Background of the study


Marriage is a bond of love and respect. It is stabilized by the contribution of affection from both partners. If any of the  partner's contribution decreases, the bond loses its stability;  giving rise to conflicts. Marital conflicts are usually arguments, disharmonies, and disagreements that occur between partners in a matrimonial relationship.

Conflict is natural and inevitable in marriages and other close relationships. Ironically, one's experience of interpersonal conflict is often highest with one's spouse, compared to other long-term relationships (Argyle and Furnham, 2018). Marital relationships are particularly prone to conflict because spouses develop a great deal of shared intimacy and interdependence. These qualities make the partners more vulnerable to one another. At the same time, cohesion strengthens the relationship, such that partners can better withstand criticism from one another and the relationship can survive partner disagreements.

Marital conflict is not just a difference of opinion; rather, it is a series of events that have been poorly handled so as to deeply damage the marriage relationship.  Marriage issues have festered to the point that stubbornness, pride, anger, hurt and bitterness prevent effective marriage communication. The root of almost all serious marital discord is selfishness on the part of one or both parties.  Saving a marriage means rejecting selfishness, giving up pride, forgiving hurt and setting aside bitterness; these steps grow more difficult, so it’s best to avoid the downward spiral of marital conflict (Tom and Joy, 2003).

 Marriage is basically a stable union and so when Nigerians marry, their expectation is usually, that the marriage will last. Just like every African, Nigerians also enter into marriage today to get children. Fecundity is almost made a condition for the continuation and perseverance of the marriage. Fertility is often seen as a participation in the great mystery of life, as a force that runs from one generation to the next. This demand for fertility puts a stress in marriage and can bring about its breakdown when it turns out not to be fruitful. Many families are prepared to accept marital breakdown as a human reality, when all effort at its prevention fails (Nnabugwu, 2017).

The intensity and seriousness of conflicts varies widely both within and between couples. Some oppositions are merely mild disagreements or complaints. They receive minimal attention and produce short-lived effects. Other conflicts represent ongoing struggles about personally significant issues that produce intense personal anxiety and relational tension. Conflicts that are recurrent and stable over time are most problematic for relational stability (Lloyd 1990).

According to Kelly (2020), research indicates that marital conflict rather than divorce or post-divorce conflict is a more important predictor of child adjustment. Although the frequency and severity of marital conflict play a central role in child adjustment, marital conflict nonetheless has been demonstrated repeatedly to have negative effects on children. For example, children in high-conflict marriages are more likely to experience behavioral and academic problems including, but not limited to, disobedience, aggression, delinquency, poor self-esteem, antisocial behaviors, and depression. Young adults, who experienced a high level of marital conflict during childhood, are more likely to experience depression and psychological disorders than young adults from low-conflict families. Moreover, parents in high-conflict marriages are less warm towards their children, more rejecting, more harsh in their discipline, withdraw more from their parenting role (especially fathers), and are more depressed. Buffers that can protect children in high conflict marriages include a good relationship with one parent or caregiver, sibling and peer support, and parental warmth.

The manner in which parents resolve conflict has been determined to affect child adjustment. Chronic, unresolved conflict is associated with greater emotional insecurity in children. Fear, distress, and other symptoms in children are diminished when parents resolve their conflicts and when they use compromise and negotiation methods rather than verbal attacks. The beneficial effects of these more resolution-oriented behaviors have been reported whether or not they are directly observed by the child (Amato, 2019).

