The impact of broken homes on academic performance of students in secondary school

The impact of broken homes on academic performance of students in secondary school




Background to the Study

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. The homes is the primary institution for children. Homes is defined by Christer (2011) as a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. The family on the other hand can be looked at as a social group characterized by common resident, economic, cooperation and production. When a child is born, the family is the first primary group with which they come into contact.

Agulana (2000) pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral and spiritual foundation in the moral development of the child. Structurally, family/homes is either broken or intact. A broken homes in this context is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one of parent and illegitimacy. According to Frazer (2013) psychological homes conditions arise mainly from illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken homes, divorce and parent deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the homes, are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child.

A stable homes is one in which both parents (mother and father) live together with their children, while a broken homes is the one in which one or both of the parents are not living together with the children. It is the level at which the homes operates appear determine the academic performance of a students in school. Broken homes, been it unstable can affect the performance of a student. Also, children that have suffered neglect or lack of love (in broken homes) seems to be psychologically imbalanced to face the realities of life. Where there is di-unity among parents, the children of such families seems to be at disadvantage.

Life, in a single parent family or broken homes seen stressful children and parents. Such families usually face with challenges of inadequate financial resources. Schults (2006) noted  that children from unstable homes compared with those from stable homes, it is observed that children from stable homes enjoy parents interaction that determined their social and academic benefits. Rochikepartain (2011) is of the opinion that the family and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. Lerin (2001) states that parents are probably the actor with the clearest un-dimensional interest in a high level of their children 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. Johnson (2005) assents that children of unmarried parents/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 homes background or structure may work hard and become successful in life. Moreover,  Ayodele (2007) stated that the environment where a child finds himself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately has academic performance in school.

Family is defined as any two people who are related to each other. This includes genetic connection, adoption, marriage or by mutual agreement. The nuclear family comprised of married couple with their biological or adopted child/children living together in one household. This type of nuclear family is referred to by social scientists as an “intact family (home)”, signifying that the family has been through a divorce or separation by death of a member (Conkline, 2006).

Deborah (2014) sees broken homes as a situation where two spouses separate leaving the children to the hazard of the society. Broken home has more impact on the academic performance of student in schools in urban area than in remote villages. This is because those students from broken homes in the cities are affected by change of school due to inadequate financial resources or poverty, poor study habit and low self-concept. Parents from broken homes are usually found in low status jobs because they enter work place early with few skills and little or no experience. They begin parenting in poverty and likely to remain in poverty which has an impact on academic performance of their children (Dowd, 1997). Fatherlessness constrains students to poverty; students whose homes are headed by father are six times better than students whose homes are without parental care (Murphy, 2002). Students from broken homes in remote villages have nothing to challenge them. The existence of extended family will not allow them to feel the impact of poverty as those in the cities. They have much to occupy them like farming and petty trading and so on.

Broken home is a home torn apart (Momoh, 2011). Broken homes occur when husband and wife separate from each other through either natural causes (death) or by human cause (divorce), leaving the care and responsibility of the children to one parent. Divorce could be temporal or permanent. It is temporal when there is still hope of coming together after the relevant laws must have been put in place. This is to ensure that issues that created the temporal separation are settled. But if the divorce is permanent, it means there is no hope of coming together. Divorce has to do with either one of the partners quitting or saying “bye bye” to his/her spouse as a result of infidelity, pride, superstition, religion, disagreement, in-laws interferences, alcoholism, and disrespect for one another or bulling (violence). According to Johnson (2006), twenty-nine percent (29%) of women who had ever been married or had lived with a man in common law relationship, had experienced at least one episode of violence/bulling by a husband; such relationship are more likely to end in disaster, rather than peaceful atmosphere (Daily, 2004).

There are homes that are incomplete in one way or the other everywhere in the globe where children struggle for survival. Death or divorce of parents may be the cause and which may have disastrous effects on a child’s development and academic performance, in other cases the injuries may be insignificant. They may have developed a character stronger than the others who were given the opportunity to live a normal life. Financial ideal atmosphere, children should happily be with their parents, children appreciated the love of their parents towards them, one of the tasks that should be fulfilled by parents, is to educate their children because the education of children does not start from school. This is because the children schooling starts from homes. A homes is not the wall of the house but the people who live on it make a homes. A homes also became a house when is not broken. Hemm (2007), broken homes means a herotic in which the parents ate no more by either as a result of death. Children from such homes lack proper care and security. The suffering of such children could be seen in differed dimension. In most cases, adequate parental and affection may not be given to the children properly by the adopted parents or guidance. Unfortunately, for the children who find themselves in this situation are neglected by their peer groups and society instead of being loved and cared for however.

