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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STEP-FATHERING AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STEP-FATHERING AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

 

ABSTRACT

This study attempted to investigate the relationship between step-fathering and personality development among SS II students in secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Relevant literature review was carried out under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was used to assess the opinions of the selected respondents using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. One hundred and twenty (120) respondents were selected and used as samples to represent the population of the study. Five null hypotheses were formulated and tested using the Pearson-product moment correlation coefficient at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the exercise, the following results were obtained: Hypothesis one found that there is a significant relationship between step fathering and personality development of adolescents in school. Hypotheses two revealed that there is a significant difference between step-fathering and social adjustment of students in schools. Hypothesis three found that there is no significant impact of step-fathering on personality development of adolescents. Hypothesis four indicated that there is no significant effect of step-fathering on personality development of adolescents. Hypothesis five showed that there is a significant difference in the academic performance of children who are brought up by their biological fathers and those who are brought up by their step-fathers.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background to the Study

Scholars such as Nicholas (1995) and Adams (2000), have theorized on individual behaviour, socialization process, fathering process and their influence on adolescents. For instance, when children watch the behaviour of a model, they quickly imitate both the specific responses and generalized response patterns of the model, especially as fathers are viewed as models by their children. Similarly, the child may face the trauma of neglect when the father who is supposed to be supportive and involved is not around to give appropriate model, care, comfort and supervision to the child.

The sociological theory of symbolic interaction posits that children and infants are ignorant of rules and role of the society when they are born, and to turn them to socially responsible being, they must acquire new roles by their interaction with significant others, especially their fathers, mothers and siblings. This study therefore, will focus on the relationship between step-fathering and personality development among adolescent in schools. As a primary socializing agent the family’s impact on man is overwhelming and total. This is why it was asserted by Onyejiaku (1991) that no child is born into the word with the knowledge of right and wrong rather it is when he/she socializes with societal norms and values that he/she begins to relate with people around him/her effectively. The responsibility of raising up a child to become socially and psychologically well adjusted adult is mainly that of the parents especially, the father (Martins, 1983).

According to Lamb (1997), a father is a man who begets a child a man parent, the founder of a family or a race, one who exercises parental care over another (whether his biological children or his step-children), a guardian and protector within the family role sharing. Among parents exists the father is a expected to discipline the child and ensure he is brought up in a proper way. The father is the most significant figure in the family the head of the household in all important matters. Pleck (1987) states that step-fathering is a system or pattern of fathering in which a man fathers a child/children who do not biologically belong to him. Step-fathering or step-mothering is a usual phenomenon in both the developed and the developing countries of the world.

According to Bumpass, et al (1990), approximately one-half of all marriages are a remarriage for at least one percent of all children in the United States lived with the mother and a step-father. As the U.S. Bureau of the Census (1995) put it, an estimated one third of U.S.A. children live in a step family house hold before they reach adulthood. Although the remarriage rates are lower, simile, prevalence rates have been reported in Canada and Europe. The large number of parents and children who live in a step families has prompted researches to study how well family members adjust to living in a step family especially where the man is not the biological father of the child he is living with.

As Lewis (1996) puts it, man’s fathering style is influenced by his enthusiasm for being a father, his occupation, his temperament the way the family members relate to each other. His own father’s behaviour, the images of how to be a father projected by the mass media and the number of children he has. Lewis went further to states that no single style of fathering or mothering is right for every one. The father who uses his style, educates the child socially, emotionally and intellectually.

Chaton (1995) sees a father as a main stabilizing influence on his children who may face the out side world with enough confidence. However, Pleck (1987) identified four typologies of step fatherhood to include: Step-father as distant bread winner, step father as sex role model and ‘new’ step father who nurturs and is interested in is young children/step children as well as engaged in a paid job.

Bandura & Walter (1995) asserted that when children watch the behaviour of a model, they quickly imitate both the specific responses and generalized response patterns of the model, especially as father or step father are viewed as models by their children or step-children. Similarly, the child being brought up by the step father may face the trauma of neglect when the step father who is supposed to be supportive and involved is not around to give appropriate model, care comfort and supervision to the step child or even his own biologically children.

