The study explores on the sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi local government area of Benue State with the following specific set objectives: to ascertain the causes of single parenthood, to find out the effect of single parenthood and to

proffer possible solutions to the problem of single parenthood. The

study adopted the functionalist theory as the theoretical framework

for this study adopted the descriptive method and made use of the

questionnaire and semi-structured interview as methods of data

collected. On the causes of single parenthood in Makurdi local

government area, the study reveals that, divorce is the cause of

single parenthood. On the effects of single parenthood in Makurdi

local government area, the study reveals that, parenthood affects

children education. Also, on the possible solutions to the problem of

single parenthood, the study findings suggest that, orientation and

parental counseling as ways of solving the problem of single

parenthood. Base on the research findings, the study concludes that,

the family lays the psychosocial, moral and spiritual foundations in

the overall development of the child. Thus, parenthood is a

responsibility requiring the full cooperation of both parents who must

ensure the total development of their children. This analysis becomes

necessary because life in a single parent family can be stressful for

both the child and the parent. Furthermore, the study recommends that,

there should be enforcement of child right act and relevant laws to

protect children from single parent homes and help them develop

better. Also, financial and moral support to children from single

parenthoods can help solve the hardship children from poor single

parent homes face as some of their needs can be sorted out which will

help solve the problems that will hinder their development in the

society. Also, scholarship should be granted by the government to

children from single parent homes in order to give them the basic

education that is distorted as a result of parental separation and

enhancetheir development.


Content Page

Title page - - - - - - - - - - i

Approval - - - - - - - - - - ii

Dedication - - - - - - - - - - iii

Acknowledgement - - - - - - - - - iv

Abstract - - - - - - - - - - v


1.1 Background to the Study

1.2 Statement of the Problem

1.3 Research Questions

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

1.5 Significance of the Study

1.6 Scope of the Study

1.7 Definition of Terms


2.1 Introduction

2.2 The Incidence of Single Parenthood

2.3 The Causes of Single Parenthood

2.4 The Effects of Single Parenthood

2.5 Possible Solutions to the Effect of Single Parenthood

2.6 Theoretical Framework

2.6.1 Functionalist Perspective


3.1 Introduction

3.2 The study Area

3.3 Population of Study

3.4 Sample/Sampling Procedure

3.5 Method of Data Collection

3.6 Method of Data Analysis

3.7 Problems Encountered in the Field


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Respondents

4.3 Discussion of findings


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Summary

5.3 Conclusion

5.4 Recommendations







1.1 Background to the Study

Families fulfill important functions in every society. Most of the

children in the world grow up in a family, although the form of that

family might change during the life course. Generally, a family

provides a child with opportunities to develop into a stable and

independent person, for instance, through enabling the child to attend

school. The future success of children thus greatly depends on the

household they grow up in. Nevertheless, a child is not in the

position to choose its own family and has to accept if his/her family

is not capable of offering him or her best opportunities. Family

structures have changed enormously during the second half of the 20th

century (Martin & Kats, 2003).

Family background is the foundation for children’s development, as

such family background in terms of family structure, size,

socio-economic status and educational background play important role

in a child’s educational attainment and social development (Osunloye,

2008). The home has a great influence on the child’s psychological,

emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola

(2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents

are the first socializing agents in an individual's life. This is

because the family background and context of a child affect his

reaction to life situations and his level of development.

Family structure in terms of single and two parent families has been

noted in various literatures to have a significant influence on a

child’s mental development (Tenibiaje, 2009; Eweniyi, 2005). This is

because providing a supportive learning environment at home requires

parents’ time as much as financial resources. According to Salami &

Alawode (2000), the existence of single parenthood in Nigeria was

formerly unknown and where they existed they were ignored as

exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family

patterns both inside and outside Nigeria. Although there are no

available statistics of single parenthood families in Nigeria,

practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is an

increase of single parents in Nigeria. In the western countries, there

is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living

in single parent households (Nwachukwu, 1998).

The growth in the number of single-parent families implies that many

children are confronted with the negative effects of single-parenthood

every year, such as economic deprivation, a decrease in the quality

and quantity of parental contact, and a decline in parental support

and effective control. Hence the need for this study which is on, the

sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi Local

Government Area of Benue State.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The Second Demographic Transition that occurred from the 1960s until

the late 1980s in developed countries, involving dropped off fertility

rates, decreased marriage rates, and increased divorce rates and risen

numbers of births to unmarried women contributed directly to a growth

of the number of single-parenthood families in the world. This implies

that more and more children grow up in an unstable family nowadays.

