Sociological Perspective Of Spouse Behaviour And Its Effects On Academic Performance Of Students In Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Chapter One


1.1 Background To The Study

Considerable researches such as Williams and Williams 2005, Simon 2006, Giddens 1998, and Beck 1992, 1994, now reveals the contribution of parental involvement in learning activities of student as well as the school programme to positive outcomes. However, one cannot really ascertain the contribution of either spouse in this regards. Nonetheless, if one evaluates the social influences upon the development of individuals, one may not likely find any other with greater influence than the family.

The Family thus have a great role to play in the personality of their children. The family includes the parents (father mother and siblings) as well as the forces that come to play on the family- Sociological, economical and personality of the parents.

The family as a social unit is usually recognized for its importance in many roles. The psychological role of parent within the family needs to be understood by parents. They cater and provide for their children during the early years of growth, a segment of many others roles to be performed. It is pertinent to say that intense maternal love at infancy is as important to a child as adequate nutrition is. In other words the mother is not just expected to provide the necessary nutritional diets, but should as well show concern and attention for the child from the infant age and be interested to what happens to the child.

In recent years a great deal of attention has been focused on the assertion that children reared or raised by single mothers are believed to be prone to delinquency, Dennis and Erdos (1993). This is usually seen in terms of a father. The implication of this inadequacy is that such children are likely to have a below average academic achievement. Perhaps one may argue that it is not the gender of the parents that matters but rather the quality of and determination with which they take their roles. Despite this, some researchers have posited that the single mothers are somehow raising children in inferior settings. Thus, young and Smith (1999) conducted a research on single mothers and came out with these; That 56% children were more likely to be poor and delinquents than those living with both parents who are 11% likely to be delinquents.

On the other hand the paternal behavior also affects the academic performance of students. The influence of the father in the family is of equal importance. The attitude of the father towards the mother has been observed to have an indirect effect on the child, during the nursing period.

Moreso, the working patterns of men have been observed to have adverse effect on children. Shift work and workaholism can all eat into the time available to spend with the children. Obviously the nature of parental work is likely to impact upon children, a bad day at work is often a consequent of high temperament, and aggression is often extended to the children. Consequently the child becomes withdrawn and does not get the right stimulation in his or her academic activities.

Put differently, some people have argued that fatherhood and fathering are two different things. Fatherhood refers to the normal biological affiliation while fathering refers to the continuous role of a “father” being provided by the male figure in terms of living to his responsibilities. The provider for the family is the tenet behind an old style fathering identity and although slowly altering, it is still very strong in the contemporary society.

Field (1996) and Green (1998) also reveals that in new labour philosophy (NLP) fathers must be responsible for the financial provision of their family and themselves. These provisions range from the financial needs, emotional and psychological needs of the child. The financial needs of the children thus, are the educational needs of the child. In line with this, world conference on education for all (NCEFA) declared in Thailand in1990 that “Every child person, youth and adult shall be able to benefit from educational opportunities designed to meet their basic learning needs”. These needs comprise both essential learning tools such as (knowledge, skills, values and attitudes) required by human beings to be able to survive and develop their full capacities. This affirmation was later echoed that year at the world summit for Children (WSC) who in its final declaration also stated that all children should have access to basic education by the year 2000

From the foregoing we can say then, that it is the right and privilege of the child to be educated. Hence the parents must provide the means for these rights. According to Child Right Act of 2003 section 15 sub section (1) states:-

“Every child has the right to free compulsory and universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the Government in Nigeria to provide such education.”

Every parent or guardian shall ensure that his child or ward attends and complete this:

  1. Primary school education and
  2. Junior secondary school education

Every parent guardian or person who has the care and custody of a child who has completed his basic education shall Endeavour to send the child to a senior secondary school, except as provided for by sub section (4) of this section.

It follows too that the child’s educational right is entrenched in the constitution and anything contrary to this, is tantamount to infringement of the child’s rights.

However the financial status of the parents could sometimes hinder this rights and this inadequacy could necessitate the behaviour of either spouse as the case may be towards the educational needs of the child.

