The Effect Of Working Mothers’ Career On The Social Adjustment Of Students In Selected Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

The Effect Of Working Mothers’ Career On The Social Adjustment Of Students In Selected Secondary Schools


The study examined the effect of working mothers’ career on the social adjustment of students in selected secondary schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, some relevant and related literature reviews were carried out under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was applied in the assessment of the respondents’ opinions using the questionnaire and the sampling technique.

The sample of this study consisted of 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents, which represented the entire population of the study. A total of five null hypotheses were generated and tested using the independent t-test for hypotheses one, three and four and five respectively, while the Pearson product moment correlational coefficient statistical tool was used in testing hypothesis two at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the testing exercise, the results that were obtained indicated that:

  1. There is a significant effect of mothers’ careers on children’s social adjustment in school,
  2. There is a significant relationship between mothers’ careers and the moral development of children in the community,
  3. Social adjustment of children brought up by working mothers differs significantly from those brought up by non-working mothers in the community,
  4. There is a significant difference between the academic performance of children who are brought up by working mothers and those brought up by non-working mothers in the community, and
  5. There is no significant gender difference in the social adjustment of students due to the careers of their mothers.

It is also recommended that mothers, who are actively engaged in their work or careers, ought to ensure that, while they carry out their various duties in order to earn money, they should ensure that they take appropriate care of their children’s welfare in terms of their effective education so that these children would not be left out uneducated.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Home is the point of support around which the early years of a child revolve. The central figures in the home are the parents, especially, the mother (Adeleke, 1990). Child-bearing and child-rearing are inseperable. The type of child-rearing practice has tremendous impact on the entire life of the child including his/her academic, social and psychological, even moral life on his/her entire life or career.

As Adiele (1994) puts it, the social climate or environment in which an indjvidual finds his/her self, to a large extent, determines his/her behavior or personality development, parental guidance and discipline he added, usually influence the behavior of the child. At the apex of this parental influence is the mother.

Mothers’ love for their children is undeniable. Their feminine nature makes them wholesome, soft, passionate and sensitive to the plight of their children and a condusive atmosphere for problem-solving involved (Odomene, 1995).

Chukwuka (1999) opined that in this period of economic hardship, more women (wives or mothers) take up paid employment due to the fact that more women are exposed to the western education and there jobs or careers take them away from their matrimonial home and duties of taking care of their children and wards and the proper upbringing of these children.

In effect, children are often left in the hands and care of the hired care-giver(s) and maids who do not possess the requisite experience to train the child and inculcate maternal-morality and good behavior in the child. In support of this statement, Uzor (2000), points out that children of these days lack adjustment, because, they are mostly brought up by others instead of their mothers. He went ahead to claim that even when these children know the right thing to do, they fail to do them because, their learning to do good from the family (especially from their mothers) is faulty due to mothers’ absence to direct and inculcate the right attitude of children from cradle.

Nkemdirim (2001) states that, for the fact that mothers are absent from their natural duties of upbringing of the child in the right way, the resultant effect is the moral decadence that is prevalent in the society today. A situation where children no longer respect and observe the norms and values expected of them. Elders are no longer cherished and respected by the youths. The youth due to lack of proper and adequate home upbringing by their mothers, are maladjusted to the extent of upholding negative ideas and values such as fighting, drug abuse, examination malpractices, fraud, stealing, lying, promiscuity, disobedience to laid down rules and regulations and indiscriminate sexual relationships both at home, at school and general indisciplinary behaviours perpetuated by youths and the young ones in the society who lack mothers’ care and instructions.

Ayodele (2005), opines that, women in the contemporary society especially mothers, miss out in their daily routine and obligations to their families including the societal adjustment of their children, due to gainful employment either to augument the family’s income or to empower themselves economically in the society in order to be independent of their husbands. Anyanwu (2002) opines that most women who work usually leave very early in the morning and come back late at night, thereby leaving the upbringing of the child in the hands of the immature and inexperienced househelps in the home and in the day care centres. According to Ayo (2003, children left in the cares and upbringing of the inexperienced househelps tend to grow up misbehaviouring and upholding the wrong tenets or values of the society due to non-incuclation of the basic motherly care, directions and role-modelling.

