The Impact Of Family Background On The Occupational Aspirations Of Secondary School Students

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The Impact Of Family Background On The Occupational Aspirations Of Secondary School Students


This study was conducted to investigate the impact of family background and occupational aspirations of secondary school students in Umuahia Local Government Area of Abia State. The researcher makes use of ten (10) secondary schools, which were selected randomly within the sample population in Umuahia Local Government. Questionnaire was used to gather information from hundred respondents (students). Percentages was used to present the research questions while chi-square method was used to analyze the hypotheses. The finding shows that, there is no significant relationship between socio-economic status of parents and occupational aspirations of students. Also, there is significant relationship between parental educational attainments and career choices of students. It was further discovered that, there is no significant relationship between parental occupation and students’ career choices. And lastly, there is significant relationship in the academic achievement of students from monogamous family and polygamous family in career choices. On the basis of the findings, the following recommendations were made: that the government should provide a learning environment for the school such as, well structured building, ventilated classrooms, well equipped laboratories and libraries e.t.c. which will motivate the students to learning, thereby influencing their career choices. Parents should also encourage their children to go to school and provide them with necessary materials.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Everyone wants to be identified with a career regardless of its worth’s or value, whereas individuals are optimistic about their occupational aspiration. The oxford advanced learners dictionary of current English defines career as ”a job or profession especially one with opportunities for progress or promotion” A profession is therefore ” is a dignified occupation based on intellectual training and desirable mental exercise the purpose of which is to render service’’. Henry-bell (2006) Stress that career is the totality of experience through which one learns about and prepares to engage in work as a part of his way of living. Chen (2003) objectivist believe that occupational matches can be measured and predicted mainly through scientific assessment and will logically state what type of occupational aspiration best fits that person. This type of thinking was dominated in the early 20th century-Frank Person the designated founder of the vocational guidance movement. Speete (2002) Observe ” career is an ongoing process that occurs over the life-span and includes homes school andcommunities”.

Factors in occupational aspiration, the first factor in occupational aspiration, environment, may influence the career students choose. For example, students who have lived on an island may choose a career dealing with the water, or they may choose to leave the island behind, never to have anything to do with water again. Maybe someone in the student’s life has made a significant impact or impression, leading to a definite occupational aspiration.
Parents’ educational background and parenting style may influence student views on whether or not to continue their education. Someone they saw on television may have influenced the student, or parents may have demanded that they occupational aspiration Factors 12 assume a family business. First, these are various environmental factors that would lead a student to a chosen career. How students have seen themselves in a role in which personality is a determining factor may influence a chosen career. Some careers demand that you have the personality to match the qualities of the occupation. For example, sales people have to be outgoing. Second, through the parenting style it creates different personalities Splaver (1977) said “personality” plays an important role in the choosing of the right career. A student’s personality must be a self- motivated type, as to investigate career possibilities from early on in their lives, and not the procrastinating type that waits until they are compelled to decide. Students must take seriously the role grades play in limiting opportunities in the future. Splaver went on to say, “It isimportant for you to have a good understanding of yourself, your personality, if you are to make intelligent career plans” (Splaver, 1977, p.12).

Overall family functioning, a broader concept that encompasses parenting style, includes such factors as parental support and guidance, positive or negative environmental influences, and family members’ interaction styles (Altman 1997). Family functioning has a greater influence on career development than either family structure (size, birth order, number of parents) or parents’ educational and occupational status (Fisher and Griggs 1994; Trusty, Watts, and Erdman 1997). Parental support and guidance can include specific career or educational suggestions as well as experiences that indirectly support career development, such as family vacations, provision of resources such as books, and modeling of paid and nonpaid work roles (Altman 1997). The absence of support, guidance, and encouragement can lead to “floundering,” the inability to develop and pursue a specific career focus. Lack of support can also take the form of conflict, when a parent pressures a child toward a particular career and may withdraw financial and emotional support for a career path not of the parent’s choosing (ibid.). Family functioning also includes the response to circumstances such as poverty, alcoholism, marital instability, and illness or death of family members. Sometimes an individual may respond to a stressful or negative family environment by making hasty, unreflective occupational aspirations in an attempt to escape or survive (ibid.). On the other hand, critical life events can spur a transformative learning experience that may shape a career and life direction (Fisher and Griggs1994).

