The Effects of Broken Home on Child Development



A broken home may be classified as a situation whereby the mutual understanding, unity and the power to manage or accommodate that, which bind the family together is gone.

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In most cases, the couples may live separately or together but not as husband and wife any longer. This may result to physical, emotional, psychological or martial separation of the couples. As we know, home is a place where family lives and the family consist basically of parents, a husband and wife or wives and children. If there will be a home, there must be a husband and wife, the relationship between husband and wife, exist when a man and a woman have legally agreed to live together for better for worse till death do them part.

In some ethnic groups in Nigeria, marriage comes before family. Marriage is a sacred institution divinely ordained by God as recorded in the book of (Gen. 2:21-22). Child birth and rearing is one of the basic reasons for marriage, without a child, the home may not be complete and the marriage also may be said not to be successful according to African idealogy. Nevertheless, a broken home and a broken marriage are synonyms, this incident has become so common that it can be said to be the most significant and social problems of the day in our society.

However, as we all know, the effects of broken homes on child development is a major problem degenerating family, society and the world at large, today. The kind of adult the child grows into, is more important as this will not only affect the immediate family or environment but also the society at large. His is the focus of child development, the parents and the environment itself combine to mould the child into an adult. In other words, the family as a group may be responsible for the different characteristics exhibited by children in public places.

Simply because they should be taught the initial knowledge of their culture. This is why the writer is curious to know how well the roles of parents will be carried out, when the home is broken and its resultant effects on the child development.


For centuries now, especially towards the end of this 20th century. society has witnessed helplessly the ugly trend of broken homes in so may families. As we all know, the family is one of the oldest and most common human institution, recognized over the years as important organization in the society.

The family plays a vital roles and fulfils many important functions in the society. It is also the social unit into which children are born and it provides protection and training for the children. The family also provides economic support for its members. However, broken homes, broken marriages, divorce and single-parenthood may be seen as one of the most serious problems facing the society today. We suffice it to say that, these problems are by no means safe to the general well-being of a child. It may also generate moral, mental, physical and psychological effects, even enerate ill-social and irresponsibility to the family and the society at large.

The effects of the problems may be classified into two groups. The Moral/Mental Effects and Physical/Psychological Effect. Firstly, the moral/mental effects of child may be referred as the sociological effects, do to the child behaviour as a result of some unguided utterances, harshness and hostility exhibited by the parents. Sometimes, even extended to the child, this may make him exhibit such character to external person.

Because they learn very fast; and also when a child lacks good parental care and responsibility, he many automatically associate with bad friends or groups outside and these may result to the child turning to aggressive and notorious behaviour, prostitution and armed robbery, militancy and kidnapping. Secondly, the physical/psychological effects of a child may be classified into two major factors. These are: i. Environmental factor ii. Inherited factors. Environmental factors are referred as the different types of surrounding in which a developing child finds himself.

The environmental factors affects child growth and development. Children who finds themselves in adequate environment such as modern health and medical facilities, good water supply even literate parents etc. they develop physically, academically and socially, faster more than a child who comes from a very poor environment.

Inherited factors are referred as the inherited traits, heredity, hereditary potentials or characteristics which are passed over form the parents to the child. A child can inherit from parents rate of growth, eye colour, height, complexion and intelligence etc. eredity is very important in child development, though genes parents transmit their traits or potentials to their children.


  • This project will lead to understand the causes of broken homes.
  • This study will also expose the effects of broken home on child development.
  • Finally, this work will lead to identifying the effects of bad environment on child development.

The following research questions will be posed.

  1. What are the causes of broken homes?
  2. Does broken home affect child development?
  3. Does bad environment affect academic performance of a child?


The scope of this project work is within the limits of Irri in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State. The low literacy level and the difficult terrain of the area, also limits our data collection in the urban areas.


The significance of any research work depends on what id stands to teach or benefit the academia and others.  This study will expose the causes of broken homes and marriage failure, bringing focus on the effects of broken home on child development.  This project work will also serve as a useful guide to marriage counselors, and also as a resource material for home planning teachers.  Finally, the people of Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State, will find this research work very useful as infants who contemplate on marriage, will have a clear and proper understanding of the concepts.


According to Longman Dictionary (1985 edition); defined Effects as “a result produced on the mind or feeling”. While Broken Home was defined as “violently separated, where a man and wife no longer living together”.

However, we can not talk about Broken home without emphasizing on marriage. Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (1992 edition); defined Marriage as “the legal union of man and woman as husband and wife”. According to David (2003); defined Child Development as “ the emerging and expanding of capacities of individual to provide greater facility in functioning”. Ellah (2010); also defined it as “ a combination of the effect of growth, maturity and learning”. Culture simply means the way of life of a particular people. For the progress of this project work, more definitions will be emphasize in chapter two.


In this chapter, available literature (within the reach of the researcher) shall be reviewed in line with an explicit review of related concepts of marriage, divorce, broken homes and child development. Attempts will equally be made to give the project topic some psychological coloration which it requires, especially as all the concepts involve have both sociological and psychological inclinations.


