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This study examined the influence of fathering style on social adjustment among adolescents in Surulere LED of Lagos State.

Four hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.

To achieve this aim, the researcher formulated four hypothesis to guide the study:

There is no significant influence of fathering styles on social adjustment of adolescents.

There is no significant impact of fathering styles on proneness to early pregnancy among female adolescents.

There is no significant cultural impact on fathering style on social adjustment of adolescents.

There is no significant influence of religious impact of fathering style on social adjustment of adolescents.

The sample comprised two hundred (200) participants selected through stratified random sampling from four senior secondary schools in Surulere LED of Lagos State. A well structured questionnaire was administered and used to solicit responses from the respondents.

The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyse the result at 0.05 level of significance. Fisher’s protected t-test formular was used to do a pairwise comparison of differences in-group means (X) resulting from influence of fathering styles on social adjustment of adolescents. The result of the data analysis obtained indicated as follows:

There is significant influence of fathering styles on social adjustment of adolescents. It was also found out that there is no significant religious impact in fathering style of social adjustment of adolescents.


1.0    Introduction

Early pregnancy is a situation whereby a girl-child is impregnated as a result of premarital sexual activity. Many girls these days are in the habit of being involved in premarital sexual acts due to civilization and education. There is no doubt that the traditional values have been overthrown in favour of liberal sexual attitude. According to Abe (1996), 63% of adolescents do not think that virginity was important, but old-fashioned recreational sex seems to be the way of many youths and the resultant effect of early pregnancy, abortion and consequently death or destruction of the reproductive organs. Nwobi (1997) describes the family as the network of persons intimately held together by a bond of social or blood relationship. The family comprises the father as head and breadwinner, the children who must take orders or directions from the father. Therefore, for the father to raise meaningful and responsible children in the society the needs to adopt a certain style of leadership or parenting.

1.1       Theoretical Background Arione, (1994) used two typologies to describe fathering styles: demandingness and responsiveness; that when crossed yields four fathering styles. According to Arione, authoritative fathers are both responsive and demanding. They set clear reasonable standards for responsible behaviour that are consistent with children’s development and provide explanation for their positions. They are also kind, warm, loving and responsive to children’s needs and will negotiate their expectations. Authoritarian fathers are only demanding but not responsive. They only place values on obedience to rules and discourage give-and-take between father and child and do not take their children’s needs into consideration. Permissive fathers are also indulging, they are responsive but not demanding. These fathers are warm, accepting and tolerant of the child’s impulses. They also make few demands on the child for mature behaviour, but do not use much or no punishment and avoid exerting their authorities. More recently, permissive fathers have been separated from neglecting-rejecting ones, who also do not make many demands because they are  disengaged and they are neither demanding nor responsive. Thus this has caused the girl child who could not get what she wants from her father to use what she has to get what she wants outside the home. The resultant effect has been early sexual activity which is the result of early pregnancy of the child. Sexual indiscipline among adolescents in secondary schools includes increasing rates of premarital sex, promiscuity, prostitution, teenage pregnancy, teenage marriage and motherhood, illegal abortions, child abuse and abandonment and premature death for teenage mothers as a result of abortion. The Newswatch (1985),main feature was the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy captioned “Children Having Children”. The situation has assumed a greater dimension because sexual indiscipline is closely related to criminal acts – such as abortion and child abuse. Teenage pregnancy sometimes leads to teenage marriage or what is usually called the “Shot gun marriage”. This option is often frought with both medical, social and psychological dangers and problems. For one thing,  a girl’s body is still growing and if nutrition is deficient such teenage girl is a poor obstetric risk. For another there are psychological problems associated with teenage marriage such as “Shot gun” marriage, leading t dropping out of school, humiliation and degradation suffered by the adolescents and their families. There are the financial implications and lack of psychological support system for the adolescent mother. The attendant dropping out of school for the girl usually forces into poverty cycle, while high increasing rate of illegitimate pregnancy exacts a heavy financial toll on tax payers. Finally, single parenthood seems to be increasing among adolescents as a result of early pregnancy due to premarital sexual activity with/its implication for the proper psychological well being of the child and the mother, and on the long run, with social implications for the society (Kuforiji, 1998). It is a well known fact that more teenagers are engaged in sexual intercourse at earlier ages.

