The Effects of Early Marriage

INTRODUCTION

BACKGBROUND OF THE STUDY

Marriage is found in all cultures. It is a process by which individuals select their life partners. It is an old institution which regulates the term upon which male and female reproduce according to well defined and acceptable social norms. This project undertaken would study one aspect of marriage, which is seen as a social problem in contemporary Nigerian society: namely early marriage. The study will try to find out its probable causes and effects with particular reference to Akatta, a town in Oru-East local government area of Imo state.

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It is the view of the researcher that early marriage continues to increase daily in spite of the awareness being created by governmental and non-governmental agents over the dangers of early marriage which posses problem to the entire society. The researcher believes that it is relevant to study the major causes and effects of early marriage in order to enlighten people about the dangers in contracting such marriages where people involved are not matured to carry out family responsibilities but were still pushed into marriage due to one reason or the other.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

It is no longer news in our society that young girls are being given into marriage at their early age by their parents because of financial or other reasons best known to them. Onigu O. (1978) pointed out that it causes decline in the childhood. It also brought to the knowledge of readers the fact that many girls become parents while in their teens-really children themselves. Oyibo’s case was a typical example while in her junior secondary school she was given into marriage with an Ichie to become his second wife. So, it is with many other young girls and in some cases boys.

All attempts to arrange this malady has always been in vain. Staples (1986), posited that teenage youth who are married are likely to drop out in school because of pregnancy, remain unemployed and experienced hardship as a result of too many children. He noted further that they are usually uneducated, raw, and unskilled. He concluded by saying that unsupported teenage mothers are always in financial and emotional assistance. In addition, young girls and boys have involved themselves in early marriage maybe due to poor parental upbringing, bad influence from peers.

They involve in parental sex which may finally result to unwanted pregnancy due to that ugly condition they may be forced to marry early. The problem of early marriage has affected many youths in life which makes them to end up in frustration.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Based on the conceptualization of the following, these research questions arise:

  • What are the types of marriage in Akatta in Oru-East local government Area?
  • What is early marriage?
  • What are the causes for early marriage in Akatta in Oru-East local government area?
  • What are the consequences of early marriage in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area?
  • What are the roles of social workers in the society where early marriage has assumed a recognized social problem?

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to investigate early marriage in Oru-East local government area of Imo state. Specific objectives are therefore:

  • To ascertain what are the types of marriage.
  • To find out what is early marriage in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area.
  • To find out the causes for early marriage in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area.
  • To ascertain the consequences of early marriage in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area.
  • To find out the roles of social workers in the society where early marriage is recognized social problem.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically; it is meant to contribute to already existing knowledge on the topic of causes of early marriage and its effects on the people of Akatta community in Oru-East local government area, would help the youths recognize that the world is a stage. It is hoped that the study will acquaint men and women especially those yet to marry with the implication of early marriage.

Practically, this study will also enable government, parents, and guidance, village and town leaders to take appropriate steps in solving the problems posed by the problems of early marriage today. This will enable them to find out the correct age at which a man or a woman ought to get married so as to live in harmony with their partners for life. It will also help the government to take up the task of enlightening the people on how to consult them for the handling of some conflicting situations that might erupt between parents and children instead of outright sending of their daughters to marry prematurely.

DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

The under listed terms have the following meaning(s): Early- early simply means the period or time between the appointed times. Marriage- marriage is a union or life contract between a male and a female for the purpose of procreation and socio-physical satisfaction of one another. Early marriage- early marriage means marriage of people who have not attained the world wide accepted age of 18 as the age of maturity. David Knox (1975:50) defined early marriage as a marriage before 20 for female and 22 for male, while Burchinal (1964:49) on his view see early marriage as being one in which at least a spouse especially the irl is not yet 19 or 20 years of age.