Interactions between parents and children and among siblings are a powerful influence. Interactions can include positive behaviors such as showing support and interest and communicating openly, or negative behaviors such as pushing and controlling (Way and Rossmann 1996a). By sharing workplace stories, expressing concern for children’s future, and modeling work behaviors, parents serve as a context for interpreting the realities of work (ibid.). Parent-child connectedness facilitates risk taking and exploration, which are needed for identity formation in general as well as for the formation of vocational identity (Altman 1997; Blustein 1997). Siblings can be a source of challenge and competition and a basis for comparison of abilities, thus providing a context for identity formation (Altman 1997). Because career development is a lifelong process, “family of origin continues to have an influence through the life span” (ibid., p. 242). Understanding early family experiences and relationships can help adults identify barriers to their career progress.

Whiston (2004) suggested to students, perceived parental expectations had a stronger influence than socio-economic status, but the influence was indirect through the variables of student’s occupational expectation, which in turn affected occupational aspiration. The findings of Endicott (1984) indicate that student perception of parental expectations is an important factor in occupational aspiration as a parental influence. Generally, this inquiry lends empirical support to the assertionthat student perception of parental expectations may contribute significantly to occupational aspiration. Parenting style exerts a lot of influence on the educational attainment of the adolescent especially the socio-economic status of parents. The possibility of re- entry into school is enhanced if the adolescent girl comes from the high socio-economic status family among girl child drop out group (Alika & Egbochuku, 2009). Academic performance is positively correlated with parents who enforce rules at home (Ryan, 2005). Family influences the behavior or character of a child (Trost & Levin, 2000). Parents play a significant role in laying the foundation of their children’s career (Tella, 2003).

1.2 Statement of Problem

This research is based on the influence of parenting style on the choice of career among secondary school students in Umauhia Local Government Area of Abia State. The parents may desire what they think is good or best for their ward. This may affect the child positively if the child can cope with it but negatively when such a child has other things in mind, which he/she wishes to do. The result of this is that the child may not concentrate on the parents needs and so may not adjust positively towards the career. This sometimes leads to student’s waywardness, secrete cult involvement, armed robbery and so on. The child may not cope with the parents continual force against his/her will. Parents often known as the most important being who play a significant role on their child’s development morally, educationally and psychologically.

The world is speedily making such drastic demand upon the coming workers every truthful man and woman, who teaches and reflecting parents is planning way to fit the students for the life and needs of this new century. This statement which is still relevant today was written by Mejer Bloomfield in his book ‘finding ones place in life in (2007) since the early 2000 career development or vocational guidance at it was then known has increasingly gained more and more attention and respect in essence career counseling is a specialty within the profession of counseling one that fosters vocationally development and work adjustment of individual abilities interest and goals with the work roles structured by the community and occupation organized by companies and assist a developing and deciding individual to make suitable and viable choice why examine the factors affecting occupational aspiration on senior secondary school students, in the past and even now for many. It was assumed that an individual going through late adolescence wouldbe developing their independence and slowly eliminating his or her family’s constraints as he or she formed his or her own identity into the larger world, in effect the person would make career decision based on his or her own interest and occupational goals with limited influence from others. In fact even when young adult move away from home, their family will likely still have a strong influence upon them on two significant life events marriage and their career. Parents often time disregard the ability of their children and choose career they feel is suitable.

The parenting style, thus creates different types of personalities for children for example, children whose parents adopts authoritative parenting style are more liable of personality traits such as assertiveness, self-control, self-regulation and self-dependence.