(Lewis, 2001)

Single-parent families have on average lower income than two-parent

families and are thus more constrained in ensuring adequate financial

resources to meet their children’s needs. In addition, since single

parents must cope with the double responsibility of work and child

rearing, it may be more challenging for them to provide and maintain a

supportive learning environment for their children. Such families

according to Children's Defense Fund (1994) are faced with the

challenges of diminished financial resources, assumptions of new roles

and responsibilities, establishment of new patterns in intra-family

interaction and reorganization of routines and schedules (Agulanna,

1999). These conditions are not conducive for effective parenting.

This is because when the single parent is overburdened by

responsibilities and by their own emotional reaction to their

situation, they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to

their children's needs which affect children development in all aspect

be it health, educational, psychological, parental care and academics

aspect. (Nzewunwah, 1995). Parents are often unable to adequately

support their children when family breakdown occurs due to their own

distress, and children often seek and gain support from those outside

the immediate family such as grandparents and friends. Obviously, this

has a detrimental effect on children’s well-being and development in

all areas of social life. (OECD/UNESCO, 2003 & Fischer, (2007) as

cited by Ushie el ta (2012).

Previous research has shown that children’s educational achievement

and development is negatively affected by single parenting, while some

found no relative difference on the effect of single parenting on

child’s development (Dronkers, 1994, 1999; McLanahan & Sandefur,

1994). This comes down to the fact that the loss of one parent from

the family, which can be interpreted as a decrease in the number of

family’s financial, cultural, and social resources, leads to a

deterioration of children’s educational achievement and development in

other areas of life. Nevertheless, studies have shown that similar

research have been carried out in develop countries of the world and

other parts of Nigeria but none of such current research was found by

the researcher that talks about the effect of single parenting in

Makurdi. Hence the current study is out to explore the the

sociological examination of single parenthood in Makurdi local

government area of Benue State. This study is to be conducted in

Makurdi because of the rising rate of single parent’s households

within Makurdi metropolis and the effect it has on societal


1.3 Research Questions

        The following research questions are formulated to guide the study.

What is the incidence of single parenthood in Makurdi?

What are the causes of single parenthood?

What are the effects of single parenthood?

What are the possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood?

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aim to ascertain the effect of single parenthood on child’s

development with the following specific set objectives:

To ascertain the incidence of single parenthood in Makurdi

To ascertain the causes of single parenthood

To find out the effects of single parenthood

To proffer possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood

1.5 Significance of the Study

        This study will be significant in various ways; First and foremost,

it will be of importance to the government, head of institutions,

policy makers as they will formulate policies that will help protect

the rights of the child and assist in their overall development. Also,

this research will be of significance to the academicians as well as

add to the already existing body of knowledge and further researchers

who may want to carry out research on the topic in further.

        The findings will also have significant importance for social workers

as it creates awareness and measures to be adopted in rendering help

to those neglected group of children in the society who come from

single parent homes. The study will further enable people be aware of

the important of the family as a functional well being of the children

and the effect of parental conflict, which mostly lead to separation

or divorced of parents on the children that always result to children

been raised by single parents.  The research work will be a valuable

reference point for most nongovernmental organizations that cater for

the welfare of the child. Also, this research work going by its

recommendation at the end will help in the already existing child act

law that is gear towards the protection and welfare of the child as

social welfare services will be better access by children from single

parent homes in Makurdi and Nigeria by extension.

1.6 Scope of the Study

        This study is geographically located in Makurdi local government area

of Benue State, it is confirm to the local government because of its

strategic location and the timeframe under which this study is to be

conducted within the 2013/2014 academic session and also, the academic

scope of this study cover areas such as the incidence of single

parenthood, the causes of single parenthood, the effects of single

parenthood and possible solutions to the effect of single parenthood

1.7 Definition of Terms

Single Parenthood: According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary

English, single-parenting is been defined as a mother or father who

looks after children on their own, without the other partner.

Single-parenting can be defined as a situation in which one of the two

individuals involved in the conception of the child is being

responsible for the upbringing of the child. Single-parenthood may

arise when either the male or the female decides to produce and rear a

child or children outside wedlock (Ortesse, 1998).

Family: Murdock (1949) defined family as a social group characterized

by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It

includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a

socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children owned

or adopted, of the sexually co-habiting adults. Macionis (2006) see a

family as a social institution that unites people in cooperative

groups to oversee the bearing and raising of children.

Marriage: Macionis (2006) define marriage as a legal relationship,

usually involving economic cooperation as well as sexual activity and

childbearing that people expect to last. Marriage is of good value

most especially in the area of procreation that is bearing children.

It is also seen as the legal union or relationship between a man and a

woman who are married as husband and wife.



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