1.1 Background of the Study
Students’ delinquent behaviors is specially concerned with our society though our age long problem, family variables has increased tremendously. The family is usually regarded as the first agent of socialization to the child because the family is expected to foster value orientation in children. Its dimension and frequency in recent years leaves one doubt as to what will become of our society in the nearest future (Inyang, 2004) case of high rate of students delinquent behaviors. There are increasing reports of these anti social activities from the media, annual reports of social welfare officers and student’s court case lists (Denga, 2004). However, in our daily activities, it is common to find students involved in violent crimes, cases of rape, murder, serious assaults and robbery, economic crimes (street Crimes) among others.
The last five decades have witnessed a shift in training methodology for young person’s which have discard discipline thus increasing the rate of students’ delinquency. Some careful analysis reveals that a great cause of student’s delinquency is traceable to lack of parental marital conflicts. Parents are examples to their children, whether they want to be or not children are especially susceptible to examples, having a natural tendency to imitate. This imitative trait in children makes it imperative for parents and guardians of students to instill discipline by example since young ones tend to gravitate in the direction of the moral standard they observe in those whom they look up to. Moreover, studies have generally revealed that children raised by abusive parents often grow into adults who are abusive themselves. Also, where children left on the loose without proper parental supervision, it often reflects in a lack of respect for societal restrains. A students without proper sexual orientation therefore sees no need why his sexual urge should not be satisfied, even if same means gratifying such by violating the bodily integrity of a young maid, or indeed any woman for that matter.
The parents are expected to teach their children moral virtues and correct response to reality through parental love. According to Ekpo (2003) describes the family as a home where the husband, wife and children live together in peace, love and harmony for the Lord and for each other. It is family that provides the ideal environment for the children to receive the necessary training given to receive the necessary training given to them by the parents. Some families are organized while others are disorganized. Isichei (1996) stated that, organized family can successfully achieve the inculcation of values to the children while family disorganization immensely contributes to indiscipline. This disorganization may be viewed in form of divorce, separation, desertion and gross parental neglect.
So many things are happening in most of our families. In some families, economic hardship, lack of trust between the husband and the wife, among others have driven couples into divorce or separations. Most children from these types of home end up as delinquents and as adult criminals. Such children do not grow up in the atmosphere of warmth and trust. It is believed that what the child becomes his personality development has a bearing with his family background and upbringing in schools. On a cursory observation of our urban streets today, one easily finds that most of our young boys parade themselves as motor touts instead of being in school or help their parents at home in domestic chores. Conversely, our young girls are no exception, instead of them being in school, they are on the streets and club houses looking for men to give them ride and buy things for them (Ekpo, 2000). Nevertheless, a visit to places like hotels, bars, parks, motels and so on will reveal the number of young people engaged in one nefarious activity or another. Delinquent behaviour is also a problem of our communities, the nature and degree may differ (Inyang, 2004). Our rural societies were known for mechanical solidarity (Durkheim, 1950) or what Ferdinand Tonnies would call Germischaft relations, (1963). A kind of relationship that is person, informal, traditional and primary homogenous. A community free from crime and other anti-social activities is characterized by dominant parental influence on children through socialization. The contrary is however the case study, villages are becoming a ghost of their former selves. The functions of the rural communities are no longer upheld, parents no longer care about what their children are into, or what group or association they belong. It is common to see some male and female children leave their parents homes and return to the homes days after wards, yet no question is raised as to tie where about. The prevalence of cult groups like “Dey well” or “Dey bam” and Akaba groups like leaves a big question mark on the moral standing of our rural communities. Several researches have been carried out to determine the cause of this social problem which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our societies.