Ikeofuonye (2000) is of the opinion that the mother-child relationship has been weakened by the prolonged absence of the mother from the home due to routine-employment or career opportunity. He opined that mothers who are career women or who engage in employment spend more time at workplaces than in the homes and the effect is lack of motherly guidance and moral counseling. Furthermore, children grow up to become wayward, mal-adjusted and delinquent in the society.

Amaonye (2004 examined the effect of full time employment of wife, mother on husband and children in the home. He found that mothers who are career women/wives, do not rear, in most cases, good or well-behaved children in the community, and that their husbands are not well taken care of due to intervention of employment or career. Awowinfa (2005) carried out a study on the influence of working mothers on children’s social adjustment. His finding showed that mothers’ career interferes with their home chores and children’s upbringing. Awowinfa, therefore concluded that full-time house wives make better homes than the working mothers. According to him working mothers have more unstable homes, more maladjusted children and more poor school achievement of idea than non-working or career mothers.

Most adolescents who are brought up by care-givers due to the absence of mothers who are in search of golden fleece in terms of gainful employment or business, grow up to lack etiquette and positive social adjustment (Uzodinma, 2006). No wonder, many children these days, lack good morals and positive values that are upheld in any given society. Most children these days have turned out to be disrespectful to parents and elders in their communities; some of them do not even know the cultures of their communities, not to talk of how to keep and respect them. And the society is at the brink of collapse, because the norms and values that make the society thick have been in constant disregard and violated due to lack of motherly upbringing of children.

As Amakor (2005) put it parents especially, mothers these days, do have the knowledge of child upbringing, but lack the time and opportunities in bringing these children up in proper ways. A situation where a mother wakes up early in the morning and leaves for work while the child is fast asleep and returns very late at night when the child has gone to bed, will cause most children not to even know their mothers, not to talk of having the mother-child bonds or relationships that transpires naturally between mother and child. Parents need to bring up their children and wards in a proper way, teaching them to observe the laid down cultures and traditions of the communities; instructing them to respect and value the societal norms and values, ethics and good moral behaviours that a child needs to imbibe in order to grow into acceptable adolescence and adulthood in the scoiety. (Mumonye, 2003).

1.2 Statement of the Problem:

The issue of working mothers and its effects on the social adjustment and academic achievement of the child has been a heated up debate among Nigerians, most especially, among the man folks. Due to the economic down-turn in the country and the world in general, which has caused high inflationary trends and problems, the men have failed in their bid to win bread for the family. This is as a result of general unemployment and harsh business environment in the country today. This in turn has caused the women to go out in search of gainful employment in order to support the dwindling financial up-keep of the family.

According to Alfred (2003), most mothers work these days and these has made them to leave their children at home at the mercy of care-givers and house-helps, who often maltreat the children and bring them up in the way devoid of society’s moral values and positive adjustment and norms. This is the reason why few children in Nigeria today turn out to be area boys and wayward girls simply because they lack home training as a result of the absence of mother-care and guidance.

For these reasons, prostitution, disrespect to the rules and regulations governing the society and disobedient to parents, significant others and school authorities are the order of the day. The fact that most children have lost the opportunity of being reared by their mothers, has lead to moral decadence and adolescents’ delinquency. This study therefore, sets out to examine the effects of mother’s career on the children’s social adjustment.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The specific objectives of this study among others are to:

  1. Examine the effect of a working mother towards the social adjustment of the child.
  2. Assess whether mother’s career affects the moral development of the child.
  3. Find out whether non-working mothers rear up their children better than the working mothers.
  4. Examine whether there is a difference between the academic performance of children brought up by non-working mothers and working mothers.
  5. Compare the social adjustment of children brought up by working mothers and non-working mothers.
  6. Find out whether there is difference between the moral development of children brought up by working mothers and those brought up by non-working mothers.
  7. Proffer solution to the problem of working mothers on the social adjustment of their children.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were raised for the conduct of this study:

  1. Will mother’s career affect the social adjustment of their children?
  2. To what extent will the career of mothers affect the moral development of their children?
  3. Do non-working mothers rear better children than the working mothers?
  4. To what extent will there be any differences between the academic performance of children brought up by non-working mothers and those of the working mothers?
  5. Is there any comparison between the social adjustment of children brought up by working mothers and those brought up by non-working mothers?
  6. Is there any difference between the moral development of children who are brought up by working mothers and those by the non-working mothers?
  7. To what extent will there be any solution to the problems of working mothers on children’s social adjustment?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were tested in this study:

  1. There will be no significant effect of mother’s career on children’s social adjustment in school.
  2. There will be no significant relationship between mother’s career and children’s moral development.
  3. There will be no significant difference between the social adjustment of children who are brought up by working mothers and those brought up by non-working mothers.
  4. There will be no significant difference between the academic performance of children brought up by working mothers and those brought up by non-working mothers.
  5. There will be no significant gender difference in the social adjustment of students due to the careers of their mothers

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this study will create an awareness of the difficulties that career mothers encounter while combining the care of their family with their career or work.

