Examining The Influence Of Family Disintegration On Deviant Behavior
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1.1 Background to the Study
From the creation of man, family has been the basic unit of social organization. It is a great circle where all moral of life is transmitted. Family remains the life wire of any society (Werwoc, 1974). The family can be described as the basic unit, since it embraces all forms of interaction between individuals.
Apart from the importance of the family to the members of the society, it serves as a semi-originator or controller of the existing institution the social system, because without people who make up the society, there will be no existing social institution.
The family provides the individual with an identity, with a social and with economic well-being.
The other institutions have only slowly emerged from the family and have for a long time been dependent on the family.
The family is universally regarded as the most sacred of the institutions and it is held so in the society.
Similarly, Murdock (1949) postulated that such an institution is university and functionally necessary because it performs those primary functions fundamental to human and social life.
A family is defined as ‘two or more persons within a private or institutional household who are related as husband and wife, as cohabiting partners, or as parent and child (IJNECE, 2005:3).
The term ‘family’ includes: a one-person household, that is, a persons who live alone in a separate housing unit alongside his wife and children. According to Wright and Wright (1994), the family is the foundation of human society.
Children who are rejected by their parents, who grow up in homes with considerable conflict or who are inadequately supervised are at the greatest risk of becoming delinquent.
Adolescence is a time of expanding vulnerabilities and opportunities that accompany the widening social and geographic exposure to life beyond school or family.
Understanding the nature a relationships within the family, i.e. family adaptability, cohesion, and satisfaction, provides more information for understanding youth behavior (Cashwell&Vacc 1996).
Cohesiveness of the family successfully predicts the frequency of delinquent act as for non traditional families (Matherne& Thomas 2001).
Family behaviors particularly parental monitoring and disciplining seem to influence association with deviant peers throughout the adolescent period (Cashwell&Vacc 1994).
The structure of the family plays a large role in children’s experiences and the support they receive in the home.
The origin of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria dates back to the 1920s when youth crime such as pick pocketing and prostitution became predominant issues in Nigerian newspapers in that period.
This ugly trend led to the establishment of judicial administrative process by the colonial administrators to deal with juvenile delinquents (Four chard, 2006).
It is appalling that the worrisome issue of juvenile delinquency still plagues the contemporary Nigerian society in a serious dimension (Muhammed, Salami ,Adekeye,Ayinla and Adeoye,2009).
However, the problem of juvenile delinquency is not peculiar to Nigeria. In 2007, the law enforcement agencies in the United States of America reported 2.18 million of juveniles (Alfry, 2010).
Alfry also reported that the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics found out that 72% of jailed juveniles came from fragmented families.
cording to World Youth Report cited in Sherlyn (2008), the rate of criminal activity among juveniles in groups in the Russian Federation is about three to four times higher than that of adult offenders. Motivated by the increasing rate of juvenile delinquency in Britain,
July and Farrington (200 examined deviant behavior and family disruption in a Longitudinal survey of South London males from age 8 to 46.
The researchers found out that 29% of the boys from disrupted families were convicted as juveniles compared with 18% of the boy from stable families.
The researchers concluded that family disruption was one of the contributory factors to the upsurge of juvenile delinquency in Britain.
In Kenya, Muola,Ndugu andNgesa (2009) cited in Kimani (2010) in a study of the relationship between Family functions and deviant behavior in Nakuru municipality in Kenya found out that the incidences of deviant behavior have increased in recent years in Kenya.
Deviant behavior was found to be significantly related to family instability and mode of discipline.
The researchers suggested that there was a relationship between family functions and deviant behavior in Kenya.
Four chard (2006) has also decried the increasing trend of juvenile delinquency in South Africa, attributing the upsurge to familial factors amongst contributory variables.
In view of the foregoing issues and trends globally and locally, many researchers agree that the foundation of juvenile delinquency is rooted in the kind of home the child is brought up (Okorodudu, 2010; Igbo, 2007).
Muharnmed et at (2009) have observed that family instability is on the increase in Nigeria and that the increasing crime trends among tile youths may be attributed to this.