Statement of the Problem

Broken home could occur as a result of death of either the partner, inter family misunderstanding, marriage without mutual consent, separation case, Divorce and poverty. Children from broken home seen to be more hostile, hyperactive and aggressive in nature. Many of the problems that single parents have seem  similar as to those for two parent’s family, but these problems seem more difficult to bear or manage when the home is being tutored by only one person. For example, all children appear hostile towards their parents as they grow-up and try to be independent. But in a situation, where the anger and rebellion are all directed towards one person, it may seem worse, if there is only one to bear it, not for the two to share.

There are problems that are exceptional, which are only faced by the single-parents, which make it somewhat difficult to raise children. These problems include: bitterness towards the absent spouse, loneliness, poverty and insecurity about raising children alone without a help. For these and some other reasons, single parents sometimes cling to their children or over-indulge them. It appears  that children from broken homes have higher incidence of academics, emotional and behavioral problems than other children from intact homes.

Yet, many of the problems children of single parents encounter that at seem to be caused by poverty was lack of resources. These resources include time and money, of which the single parent has little.  These seems buttress that children from broken home do suffer from low academic achievement or performance. Children from single parent homes appear likely to receive poor grades and eventually drop out of school.

Purpose of the Study

          The main purpose of this study is to find out the following;

  1. how the death of either of the partners affect the academic performance of students
  2. the effects of divorce in the academic performance of students.
  • how separation between husband and wife affect students’ academic performance
  1. How misunderstanding between husband and wife affect students’ academic performance.

Research Questions

          The following research questions were raised to guide the study.

  1. Does the death of either of the partners affect the academic performance of students?
  2. Does divorce have negative effects in the academic performance of students?
  • Does separation of husband and wife has any effect on  students’ academic performance?
  1. Does misunderstanding between husband and wife has effect on students’ academic performance?


Significance of the Study

The study intended to provide a thick description of the impact of broken home on the academic performance of students and teachers and community members’ role in minimizing those affects.

The study will contribute knowledge to the existing literature about the impact of broken home on the academic performance of students. Stimulate research on broken home and their effect on academic performance in secondary school students.

As known by all educators, home plays a very significant role in formation of a child’s personality and socialization, broken homes are identified as one of the factor that undermine the socialization process at home, which consequently affect the performance of the child in school. If the concern of education, in particular – is to look after socialization process of the child as well as his intellectual development, then this research work shall be of great importance to parents and educators that absence of one or both of the parent affect children educational carrier



Delimitation of the Study

          This study is examine the impact of broken home on the academic performance of students. The scope of the study will be limited to five selected secondary schools in Ado-Local Government Area of Ekiti.

Definition of Terms

          The following terms are defined as operationally used in this study.

Effect: The result or consequence of an action

Broken: Out of order or separated

Homes: The place where one lives or fixed residence of a family or household

Family: A set of parents and children or a relation living together

Single Parent: One person out of the couples who stay alone with the children

Achieve: Reach or attain by effect.

Broken Home: A house containing a family that is set apart due to tensions and certain problems. ex: a kid’s parents constantly fight and he/she feels lonely, depressed, angry. that is a product of a broken home, who may usually get away from the problems by doing bad things

Separated Family: Is a family that has split or separated due to a variety of reasons. This leads to children being raised by single parents, stepparents or others not related to the biological parents




          This chapter reviews related literature on the effect of broken homes on the education performance of students in Secondary school in Ado-Local Government. This is done under the following sub-headings.

  • Concept of marriage/stable home
  • Concept of broken home
  • Causes of broken home
  • Effect of broken home
  • Home background and academic performance of children
  • Teachers’ Perceptions on the Effects of Broken Home to Children’s Academic Performance
  • Effects of Broken Marriage on School Going Children
  • Perceptions of Children with Single Parents
  • Academic Achievement among Adolescents of Broken Home
  • Comparisons of Children from Broken Home and Two-Parent Families
  • Factors Affecting the Children’s Academic Performance and Socialization
  • Factors Affecting the Children’s Academic Performance and Socialization
  • Summary

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