According to Anykam, (2014), in a study of spouses who was involved in divorced action revealed a significant incidence of violent family behavior. The pattern of violence is cynical, children who have been abused or neglected group lack trust and are unable to form a close relationship with their spouse when they marry. They frequently lack a sense of positive self – esteem and competence. In other words, they exhibit the helplessness syndrome, such individuals often want children but when they become parent they have no knowledge of appropriate child – rearing practices or normal growth and development. As a result, they may punish a six month old child for crying when this is his only means of communicating his needs. Battering usually occurs as crisis when parent anger and frustration are multiplied; and the parents interpret the child behaviour as being accusatory and rejecting. Children have been ill – treated by adults throughout history, but are very recently that concern about the issues has gathered momentum. In order to assess the significant of recent development, it is important to locate the special reaction to children’s problem in a wider historical context from the beginning of the century to the 1970s’ concern for children has focus primary on the promotion of society from children and the control of delinquent youth. The primary concern with children has been in terms of the prevention of crime and anti – social behavior. This study through a theoretical perspective presents an overview of marital conflict, its causes and effects on pre-schooled children in Kuje Area Council of FCT.

 Statement of the Problem 

The increase in rates of marital conflict is one of the most visible changes in contemporary family life. Several studies have reported how children living in families with marital conflict and other lone parent families tend to have lower levels of economic well-being, and how the cross-national variation in these gaps is closely related to support from the welfare state. The increase of the new forms of instability calls for a deep analysis of the new phenomena in order to understand their causes and consequences. Instability and the breakdown of family and conjugal ties have relevant consequences of demographic, social and economic nature for the persons and the children involved. There are negative implication on the wellbeing of separated or marital conflict partners as well as on their children's, and the risks of poverty for women with children increase. The problem therefore is to find out the maritial conflict and its implication on child upbringing in Akure South Local area of Ondo State.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The main objective of this study  is to investigate marital conflict: implication for child upbringing in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State

The following are the specific  objectives:

a.      To critically examine the causes of marital conflict in homes  in  AKuje Area Council.  

b.      To find out the implication of marital conflict on  child upbringing in Akure South local government area of Ondo State.

c.      To suggest ways of remedying the causes and implication of marital conflicts on child upbringing.

Research Questions

The following research questions were rasied to guide the study

                     i.            What are the causes of marital conflict in homes in Akure South local government area.?

                   ii.            What are the Implication  of marital conflict on children  upbringing in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo State


                iii.            What are the ways that could help remedy causes and implication of marital conflicts in Akure South local government area of Ondo State?

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to implication and causes of marital conflicts on  child upbringing in Akure South Local government area of Ondo state

Significance of the study

The findings have significant implications for social workers and other helping professionals. It creates awareness and measures to be adopted in rendering help to those in marital conflicts in the society.

The study also will point to several issues that children experience in the homes especially on various social stigmatizations associated with children who are victims of this.

          It will help teachers and head teachers to develop relevant strategies to deal with the situation.

The study also educate people whose marriages are in difficulty should be made aware of community resources for conflict resolution which include resources for substance abuse, aggression, anxiety or anger management counseling, or psychiatric resources for the assessment of parental depression.

Definition of Terms and Abbreviations

Absenteeism: Is regular absence from work or school without a good reason.

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Consequence: Is the relation between a result and its cause or something that follows as a result.

Effects: This could be the result of something probably after testing and evaluating them, then the result yielded or -outcome.

Existence: The state of being real, actual or current rather than imagined, invented or obsolete.

Environment: All the, people etc that influence the way in which people lives or works.


Marriage: A state of union between a man and a woman, which has brought them together to live as husband and wife for procreation.

Motive: Is the reason that makes someone to do something especially when this reason is kept within .Or it is an impulse, a desire or a need that leads to an action.

 Performance: This is a notable action or achievement, which has to do with the strength or ability of something.

Prostitution: The ability to have sexual intercourse for money.

Pre-marital Sex: This is an act of indulging in sex between unmarried persons.

Rape: is an “unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, with or without her consent, or if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats, intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm or by means of false and fraudulent misrepresentation as to the nature of the act or in the case of a married woman, by impersonating her husband.” (Section 357 of the Nigerian Criminal Code)

Sex: it is a sexual intercourse.

UBE: Universal Basic Education

UN: United Nation

UNESCO: United Nation Education Scientific Organization



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