Causes – causes means what produces an effect, reasons or motives for action. Effects – effects means impact of one thing on another. Social work – social work is the profession that helps people as individuals, group, organization, community to solve problems they encounter in life. Social work practice – social work practice means the acquisition of practical skills which makes social workers useful and practical.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In the traditional marriage or wedding according to native law and customs, various things are done according to the tribe and ethnic group concerned. In Igbo traditional society, this type of marriage is celebrated in the bride’s family home. The acceptance of palm wine (ngwu), the drinking of part of it, and then passing the remainder in the cup back to the suitor by the bride is symbolic.

In most cases church marriage is sometimes, commonly referred as church wedding. On the morning of the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom dressed in their best attire and go to the church. Here, hymns are sung, prayers are offered for the happiness of the new couples and for the success of their married life. At this service, the bride and the bridegroom exchange rings and make the vows. They are giving a marriage certificate by the priest.

It is legally termed; marriage under the ordinance. The federal marriage ordinance provides conditions for this type of marriage. Notice of court marriage is filed in a recognized court of law with the registrar by the court. The notice is for twenty-one (21) days after which the couple would be legally married within a limit of three months.

In parlor marriage, the bride and bridegroom are invited before the parents of both parties along with many other guests. No ring is exchanged; no written contract is entered into except a verbal promise to love and to hold each other, to be faithful to each other until death brought the final separation. This does not carry any imprint of a religious atmosphere. In a few instances, however, a minister of the gospel has been invited to lead spiritual atmosphere or coloring to the wedding.

The cause could be from the peers that is, bad friends in the sense that they could easily be deceived which could lead to early marriage. Agunwa (1985) pointed out that same possible causes of teenage pregnancy is on the increase which are lack of sex education in our schools, issue of bad companies among teenagers, quiet for the mighty married coupled with the unbridled pursuit for material wealth for the youths. Grinder (1978) said that majority of the people involved in early marriage is more predominant among rural dwellers. Poverty can also make some parents to allow their daughters to marry early in life.

It is purely a set back for any society aspiring to make the demands of today can partly be attributed to early marriage of both sexes, early marriage is a social dilemma full of unprepared mess, inexperience haste, poverty ridden and hardship which result in frustration, bickering, wife battering, or husband battering, marital instability, confusion and also divorce. Onwuka (1988) argued that teenage youth who are married are likely to drop out from school because of pregnancy, remain unemployed and experience hardship as a result of too many children.

He noted further that they are usually uneducated, raw and unskilled. He concluded by saying that unsupported teenage mothers are always in need of financial and emotional assistance. Staples however, pointed out that the causes of early marriage are great to individuals and the society because according to him, early marriage is associated with higher infertility, economic difficulty and great risk of divorce. The society is made up of both the family, education, political, health, economic and religious institutions.

However, the above writing showed at a great length the consequences of early marriage as it affects the institution. Early marriage which is being regarded as social problem has affected a significant number of people in the sense that a collective social action is needed. Social workers are expected to carry out some counseling, therapy, intervention, public enlightenment programs in order to enlighten people on the issue concerning marriage.

Counseling should be made on married couples who are involved in early marriage. Social workers should educate them on how to solve their problems whenever it arises so as to bring peace and harmony in the family. Furthermore, premarital counseling should be made on the youths to enlighten them more on marriage and how to face their marital issues in order to avoid divorce, emotional breakdown, and insubordination because of their maturity. Social workers are also to advise parents not to give away their children for early marriage because of financial reasons since it will affect them in future.

They are also to be advised to train up their children for them to grow in good and moral upbringing so that they cannot deviate from the societal norms and values. In addition, social workers should educate the youths on the implications of premarital pregnancy, truancy, dropping out of school because all these could force some parents to give away their children for early marriage.

THE EQUILIBRIUM THJEORY

This theory belongs to the theoretical orientation of functionalism. According to Turnar (1982), the primary function of functionalism is that very society is constituted of various components of social factors which exists side-by-side and which corporate together in such a way as to have some influence on one another. Divisive conflict theory is among the functionalist theory which shows that there are conflicts, competition, disorder, instability and change in social organization. This shows the effects of early marriage which brings separation between child and his parents in a family. This often leads to conflict in the family because the child needs to be given adequate care, love, and training so that he or she will not deviate from societal norms and values.