It will also determine the degree of relationship between career mothers and the influence they have on their children’s moral development, social adjustment and academic achievement in school.

The study when finally completed, will determine to a great extent, the effects of career mothers on their children’s well-being, especially, their moral development and social adjustment in the society.

This study will highlight the importance of the responsibilities of the mother which include: care, love, affection and good upbringing of the child in a family setting.

The awareness the findings and recommendations of this study will create, will therefore enable parents, especially, mothers to know the right direction in which to follow for proper upbringing of their children and ward in the society.

Apart from the above benefits, this study will be a reference material to the general members of the society, students and researchers, especially those who wish to carry out research in related topics.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study covered the effect of working mothers on the social adjustment of children in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.8 Definition of Terms

The operational terms were defined in this study thus:

1. Working mother:

This means a mother who is gainfully employed or who goes out routinely in order to engage in one business or employed work or the other.

2. Non-working mother:

This connotes the mother who is not engaged in paid jobs or businesses. She is a complete house wife.

3. Mother’s career:

This refers to the career of a mother. It is the profession or career or job a mother is involved in routinely.

4. Moral Development:

This means the moral growth or development of an individual. It is the upliftment of morality and ethical life of a person.

5. Social Adjustment:

This refers to the totality of an individual’s behaviour in his/his environment.

6. Academic performance:

This means the level of school outcomes of the students in examinations or tests over a period of time.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations


The study focused on the influence of mothers’ employment on the academic performance of pupils of primary school age in Ikeja local government area; its objectives are, to determine:

  1. The effect of mothers’ employment on the supervision of home work of pupils in primary schools in Ikeja local government area;
  2. How mothers’ employment influence academic performance of pupils in primary schoolsin rural and urban areas of the local government;
  3. The extent to which the socio-economic status of employed mothers influence the academic performance of their children.

The review of literature highlighted various issues of mothers’ employment and pupils’ academic performance. The theoretical framework of the study was hinged on the social biological theory which holds the view that biological differences are responsible for the differences in both the behaviour of man and woman and the roles they play in society. It was shown that the body of work assigned to mothers caring for child, home and husband fits together in a non-contradictory manner and that a woman’s intense exclusive devotion to mothering is good for her pupils. It was also shown in many instances that mothers’ employment has influence on their pupils’ academic performance.
The survey research method was employed in which 673 respondents consisting of purposively selected women working in Hospitals, Banks, Primary schools, and secondary schools, in the study area, served as subjects. The questionnaire designed by the researcher and subjected to the processes of validity and reliability served as instrument for data collection. The collected data were then analysed using mean, frequency and percentages on demographic factors. The test of null hypotheses was done using the t-test statistical technique and the Pearson Product Moment correlation technique, using the computerized SPSS Package. The findings revealed that:

  1. Majority (74.0%) of the respondents occasionally supervised their pupils’ school work/home work; 61.0% indicated that they were personally in charge of pupils’ home work.
  2. Eighty nine percent (89.0%) of the respondents were located in urban areas; More pupilsof mothers from urban areas (79.0%) than pupils of mothers from rural areas (40.0%) had school results that indicated their position in class was between the top 4th to 10th position; On the whole, 74.0% of the respondents’ pupils had 4th to 10th position in their class examination


The study recommended the following:-

  1. Government should put up programmes that will encourage mothers to take up paid employment as they can still supervise their pupils’ school work/home work to achieve academic performance of above average for their pupils.
  2. The Ikeja local government area should organise programmes that support the working mothers in rural areas that will make them compete favourably with their counterparts in the urban areas.
  3. The local government should give priority to working mothers in terms of job opportunities considering the fact that they support their families by providing prompt medical attention whenever their pupils are ill, paid their pupils’ school fees on schedule all the time, and purchased all recommended textbooks, exercise books and writing materials for their pupils all the time.

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