1.3 Research Questions / Hypothesis

  1. Assess the relationship between family financial situation and student’s occupational aspiration?
  2. Investigate the relationship between parents’ education level and student’s occupational aspiration?
  3. Examine the relationship between family size and student’s occupational aspiration?

1.4 Objective of the Study

  1. To assess the relationship between family financial situation and student’s occupational aspiration.
  2. To investigate the relationship between parents’ education level and student’s occupational aspiration.
  3. To examine the relationship between family size and student’s occupational aspiration.

1.5 Significance of Study

The importance of this research work is to find to what extent the influences of the parenting style will affect the student’s choice of career.

  1. It will enable the researcher give recommendations to the parents about their children’s response to theircareer.
  2. It will enable the researcher make concrete recommendations to the government about the choice of career among students especially now that the rate of unemployment ishigh.
  3. It will enable the researcher to make recommendation to schooladministrators.
  4. The findings will also enable the researcher made recommendations for further research on the issue of career prospects.

1.6 Organization of the Study

This report is organized into five chapters.

  1. Chapter one comprises of background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, scope of the study. The study focuses on the effects of family background on students’ occupational aspirations.
  2. Chapter two of the study comprises of the literature review which will present the past study by different scholars on family background and academic performance. The chapter also comprise of the theoretical framework of the study and the conceptual framework.
  3. The third chapter is the research methodology, which comprises of the research design, the sampling methods and the data collection and analysis methods.
  4. Chapter four comprises of the data analysis, presentation and interpretation, while
  5. Chapter five comprises of discussion of findings, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Discussion of Findings

This research work is aimed at examining the influence of parental background on occupational aspirations of students in schools in Umauhia local government in Abia. In looking at the influence of the independent variable, it was expected that there would be a significant relationship between parental background and occupational aspiration of students. But instead, a very weak relationship exists between them, which implies that parental background in Umauhia local government Area in Abia does not necessary influence the occupational aspiration of their children. In recent study, both parents and peers contributed to student’s occupational aspiration.

5.2 Conclusion

The main conclusion of this research may be summarized as follows:

  1. The parental background of students in Umauhia local government Abia have no little or no influence on the occupational aspiration of suchstudents
  2. Authoritarian parenting style is the most popular (among the types which the study was able to identify) as being adopted byparents.
  3. The type of parenting is not an adequate predictor of measures in occupational aspiration. Other factors such as peers, school etc, may be considered when issues of occupational aspiration in students is on thefocus.
  4. Gender is not an important predictor of occupational aspiration. It failed to predict a difference in occupational aspiration of students on parental background.
  5. Parental background does not really matter at children as much as it may be from prenatal period, infancy, and childhood stages of development.

5.3 Recommendations

Parenting is not a matter of employing a sure fire set of recipes or formulas. Parents differ and children differ. For many years, psychologists and psychiatrists stressed the parent’s role in shaping children personalities and behaviors. Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Professional school counsellors should provide collaborative support and training to parents on career guidance. This is because their education, skills, and position within the school community, are in a unique position to assess the needs of adolescents, and the skills and stressors of theirparents.
  2. School counsellors can assist parents in learning how to provide emotional support by helping them understand the emotions that adolescents experience when faced with difficult educational and vocational challenges, by helping parents talk to their adolescents about what fun their future job couldbe.
  3. School counsellors should assist parents in providing career-related modelling for their adolescents by showing them how to talk to their adolescents about their own occupations as well as about other occupations that are available in the world ofwork.
  4. Parents should imbibe the development of basic work attitudes as promptness, respect, dedication, expression of positive regard to constituted authority, and responsibility. This is necessary considering the fact that their attitude to work will have significant effect on children ‘occupational aspiration.
  5. School counsellors in alliance with parents should provide opportunities that would nurture interests in vocational subject matter, and create environments that would nurture the discovery of aptitudes for vocationalcontent.

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