may lose confidence, blame themselves for the break-up, and see their parent's separation or divorce in a complicated way. The range of feelings that a student may encounter include: disbelief and denial, sadness, loss, loneliness, depression, anger, anxiety, fear, relief, and hope. Response to these feelings often results in different levels of intensity (Smith, 2009). While some students may experience mild anxiety and sadness, others may feel more intense emotions. Smith (2009) also found that students’ reaction to their parent's divorce varies based on the student's gender and age.
Carlson and Hines (cited in Dykeman, 2013) determined that parents can help make a smooth transition for their children during a divorce. Parents can present a reliable and cooperative parenting style when providing their children with discipline and behaviour expectations. Putting the child in the middle and asking them to "spy" on the other parent or report back information regarding dating, finances, and life styles may hurt the student trying to cope with life in two different residences. Students tend to be more resilient when their parents offer strategies such as joint-parenting, similar discipline styles and not competing for child-loyalty with gifts and presents. Hargreaves (2011) documented behavioural issues and emotional problems exhibited by students preceding their parents' separation or divorce. Parents may also have different expectations and rules for their child presenting inconsistencies which may confuse the child. Research suggests that a child's adaption to successful transition depends on each parent maintaining a healthy relationship between one another and with the child (Hargreaves, 2011).
Wilkinson (cited in Hargreaves, 2011) reported children's stressors throughout divorce may include disorganized daily routines, change in parenting style, reduced family income, parental conflict, limited resources, and parental accessibility. Families can usually maintain and adapt to the short-term changes of divorce in a two- to three-year span.
According to Hertherington et al. (cited in Hargreaves, 2011), students display problems during a variety of stages of family deterioration including times during this alteration period, either before parental separation, or directly subsequent to a parental separation. Students will sometimes experience delayed stress responses occurring years after a divorce in a form of post-traumatic stress (Hargreaves, 2011).
Various theories of child development suggest that children younger than age five or six are particularly vulnerable to the effects of parental separation. The disruption of attachment relations, combined with the child’s limited cognitive abilities to understand divorce, is central to this vulnerability. But analysing studies that assess students of different ages at a single point in time confounds children’s age at the time of divorce with the amount of time elapsed since the divorce, both of which could account for the results. Children showed greater adjustment with increasing age (e.g., birth to age five, age six to ten, age eleven to sixteen), with the youngest age group being the most severely affected by divorce.
A majority of school age students in Orhionwon Local Government Area experience changes in family dynamics that show up in the school setting. Indicators such as depression, decline in academic achievement, poor attendance, loss of confidence, and disorganization may signal adjustment issues pertaining to divorce in a student's home. This study therefore aimed to examine the impact of divorce on students’ academic performance in Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
There is a global awareness of the Importance of the home environment on students’ academic achievement. In Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State, most homes are not intact as a result of issues of incompatibility of the couples and the quest for the oversea trips to make more money, and at times marital infidelity. This has resulted in the separation of couples and children. In Edo State, this is quite clear, in that most young ladies abandon their homes, and embark on oversea trips with a view to making money. Some men who travel abroad, abandon their homes and would not communicate with the families back-home so children from such homes are in dilemma, especially in terms of adjustment. Chador (2008) notes that the environment in which the students come from can greatly influence his performance in school. The effects of divorce may impact greatly on the internal organization of the family and by extension; effect a child’s emotion, personality and academic achievement.
Bearing in mind the role of the family in a child’s education, the failure of the family to perform its duties could hinder the child’s academic achievement. Any nation that is desirous of advancing technologically will no doubt ensure that the future of her future leaders (the students) is well guided, protected and guaranteed.
A divorced parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child. The teachers commonly describe children from divorced parent as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractive than children from intact family. Thus, this study is set out to find out the impact of divorce on students’ academic performance in Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
The purpose of the study is to examine the impact of divorce on students’ academic performance in Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State. Specifically, the study will:
The following research questions has been raised to guide the study:
The following hypotheses has been formulated to guide the study:
The study will be very useful to the students, parents, teachers, the government and the society.
The study will be of great benefit to the students in that it will help to educate the children of the divorce parents about the need for them to report their problem to other family members and social welfare officers for assistance instead of indulging in anti-social behaviour
The study will provide parents with useful information about their children and their role in enhancing the academic performance of the students.
The study will also provide teachers with information about the children and the type of family they came from and ways to provide education for all the categories of students.
The study will also benefit the government since it would help them to know the impact of divorce on children and service that should be provided to help these children in solving their problems.
Finally, the study will be of immense benefit to the society especially to both the public and private individuals who are greatly convinced about the rate of increase in divorce in Edo State especially in Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State. It would be of great help to the public to know how they can render help to the affected children of divorce homes.
This study focus on the impact of divorce on the academic performance of students. The study is limited to Orhionwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
Impact: This is to have a strong and often bad effect on (something or someone).
Divorce: This is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.
Academic Performance: This is the outcome of education — the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
Students: These are learners, or individuals who attends an educational institution.