A broken home is a home that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one of parent and illegitimacy. This article is focused on a broken home as a result of divorce or separation. Divorce breeds negative emotion in children which has a significant influence on academic performance.
According to researchers, 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. Peter (1968) the writer of children apart states in his book that children thrive best when they are brought up in a stable family in which two parents are able to give them a great deal of care and attention, encouraging them, on one hand, to develop their own life and interests and providing them on the other, with secure base to which they can return and in which they can always find comfort and support.
Some of the causes of marital instability include the wrong choice of Partners, barrenness, emotional abuse, personal differences, poor financial status, cultural and lifestyle differences, adultery, interferences from parents or in-laws, lack of maturity, sexual incompatibility, etc.
Effect of a broken home on students academic performance
As a lecturer and mentor, I have discovered that students that perform better in all aspects are students from a marital stable home. Apart from their good academic performance, they have a good human relation, good team spirit, coexist easily, show kindness, etc.
The effects of a broken home on academic performance that is discussed below are applicable to secondary school students and primary school pupils. At every developmental level, a child needs the two parents to be part of the process and once a parent is missing it affects some crucial aspect of the child. And one of these crucial aspects is the academic performance of the child. From my personal experience in Nigeria, it is difficult for a child to thrive in the environment where there is no motivation, care, love, encouragement, financial support, etc. These are all need for students to succeed academically.
- Psychological development
Psychological characteristics in this context include passivity, hostility, aggressiveness, friendliness, creativity, originality of thought, etc. and this has a significant effect on how a child interacts with his/her peers and academic performance. For instance, the child whose memories are associated with resentment cannot be expected to compete successfully with those whose memories are associated with a feeling of what we call personal satisfaction or a sense of achievement.
- Poor cognitive functioning
Children from this home are likely to show poor cognitive functioning in areas which include a poor mental alert, attention and concentration deficit, etc. and these are needed for classroom performance. Poor cognitive functioning slows down the mental process of registering, selecting and reacting to information
- Economic hardship
Parents can only give their children quality education if they are stable financially. Life, in a single parent family or a broken home, can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources. Divorce generally leads to a severe decline in the standard of living of single mother families, and this decline may increase children’s development risk in various aspects including academic achievement. It has been noted that children from a broken home have more tendencies to drop out from school. This may be because of the financial hardship which comes with a broken home.
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Igbinosa Victor Omoruyi “Influence of broken homes on academic performance and personality development of the adolescents in Lagos state metropolis.”
Frank Kasoma “The influence of broken homes on pupil academic performance in selected schools in Mbala district: Lessons for school managers.”
Cornel D. Bubelwa “Effects of broken marriage on primary school pupils’ academic performance in Ilala municipality”