Marriage is an institution divinely ordained by God as recorded in the Holy Bible (Genesis 2:21-22), explained how Almighty God made a partner for a man (Adam) from His ribs and called her woman (Eve). The major purpose for marriage is for child birth and reproduction, according to the same Genesis (2:24) said that “for this purpose shall a man and a woman leave their parent and become one fresh”. And in the same book of Genesis chapter 1vs 8, God, declared that “ Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it “ and for more emphasis Genesis 9 verse 1.

In Nigerian context, marriage can be performed traditionally, legally and religiously or in church wedding according to the people involved. There are also, two forms of marriage recognized in Nigeria, namely the polygamy marriage and the monogamy marriage. According to Paul Eke (2000), define “polygamy marriage as a situation where by one man married more than one wife. Why “monogamy marriage is one man marrying only one wife”.

Obviously so many society all over the world have witnessed considerable change in family living in recent years such as divorce and broke homes etc. ccording to Njoku (2005), the united state of America (USA) has witnessed considerable increase in divorce cases. Similarly, the World Report (1998) cited the guardian Newspaper dated (Aug. 4th, 1999) shows that more and more people were getting divorced in Germany, particularly in Eastern Germany.

Also, the federal statistic shows that number of divorce rate in Nigeria has rose in 1988 to 2. 5% more than that of previous years in Nigeria. (World report cited in Guardian Newspaper dated Aug. 4th,1999:11). However, home as one of the pre-requisite condition for marriage and family formation. According to Abraham (1966), home is basically made of husband, wife or wives and their children.


Child growth is an increase in body dimension, height weight. It is also generally confined the quantitative changes. In other words, child growth is an increase in size that usually accompanies child age increase, According to Ellah (2010:10). Why, child development simply means the emerging and expanding of capacities of the individual to provide greater facility in functioning.

On the other hand, child development takes place in physical, intellectual, social and emotional dimension of the child. However, growth and development of every child are used interchangeably by most developmental psychologist, according to David (2003). This is because both processes are interrelated and interdependent on each other. Therefore, it is difficult to differentiate the contribution either of them in the development of the child.


Every child growth and development follows two patterns, According to Ihua (2007). He explained that, the first pattern is from head to toe. This simply means that in early child hood, growth is faster in the head and later spread downwards to the other parts of the body. For example, a new born baby shows a remarkable developed head than the trunk and the feet. The second pattern represents growth which begins in the central portions such as the heads. This accounts for why most organs and features are paired such as left and right eye, left and right arms and left and right kidney etc. Other pattern of development is locomotion.

Locomotion develops in a sequence in all infants. No matter the culture or the place, the sequence is the same. The sequence are creeping, crawling and working. The time may very in the development of locomotion, but every infant passes through these stages. In spite of growth and development pattern discussed above, for the purpose of batter clarification and appreciation of this work, other principles, theories, stages of development and basic needs shall also be discussed.


It is quite unfortunate, that the little fabric that holds the society together seems threaten day by day. According to the watch tower publication dated April, 1998 p. 6, emaciated the fairy tales “WILL THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER? ” This implies that fewer marriages nowadays the wedding vow to love each other are rest mere ceremonial fulfillment. The rate of which home brake-up is becoming so alarming. THE CAUSES OF BROKEN HOME In simplest terms, broken home arise when a man and a woman who initially agreed to live together as husband and wife, separates.

This may happen in a way of divorce, even in most cases they may live together in the same house but not as husband and wife any longer. In order words, broken homes and broken marriages are synonyms, they share common factors. For the purpose of this research, we may classify the factor into two major categories, namely primary cause and secondary cause.

  • HOW BROKEN HOMES AFFECT CHILD DEVELOPMENT Broken home and child basic needs are the major factors that can also affect child development. Every child has some basic needs which must be satisfied for his continued survival.This need can be what the child in the home is lacking that will make the child live a normal life. Every child also needs love and affection from their parents, as this is very important in child development, but failure for parents to provide this physiological, safety, biological and social needs for the child may be as a result of broken homes. This may lead the child developing poor academic performance, phobic anxiety for school, insecurity, waywardness becoming aggressive irresponsible and notorious even un-respectful behaviour, prostitute, armed robbery, militancy and kidnapping etc.
  • HOW BAD ENVIRONMENT AFFECTS THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF A CHILD. According to Ellah (2010:12), explained how environmental factors affect the academic performance of a child. Mostly, pupils who find themselves in adequate environment with social and modern facilities such as medical, educational, an electrical facilities, good provision of water supply, food and school materials etc. develop faster than pupils who come from deprived environment, surrounded with polluted environment, lack of social, modern facilities and poor stimulating home etc. ay have problems in child learning and development. Finally, the immediate surroundings in which the child grows is another factor that determines his academic performance. The surroundings include the home, the neighborhood and the school. A child that grows in a good environment provided with all the basic needs both physical, social and biological needs, we perform more better than those who find themselves in a bad environment.