According to Vera (1989) the sociological theory of symbolic interaction posits that children and infants are ignorant of rules and roles of the society when they are born. To be socially responsible beings, they must acquire new roles by their interaction with significant others especially their step-fathers, their biological fathers, mothers and siblings. Anayo (1990) asserted that through interaction with the step father who disciplines, directs and nurtures the step child, the child acquires social norms, values, and skills within the culture.

Fein (1988) states that the step-fathers role in traditional perspective is being aloof and distant. Fein (1988) added, that the step father is respected by fear by the step child or children who learned to know him very well. Unlike the mother who cared for the home and raised the children. Howells (1990) sees the step fathers as inculcating attitudes and behaviours that their step children needed for education, moral vocational and personality development. According to Howells, the phases of step fathering are

(a)         Step fathering during prenatal stage, that is child birth education.

(b)         Step fathering during infancy.

(c)         Step fathering during school age.

(d)         Step fathering during adolescence stage.

(e)         Step fathering during post parental stage that is adulthood and

(f)          Ground step fatherhood.

Howells (1991) further stated that step fathering style determines how comfortable an adolescent feels when dealing with individual on daily basis hence step fathering style could be permissive, authoritative, authoritarian or Laissez Faire and the children brought up through one or two of these step fathering styles, could affect their personality development in life.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

The most turbulent state of human development is agreeably the adolescent stage. The adolescent is characterized by identify crises aggressive, hostile and manifest destructive behaviour. This problem relates to step father’s attitudes and styles in reaching out to the adolescent since it affects his confidence level in relating with people he comes across when the adolescent step child is not able to relate well, he becomes withdrawn, feels rejected, depreciated and frustrated. Invariably his level of concentration in school, motivation to learn and performance in subjects becomes negatively affected. It is a truism that step fathering style of discipline, occupation, temperament and occupation, of the step father variously influence the students’ personality development his social orientation and other factors. This study in any case examines the relationship between step fathering and personality development among SS II students in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is the relationship between step fathering and personality development among senior secondary school students in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Other specific objectives of this study are:

(1)  To find out the extent step-fathering relates to the personality development of children in secondary schools.

(2)  To find out whether there is a significant influence of step-fathering and the social adjustment of students.

(3)  Find out whether there is gender difference in step-fathering style.

(4)  To find out whether culture has significant impact on step fathering.

(5)  To find out whether step-fathering has significant influence on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools.

1.4     Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses will be formulated and tested in the study:

1.  There will be no significant relationship between step-fathering and personality development of adolescents in schools.

2.  There will be no significant difference between step-fathering and social adjustment of students in schools.

3.  There will be no significant cultural import in step fathering style on the personality development on the personality development of adolescents in schools.

4.  Step fathering will not significantly affect personality development of adolescents.

5.  There will be no significant difference in the academic performance of children who are brought up by their biological fathers and those brought up by their step-fathers.

1.5     Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to the following individuals:

Step fathers: They would benefit from this study because it will enable them to have a better insight into the essence of forming a good role model to the adolescents or children. As a father, one has the responsibility of high moral uprightness and discipline. With this study, step fathers would be able to understand the fact that they need to help their step children by giving the best they can in order to bring them up in a proper manner so that they would adjust well and develop good personality.

Children: Step-children and other young ones in the society would learn from this study because it will enable them to be able to understand deeply the essence of attachment to their fathers be it step-father or real father. With the findings and recommendations of this study, students or adolescents would have better insight into the need for properly up bringing of children by parents, especially the father or step-father as the case may be.

Society: The society will also benefit from the findings of this study in that it will help the people in the society to be able to understand better the role of step-fathers and fathers to their children or step children as the case may be. Upcoming researchers, readers, scholars and the general public would learn from the findings and recommendation of this study.

1.6    Scope of the Study

This study will cover the relationship between step-fathering and personality development among senior secondary school II students in the Mainland local government area of Lagos State.

1.7    Definition of Terms

Some operational terms were defined in the study thus:

Step-fathering: A system or situation where one is brought or trained by mother who has been remarried.

Personality: This is the state of existing as a particular person. The whole nature and character of an individual.

Development: The act of action of developing or the state of being developed a gradual unfolding.

Authoritative parenting: Parents who always give orders or command to their children and expect them to obey them without minding the outcome of the command, one who possesses the power to give orders.

Authoritarism parenting: Parents who favour and demand obedience to rules and laws whether or not they right or wrong.

Laissez-fair parenting: Parents who form the principle of allowing their children’s activities to develop without control.

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