Following this one can identify some areas in which social economic status (SES) plays a significant role on the academic performance of students. They could be summed up as basic needs and experience, parental environment, attitudes and values. Each of this will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs

One of the basic needs of the child is to be catered for by the parent, besides bringing the children into the world. It is the responsibility of the parent to provide them with the following-shelter, clothing and safety as well as food and other educational requirements. Mc Lloyd (1998) revealed that economic problems can lead to family and marital conflicts which results in unstable home. Take for instance a child who goes to school on an empty stomach may not likely be attentive in school or a child who cannot do his assignment for lack of textbooks, or who lives in a congested environment, may likely not get the right stimulation or reinforcement to excel academically. Hence social economic status (SES) influences children background experience. Trawik- Smith (1997) as well as McLoyd (1998) in their findings posits that when children are provided with educational activities outside the school, which helps to complement the efforts of the teachers, only then will the student perform optimally in their academics. This experience ranges from visits to Museums, Art galleries, concerts and travels to historical places and learning materials like computer system, encyclopedias, magazines, news bulletins, and Atlas e.t.c.

Parental involvement is another area in which social economic status plays a role in academic performance of students. This could be considered from the perspective of parent-child interaction. Oko (1999) says that the way a child is groomed contributes to his development and formation of achievement motives in life itself. Desforges and Aboucher (2003) in their findings also revealed that parental involvement takes many forms amongst which are good parenting in the home as well as stable environment and secured home.

Lastly, the spouse behaviour and values poses a problem to the children especially if the paternal figure is a Laissez- faire kind of person (Abari and Mohammed 2006). The parent tends to play a passive role towards the academic performance of their wards. There is virtually no guidance and direction of any sort. If either of the parent’s academic status is below average it may likely affect the child in that the children may not be motivated or stimulated to learn. Such parents might be indifferent towards the academic achievement of their children.

According to UNICEF’s report (2001), Many Nigerian parents often send their children on the street to hawk because of their economic and educational background. Some Nigerian parents according to Okeke (1996) as cited in UNICEF report (2001) also affirmed that attitudes and values of the society and parents tends towards misplaced priorities and values. Perhaps this explains why some parents are now interested in wealth acquisition rather than giving the right legacy to the child, which is education.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Available researches according to Obemeta (1995) reveals that there has been a downward trend of academic achievement of pupils in secondary schools, especially in West African School Certificate Examination. A cursory look at the records of result reveals that less than 50% credit pass was achieved in English and mathematics as well as other subject in the last few years.

Moreso, the attitude of parents as it involves the academic performance of their children is said to be dwindling, owing to the nature of work and personality of parent. Thus, it is pertinent to research into the behavioural attitude of spouse as it affects the academic achievement of their children. This is imperative in order to bring about a probable solution to boost the academic achievement of pupils as well as enhance good relationship between parents and children.

1.3. Research Question

  1. What is the attitude of parent towards student’s academic activities?
  2. What is the role of either spouse towards the learning activities of their children?
  3. What is the effect of the economic status of spouse on learning activities of students?

1.4. Research Hypothesis

H1. There will be no significant effect of parental behaviour on the academic performance of student.

H2. There will be no significant effect on maternal behaviour on the academic achievement of students.

H3. There will be no significant effect of economic status of parent on learning activities of their children.

1.5. Scope Of The Study

This research work will be focused on spouse reactions, contributions, commitment towards the academic achievement of their children as well as the perception of students in some selected secondary schools in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

The findings of this research work will be useful to parent, students, teachers and the society at large.

The outcome would further sensitize and educate the parents on the need to stir a better relationship with their children. Moreso, the research work will serve as a stimulant for further research in the area of parental orientation and guidance as it relates to their children’s academic performance.

It would also be useful for international journal and publication.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

Laissez – faire:

In this study, it means care free, in difference attitude of parent.


In this study, it means making something develop or become more active.


In this study, it implies bad or criminal behaviour, usually of young people.


In this study, it means a person who works very hard and finds it difficult to do other things.


In this study, it implies having feeling that are typical of a caring mother towards a child.


In this study, it is connected with being a father, a kind father.


in this study, it implies a husband or wife.

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