The purpose of this study is to find out the effects of broken horns on child development. This chapter will deal mostly with the research design and methodology applied in ensuring that the word is effectively carried our. In line with the above therefore, the research and methodology shall be presented under the following subheads:

  • Design of the study
  • Population of the study
  • Sample and sampling techniques
  • Formular presentation
  • Development and administration of instrument
  • Data Analysis.
  1. DESIGN OF THE STUDY: This study is basically design to find out the effects of broken home on child development.
  2. POPULATION OF THE STUDY: The population of this study comprised citizens of some tribes residents in lsoko south LGA, delta state. Which is about 100 people.
  3. SAMPLE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUES: The researcher carefully selected ten (10) Nigerian bribes residents in Isoko-south LGA delta state. In addition, one hundred (100) questionnaires were distributed among the ten (10) selected persons (five men $ five women) were also interviewed.
  4. FORMULAR PRESENTATION: Questions distributed =100 No of Persons distributed =10 The formula questions were distributed =X x 100 N 1 X = No. of respondents N = No. of questionnaires distributed % = 100 (percentage)
  5. DEVELOPMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF INSTRUMENT Questionnaires were prepared; three related questions were also developed from the three research question. Interviews who were vacations of broken home were interviewed, and five men of he same status were also interviewed. One hundred questionnaires were also distributed. Time ranging from one week to one month were given to the respondents before they were collected. In all, eighty two (82) questionnaires were returned.
  6. DATA ANALYSIS: The analysis of data collected was bases on sample percentage.


The issue of broke home and it various effects have become very prominent in contemporary society. The rate at which children grows up in a single parenthood is becoming alarming. In both developed and developing towns, cities and states in Nigeria and other countries, the situation is the same. The rate could also vary due to several reasons which shall be revealed by the analysis of the data collected for this study.

In addition, in spite of the questionnaires distributed, oral interviews were also con ducted. The five women and five men involved in this research were also interviewed, who were also involved in broken home marriages either as a husband or wife.

We explored enough time to reach out to some targeted population of non-indigenes but residents in Isoko-South LGA of Delta state. During the child research exercise, we also observed that women are in more custody of the child, especially before adolescence, this form our major respondents.

On the whole, a Total of one hundred (100) questionnaires were administered. Also, no particular members of questionnaire were planned for each tribe, but in all, the final analyses of the distribution were as follows according to the table below.


From the result of our findings we, comfortably make the following conclusions. That, broken home is common problems in contemporary societies of the world, irrespective of culture, religion, ethnicity and race. The major antidote to broken home is the ability of partners to appreciate and tolerate one another. That, a home may break up at any stage of the marriage, whether there are children or not. Rather, the possibility of breaking up may also reduce when the relationship grows older.

That, for every broken home, there is possibility of re union. That, broken home affects up bringing of a child negativity. The child At every given time may be denied either the role of a father or mother. In the other hand, there are some children also, whose up-bringing (Development) may not be affected by broken home but the percentage are very rear


If the present trend continues, broken homes will soon be in the increase and norms. We have seen the risk involved in raising children by a single parent.

To advert this menace, we hereby recommend the following:

  1. Conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshop and enlightenment programs should be held to ignite dignity in a peaceful and loving manner into homes by some social scientist, psychologist or family counselors. Even our law-makers in governance, should also legislate positive bills in respect to the issue of broken home, single parenthood and unwanted divorce to enable families live peacefully, lovely and together as one family.
  2. We, appreciate religious leaders who spend time to educate their members about marriage and home management. We therefore, admonish the Christian couples to hold on to their children and Christian faith by bringing up their children in the way of the lord. It is also recommended that the religious principle should be applicable in child up bring and the religious doctrines.
  3. It is also worthy to note that parents should not blur the boundaries between them and their children. They are still under the law of their parents. Also, children need to be assured that the parents will take care of them. Such assurance may also make them to feel secure, even though their family situation is not comfortable.


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  2. ELLAH . I. IFEANYI (2001) Fundamental Issues in Sociology of Nigeria Education, (1st edition) Stebak Publishers, Akure-Ondo State.
  3. EKE PAUL (2007) An Introduction To Sociology, Emhai Printing & Publishing Co. , Choba-Port Harcourt.
  4. IHUA MADUENYI (2007) Introduction to Educational Psychology, Osia International Publisher Ltd, Port Harcourt
  5. ELLAH . O. ANGELA (2010) Childhood Psychology: A developmental approach, (1st edition) Jef Printing & Publishing Co. Omoku –Rivers State.
  6. WORLD REPORT, The Tuesday Guardian Newspaper, August 4th, (1999) pg. 11
  7. HARLOCK E. B. (1972) Child Development (5th edition) Mc GrawHill, New York
  8. FITZERALD, HERIAM . E. (1977) Development Psychology, the Dorsey Press Homewood Illinoise (Pgs 56-58)
  9. ONUOHA, G. B. I. (1986) Educational Psychology, Heinemam Educational Books (Nig. ) Limited pg. 23
  10. AWAKE, APRIL 1 (1988) The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York (Pg 3-9)
  11. AWAKE, FEB, 8 (2000) The watch Tower Bible and Tracts society of New York, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York (Pg 2-5)

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The Effects of Broken Home on Child Development. (2016, Oct 27). Retrieved from