Rafiu (1994) found that in a sample of 100 students in secondary schools 48% boys and 36% girls stated that they had sexual intercourse by age 15. A large proportion of the girls indicated that they had partners who were old enough to be their fathers, while only a small fraction of the male sample indicated that they had sex with older girls. Thus the problem of “Sugar daddy and sugar mummy” is  a major one among adolescents. The adult society that preaches sexual morality and delayed gratification is thus creating more problems. As a primary socializing agency the family’s impact on man is total. According to Onyejiaku, (1991) no child born into the world with the knowledge of right and wrong, rather it is when he internalized the societal norms and values that he begins to relate with people around him effectively. The responsibility of raising up a child to become socially and psychologically well adjusted adult is mainly that of the father. According to Lamb (1997) a father is a man who begets a child, a male parent, the founder of a family or race, one who exercises parental care over another, a guardian or protector. Nwadinigwe (2004) postulates that within the family, role sharing among the parents exist. The father is expected to discipline the child and ensure he is brought up in proper way. A father according to Clinton (1995), is a man stabilizing influence upon his children, providing means by which his children may face the outside world with confidence. The must significant figure in a family setting and the head of the house in all issues of paramount importance. Scholars theorized on individual behaviour, socialization process, fathering process and their influence on adolescents. When children watch the behaviour of  model, especially, their fathers, they quickly tend to imitate both the specific responses and generalized response patterns  of the model, the father or mother as fathers are viewed as models worthy of emulation by their children. Similarly, a child may face 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. Fathers who adopt the I-don’t-care attitudes or styles in bringing up their children especially during their formative ages will end up having wayward, recalcitrant, rascal family and the immediate community or society. For instance, a girl child whose father does not meet up with her demands or needs may go out to form allies with the peers who would obviously misadvice, mislead and misdirect her into joining gangs of sexual promiscuous persons, women of easy virtues who are in the ha its of using their bodies to acquire what they lack from their homes. The gradual process of promiscuity could graduate the child into being a mother at tender age, prostitution and the loss of educational career cum opportunities in future. Also fathers who are too rigid or authoritative, may produce children whose characters are deceptive. These children may be sheep in homes but wolves in the outside world. In any case, they are pretenders who hide their characters in the presence of their autocratic fathers, but tend to live another pattern of life entirely from the ones they exhibit in the home. At home they are quiet and innocent, outside the home, they are wayward , sensuous and promiscuous. This hide and child to premarital sexual activities and consequently unwanted or even abortion and loss of precious tender life (Uzoma, 1998). The sociological theory of symbolic interaction posits that children and infants are ignorant of rules and roles of the society when they are born and to turn them to socially responsible beings, they must acquire new roles by their interactions with significant others especially, their fathers, mothers and siblings. Through interaction with the father who disciplines directs and nurtures the child, the child acquires social norms, values and skills within the culture. The father’s roles in traditional perspective is being aloof and distant. A situation whereby the father is respected but feared by the children who never learned to know him very well, unlike the mother who care for the home and raised the children. It in this light that Osarenren (1998) claimed that the process of socialization starts in early life and is a life long process. Moreover, Howels (1985) saw the fathers as inculcating attitudes and behaviours that their children needed for educational, moral and vocational development and that if father fail to bring up their children, especially the girls, it leads them to adopt traits and negative behaviours that are inimical to the societal norms.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The most turbulent state of human development is agreeably the adolescent stage. The adolescent is characterized by identity crisis, aggressive, hostile and manifest destruction behaviour. This problem is related to father’s attitude and style in reaching out to the adolescent since it affects his confidence level in relating with people he comes across. When he becomes withdrawn, feels rejected, depressed and frustrated (Nwadinigwe, 2004). Fathering styles have correlation with the up bringing of their children. For instance, fathers who adopt the I-don’t-care attitudes in nurturing their children especially the girl-children, will end up fathering children who are wayward, recalcitrant, rascal and maladjusted in the family and the immediate community or society. For instance, a child (girl) whose father does not meet up with her demands or basic needs may go out to meet her peers who would misadvice, misdirect and mislead her into joining a gang of sexual prostitutes or women of easy virtues who use their bodies to get material things they lack at home. When fathers neglect to rear their children very well, it leads the girls to engage themselves befriending men, the opposite sex who they feel will protect them like their fathers and provide them what they lack in fathers. This association could lead to promiscuity, premarital sex, unwanted pregnancy and abortion which consequently lead to termination of life and career of the adolescent. It is in this vein that Clinton (1995) saw a father as a man stabilizing strong influence upon his children, providing means by which his children may face the outside world with confidence.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is mainly to examine the influence of fathering styles on social adjustment among adolescents in Surulere LED, in Lagos State. Other specific objective are:

1.            To determine whether fathering styles influence adolescents’ social adjustment.

2.            Examine the extent gender difference exists due to fathering styles.

3.            To find out whether religion affect the fathering styles of parents.

4.            Determine whether cultural impact on fathering styles affects the social adjustment of children.

5.            To identify different types of fathering styles.

1.4       Research Questions

The following questions were raised for the conduct of this study:

1.            Will fathering styles influence the early pregnancy of girls?

2.            Does fathering styles influence adolescents social adjustment?

3.            To what extent does gender difference in fathering style affect the academic achievement of the girl child?

4.            Will religion affect the fathering styles of parents?

5.            To what extent will cultural impact on fathering styles affect the social adjustment of adolescents? 6.            How can we identify types of fathering styles?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to conduct this study:

1.            There is no significant influence of fathering styles on social adjustment of adolescents.

2.            There is no significant impact of fathering styles on proneness to early pregnancy among female adolescents.

3.            There is no significant cultural impact of fathering styles on social adjustment of adolescents.

4.            There is no significant influence of religious impact on fathering style on social adjustment of adolescents.

1.6       Significance of the Study

The study will be significant in several ways thus:

1.            Fathers: This study will enable fathers to be more aware of the fact that they need to gather their children, especially the girls very well so as to avoid premarital sexual activities, pregnancy and abortion which may claim their lives. This study will help fathers to know the different patterns of rearing a child and to adopt the best pattern they deem fit. 2.            The Findings of this study will help adolescents, especially, girls to know that they need to be nurtured by their fathers and to come to terms with the fact that they could end up in becoming mothers if they re badly brought up or nurtured by poor fathering style.

3.            The findings and recommendations of this study would assist teachers who are themselves parents, to imbibe the culture of training their children/wards very well, bringing them up in the normal way that could make them adaptive to normal systems of the society and to grow as responsible adults.

4.            Counsellors will see this study as reference material in that it will help them to use the recommendations in this study to help adolescents who have different problems as a result of being under the yoke of bad fathering.

5.            Society will find the recommendation of this study as important in making them to draw inference on the best way of fathering a child. Also, scholars and neophytes in research will find this study a reference and relevant material in doing further work on related issues.

1.7       Scope of Study

The study will cover the influence of fathering styles on social adjustment among adolescents in Surulere LED, of Lagos State.



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