While there has been considerable debate about tile effects of divorce or a new marriage on children, and whether it is the change in parental unions or the underlying characteristics and Family disintegration has become a thing associated with the contemporary family institution. This however, is not to say that it had never once occurred family situation of the past but that the rate at which it occurs in our present society is quite alarming. This is common in our contemporary family institution than before.
The problems of family instability can be traced to the rapid growth rate of urbanization and industrialization in Nigeria.
The economy is growing and it requires a lot of manpower (both skilled and unskilled).
This has aroused every member of the family to become one way or the other involved in the economic growth of the nation.
The involvement of women in wage carrying is a threat in the family solidarity; couples hardly find time to stay together for interaction purposes.
Childcare which should be the responsibility of the parents is now shifted to the school and house helps.
There are also some social factors that affect the disintegration of the family.
The idea of managing more than one wife might lead to an end of the family.
The habits that either the wife or the husband is involved in extra marital airs which are perpetuated by some men and some women might lead to an end of the family.
The habits that either the wife or the husband is addicted to smoking or drinking also lead to family dissolution.
Lack of trust in many families amongst the couples is wrecking marriages today. Peer influences also threaten the family solidarity if care is not taken by couples.
As a result of outside influences, irrational decisions are made to the detriment of one’s wish and this might lead to a marital crisis. Other factors such as education, illegitimate children, religion and infertility of the wife also initiate disintegration in the family.
Children of separated parents often bear the consequences of family disintegration.
They always serve as the “scape goat” to the vices of either the mother or the father.
The tension and hostility of unsolved conflict between parents often gets back to the child.
There are so many boys and girls and even adults roaming about the streets, many are delinquents, vandal and louts while some are mutually disturbed because of family disintegration. through a lot of people are still contracting marriages in Nigeria but there exist a lot of single parents which is a product of family disintegration.
The problem of family disintegration is compounding due to lack of support from local government authorities for both marriages and children form dissolved homes.
There are several forms of family disintegration which includes divorce, separation, desertion, death of one of the parent etc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Deviant behavior in Nigeria is a major social problem which affects the whole society and constitutes a serious impediment to development (Muhammed et al 2009).
For instance in Ilorin metropolis today, deviant act is common among the young people, many of who are caught in one criminal act or the other such as examination malpractice, armed robbery, assault, rape, house breaking, forgery, truancy etc.
Muhammed et al (2010) have observed that young people in contemporary Nigeria are mostly involved in armed robbery, Cultism, kidnapping, drug abuse and other deviant activities. In supporting this fact, it is widely known today that the young people were the most involved in illicit drug usage and dealings.
The consequences of this malady and other deviant act such as; examination malpractice, alcoholism, forgery, rape, etc. in Nigeria include; social violence among youths, armed robbery, mental disorders, lack of respect for elders and other numerous social ills.
In the light of the nauseating problems of deviant behavior in Nigeria and Ilorin metropolis, various factors such as; poverty, peer pressure, family instability, westernization and so on have been attributed to be the cause.
This study seeks to focus on family instability and its contribution to deviant behavior because “the family has a crucial role to play in the development of a conforming or delinquent personality. Inadequate supervision arising from family instability seems to be associated with deviant behavior(Alfred, 2010).
Lack of parental monitoring contributes or directly to children’s anti-social behaviors, but also indirectly as it contributes to exposing them to associate with deviant peers, which is predictive of higher levels of deviant acts.
From observation, it seems that parents and care givers are not doing much in the supervision of their children in Nigeria because of their numerous economic and social engagements.
This scenario tends to be giving impetus to deviant behaviors in Nigeria and Ilorin metropolis in particular.
Children from broken homes are more likely to run away from their family than children who come from more stable families (Uwaoma&Udeagha, 2007 and Uwaoma and Udeagha further explained that a broken home has an imbalance and as is detrimental to a child’s socialization and personality adjustment.
Children growing up in unstable families are at a greater risk of experiencing a variety of behavioral and educational problems, including; smoking, drug abuse, vandalism, violence and criminal acts than children from stable families (Sherlyn, 2008).
1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study
The major aim of the study is to examine the influence of family disintegration on deviant behavior. Other objectives of the study are to:
i. To assess the family features of the respondents.
ii. To examine the causes of family disintegration.
iii. To examine the deviant characteristics of the respondents.