Some scholars such as Lambrosso have stressed biological characteristics of individuals such as hereditary, body type, glandular imbalance and intelligence are being responsible for delinquent behaviours while others such as Bowlby, have emphasized the family background such as disorganized or broken homes as the cause of students delinquencies. (Haralamboos and Healed, 2001: 408). Therefore, this study is geared towards determining the family variables and students’ delinquent behaviours in Uyo Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The students’ delinquent behaviors has increased tremendously in Nigerian urban and rural areas. Its dispersion and frequency in recent years is so alarming that it has raised a rural panic among the Nigerian population. A close look at our secondary schools today reveals that delinquents have become daring in recent times and their menacing activities so wide spread that all remedial measures applied seem to have failed to tackle the problem. For instance, cases of truancy and maladjustments are becoming the order of the day among students in secondary schools. Students are observed loitering in the streets instead of staying in the class rooms during school hours. Many students drop out from schools with flimsy excuses. Some take to criminal activities within the schools and its immediate environment. Most armed robbers and cultism related activities are associated with this type of students. It is on this basis, therefore, the Former Executive governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief (Dr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio declared a free and compulsory education and also made it mandatory that any students loitering the street during school hours should be prosecuted, this was announced by the former Honourable commissioner for Education Dr. Nseabasi Akpan.
Moreover, cases of stealing of books, money and other personal properties, effects of other students in hostels or classrooms become major characteristics of some secondary school students. Incidences of assault in schools are not left out. Some students now take it as a point of duty to gang up and molest their teachers for wrong doing. Similarly, there are cases where junior student gang up against the school prefect in attempt for the prefect to call them out for compound work. One really wonders where those breeds of students come from. Nowadays, substance and alcohol abuse among students is wide spread. Student now take to smoking marijuana, Indian hemp and cocaine as if these drugs were food while other students are in class, you find this group dilapidated buildings or farmyard in the school.
From the foregoing assessment, it has been revealed that there is high rate of moral decadence among our secondary schools students. Trends of high morality in academic environment are on the reverse, secret cult which was exclusively found in the universities is now the talk of the secondary school students who now armed with ammunitions to school. Examination malpractices have been institutionalized such that any student who does not involve in the scandal is regarded as a threat to other students. The question is where has our societal value gone to? Why is the student’s delinquent behavior in the increase? Why has delinquent behavior increased over time? These and many issues therefore raise the questions on family variables and students’ delinquent behaviors which this study sought to provide answers to.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study among others is to ascertain whether the family variables particularly parental marital conflicts e.g. broken homes are responsible for students’ delinquent behaviors among secondary school students in Uyo Local government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specific objectives are to ascertain:
i. Whether parental upbringing influence can cause students’ delinquent behavior.
ii. Whether parental marital status influence students delinquent behavior among secondary school students; and
iii. Whether parental financial status influence students’ delinquent behavior among students.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study will enhance parents to understand the pressures in the society which predisposes students into delinquent behaviors. Upon understanding these pressures, parents will devise possible means to train their childr3n in the line with world best practices.
The study will serve to reawaken the moral consciousness of our society and to redirect our individual social responsibilities ensuring a crime free society. The study will serve as a working guideline for teachers in schools to adopt the certain control measures to reduce the students’ delinquent behaviours among students. The study will facilitate or provide feasibility and pilot study data that will assist government policy makers in their planning implementation and evolution of intended policy framework geared towards curbing students’ delinquent behaviours in our society.
Theoretically, the study will provide facts to available literature on the subject matter students’ delinquent behaviour and also provide data that will be useful to students of criminology and social workers, who may be interested in delinquency.
1.5 Research Questions
i. How does parental marital conflict influence students’ delinquent behaviour in secondary school students?
ii. To what extent does parental upbringing influence students’ delinquent behvaiour in secondary school students?
iii. How does parental financial status influence students’ delinquent behaviour in secondary school students?
1.6 Research Hypothesis
The following research hypotheses are formulated in a null form. These are:
i. There is no significant influence of parental marital conflicts on students’ delinquent behaviour among students.
ii. There is no significant influence of parental upbringing on students delinquent among students.
iii. There is no significant influence parental financial status on students’ delinquent behaviour among students.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study was delimited to:
i. Influence of parental marital conflicts on secondary school students.
ii. Influence of parental upbringing on secondary school students.
iii. Influence of parental financial status on secondary school students.
iv. Students in public and private secondary schools.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study is limited to selected secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Respondents for the study constitute males and females students of the selected secondary schools. The study seeks to ascertain whether parental marital conflicts are responsible for increase in students’ delinquent behaviour, in these selected secondary schools. It also seek to ascertain whether parental upbringing is the cause of students’ delinquent behaviour and to find out whether Parental financial status can lead to students’ delinquent behaviour.