This theory is that of Karl Max. Integrative conflict theory is one of the functionalist theory which also shows that there is competition, instability, and change in social organization. This theory is championed by George Sinnel (Turnar 1982). Although it is one of the functionalists theory but it is not closely related with the research problem. Systems theory is associated with people like Herbert Spencer, James Griar Millar, etc. it considers the relationship of various parts and the means the system uses to accomplish the assigned functions. It see man as an active personality system capable of self initiated behaviour.

Thus, the child and family are said to be a unit. This unit is within environment. When a child suffers early marriage in a marriage, the family in question will be sick as the child and the family are in one echo system, the failure of role performance by one will affect that of the other, because they are in a network of relation. Role theory is associated with people like Robert Park, George Sinnal, Turnar (1982). This theory sees individual as factors participating in a drama. Each is given a role to play which denotes the behavioral enlightenment of each of the role performers among one another.

THEORETICAL FRAME WORK ROLE THEORY

Role theory belongs to the theoretical orientation of functionalism. The role theory is the most appropriate that is closely related to the study-the causes and effects of early marriage. The child has her role to play and the parents have their own roles to play. Each of them performs specific roles to enhance family functioning but when each of them fails to perform the role, it will cause family disfunctioning. This means that parents are expected to give moral support to their children.

Children are also expected to obey the laws of the society. Parents needs to show love and affection to their children, thus when love and affection is shown to the child, unwanted pregnancy which leads to early marriage will be minimized. Functionalist is the dominant theoretical perspective in sociology during the 1940s and 1950s. the key points of the functionalist perspective may be summarized by a comparison drawn from this view point, any part of the organism can not be analyzed in isolation from each other, so any part must be seen in terms of the organism as a whole.

The various parts of society are seen to be interrelated and taken together from a complete system. To understand any part of the society such as family, the part must be seen in relation with society as a whole. The functionalist examines a part of society such as family in terms of its contribution to the maintenance of social system. Functionalism deals with the observation that the behaviour in society is structured. This means that relationships are therefore patterned and recurrent values provides general guidelines for behavoiur and they are translated into more specific directives in terms of roles and norms.

HYPOTHESIS

  • Those who are not literate are likely to be involved in premarital pregnancy than those who are literate.
  • Children whose parents are from low income group are more likely to be involved in early marriage than those whose parents are from higher income group.
  • Children in rural areas are more likely to be involved in early marriage than children in urban areas.
  • girls who are living with their foster parents are likely to be involved premarital pregnancy than those who are living with their natal parents.

RESEARCH DESIGN

According to Obikeze 1990 research design is an investigation aimed at collection of information on certain variables on a study population at one point in time. It explains the methodology and procedures used which comprises of the population sampling as well as its administration and data collection. Research design according to Kerlinger and strategy of investigation, conceived as to obtain answers to research questions. The research design for this project is cross-sectional survey.

THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study is twelve thousand five hundred and sixty two (12,562) families making up the eight villages in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area. The reason for investigating the families ia because it is within the family that the variables to the study are to be found. The study was carried out in Akatta community in Oru-East local government area. The villages includes; Umu-Udara, Ubaha, Akwa, Ura, Ishi, Okporo, Ubahangwu and Erim. Akatta is bounded on the east by Nnempi on west, Omuma on the south and Ama-azu on the north.

SAMPLING PROCEDURE

The sampling method that is used in this study is random probability sampling (Eboh 1998). This involves random collection procedure to ensure that each unit of the sampling is chosen on the basis of choice. Eight (8) pieces of identical pieces of paper were provided, in each, the name of each village was written. Each piece of paper was folded identically. All were put into a basket. This basket was shook to effect random selection. A nursery school child was called upon to pick the papers one after the other. In his/her first picking, he/she got Ubaha and in the second picking got Okporo.

NSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION

The researcher used questionnaire in the process of data collection. The questionnaire consisted of two sections, A and B. the A section dealt with the personal data and socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. The B part dealt with the response view on the causes and effects of early marriage. To pretest the questionnaire, five responses from Oru-East LGA of Imo state were used. Through this, the researcher was able to amend the area that needed amendment.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

One field assistant was recruited locally and trained on the objective and methodology of the study, both of us worked together. We used our hands to administer the questionnaires to the girls at their various homes and also parents. The method used was face-to-face administration of questionnaire. We administered the questionnaire and collected them back the same day.

METHOD OF DATA PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS

The researcher used the descriptive statistical method in processing and analyzing the general data of the research. It will therefore involve making use of only the frequency table and relative measures (percentages). The use of table and percentages helped the researcher to present the socio-demographic characteristics and pattern of the various categories of respondents and their perception regarding the causes and effects of early marriage in the family. Percentages help to simplify comparison among these variables, which involved illiteracy, low income group, rural areas and foster parents.

SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS

On the basis of the findings of this research work, the researcher is convinced to summarize as follows:

The scientific investigation on the issue of the causes and effects of early marriage in Oru-East L. G. A. of Imo state proved the issue to be a real social problem such that majority of the respondents i. e. 0% married between the age bracket of 13-18 years, 20% married in between 19-21 years, 10% married in between 22-26 years and 10% married between 27 and above.

This research found out that a total percentage of 80% respondents said that poor academic performance leads most youths into early marriage while 20% responded negatively.

Another finding of this research shows that a total percentage of 80% respondents said that economic constraint is a contributing factor to early marriage while 20% responded negatively. It was furthermore discovered that peer groups influence leads most youths to early marriage, hence, 70% of the respondents responded positively while 30% responded negatively.

  • It was further discovered that peer groups influence leads most youths to early marriage, hence 70% of the respondents responded positively while 30% responded negatively.
  • It was also discovered that 86% of the respondents were not happy being married at their teen while 14% were happy about it.
  • This research found out that majority of the respondents, i. e. 0% agreed that early marriage has something to do with their fertility rate and increased the tendency of having many children while 20% do not agree.
  • This research investigated that 90% of the respondents responded positively to see young girls being well educated before they marry, while 10% responded otherwise.
  • It is discovered that 80% respondents would not give their children for early marriage, considering its effects while 20% still agreed to give out their own children so early.
  • Another finding of this is that 80% of the respondents would want them to be gainfully employed while 20% was against it.
  • This research further investigated that the total percentage of 70 responded that girls who are not living with their parents are more likely to be involved with pre-marital pregnancy while 30% responded negatively.

RECOMMENDATION

While recommending helpful solution, emphasis will be laid on the following:

  • Social welfare department of the local government should take up the task of enlightening the people on how to consult them for the handling of some conflicting situations that might erupt between parents and children instead of outright sending of their daughters to marry prematurely.
  • There should be available counseling centers in which counseling should be carried out and during counseling process, parents should be made to understand that the responsibility of fostering discipline on their children lies fully on them rather than expecting miracles from husbands who married their delinquent daughters.
  • If the illiteracy level in the area is very high, the government should extend its current mass illiteracy campaign to the area.
  • The authorities handling primary and secondary education curriculum should introduce sex education in their curricula.
  • The government should also establish adult education centers under the adult education curricula.
  • The government should give scholarship to boys and girls whose parents are poor and can not sponsor them beyond the primary school level.
  • Government should also legislate on the issue and prohibit parents and intending husbands from contracting marriage when the girl is bellow 21 years of age.
  • Marriage registrar units should be established in every local government who would certify couples that are matured for marriage within the age boundary, who would freely accept themselves as husbands and wives.
  • The intending couples must be present in persons for the determination of their ages in registers before approving their marriage.
  • Registrar should create more sub-units that would be on field work to detect marriage contracts outside the registry and charge offenders to court.

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The Effects of Early Marriage. (2018, Feb 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-effects-of-effects-of-early-marriage/