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FREQUENT DOMESTIC CONFLICTS AND VIOLENCE ON SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOL CHILDREN

Psychology Project Topics & Materials

EFFECTS OF FREQUENT DOMESTIC CONFLICTS AND VIOLENCE ON SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE NORTH EASTERN STATES OF NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

 
The family is made up of a group of persons; young and old and it is the basic unit of social life, it forms the link between the individual and the society. Amagon and Wakjissa (2001) opined that the family is the basic unit of social institutions;it is a system of accepted norms and a procedure for getting jobs done. They further explained that family is a type of kinship grouping which provides for the rearing of children and meeting certain human needs. The family could be nuclear, polygamous or extended, which may include uncles, cousins, grandparents, wives of sons and their children as members of one family having to do their domestic activities together. Anyakoha and Eluwa (2008) stated that members of the extended family may live in town or cities, but when they return to villages they come together as one family. They further stated that conflicts could be a common feature in some extended families or even within the nuclear family. The North-Easternstates of Nigeria is not an exception to this type of family setting.
Domestic conflict is the misunderstanding that may occur in homes among the family members as they interact with one another during their day-to-day activities.Espion (2008) defined domestic violence as the intentional use of physical abuse by one‟s spouse or partner that cause pain or injury. Gilchrist and Graham (2009) defined domestic violence as any intentional abuse of the family members. The family members could be children, spouse or any member of the family subsystems.Cumming (2006) is of the view that domestic violence includes such behaviours such as throwing objects, pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, kicking, biting, hitting, beating, choking, threatening with words or objects such as knife or
 
gun. Such violence abusive behaviour patterns are done by one partner against another in an intimate relationship which could be the spouse or parent and child relationship. He further explained that domestic conflicts can be identified through some acts of anxiety, depression isolation from people, withdrawal of incentives and others will want to stay closer for fears  of staying alone, while others may keep quiet by trying to ask questions and give answers that are open ended, giving rise to communication gap.
Laura (2011) stated that in many homes where domestic violence occurs, the parents are under the misconception that their children are unaware of the violence even if it has taken place in close proximity to the children. They may not witness the actual violence but they do hear the fighting, hear the screams and see the injuries. They are also traumatized by the parent‟s emotional pain and suffering after the violence has taken place and this directly or indirectly have devastating effects on their cognitive growth. According to Carpenter and Stacks (2009) Social behaviour can be defined as a behaviour directed towards a society; an accepted way of behaviour among members of a family or society. It is the general conduct of people approved and accepted in a particular society. They further explained that personality and social behaviour problems among children exposed to violence in the home can take the forms of psychosomatic illness, depression, bed-wetting and suicidal tendencies later in life.They further opined that children between the ages of one to six years old that encounter frequent domestic conflicts and violence showed clinical levels of internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems such as depression, anxiety, high levels of general distress and some symptoms such as hyperactivity, new fears and aggressions, sleep disturbances, poor concentration and significant anxiety and excessive crying when separated from their care-giver.
 
Anderson and Bushman in Reisberg (2004) stated that cognitive development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology focusing on a child‟s development in terms of one‟s ability to learn and understand some basic concepts such as self-awareness, creativity, planning, problem solving and language to communicate which could be achieved through observation and imitation. They further opined that the ability to imitate starts very early in life and as children grow and mature the capacity for imitation grows as well and that the rate at which violence is portrayed at home and in the media affects children who watch them. Richard, (2011) opined that when parent and other grown up members of the family are in conflicts situations pre-school and school age children are seriously affected. While many people think that they are keeping the conflicts away from the children, the children notice tension in the home and it has a profound effect on their social behaviour and cognitive development. Richard further stated that some children respond to conflicts and violence by acting out, feeling sad and wanting to intervene, some become physically and verbally aggressive with their peers while some other children portrayed by behavioural problems such as frequent illness, isolation from parents and friends.
According to Kitsman, (2007) pre-school children are groups of children between the ages of three to five years old in nursery schools undergoing an educational establishment that offers early childhood education where the child learns how to identify and add numbers, identify shapes, colours, living things and non-living things, the alphabets and some simple sentences. While primary school children are children between the ages of six to twelve years old in an elementary class in which they receive primary education, the first stage of compulsory education coming between early childhood education and secondary education.
Kitsman, (2007) further opined that children of pre-school and school age are at the
 
stage where cognitive development is dominated, by intellectual curiosity and performance, in view of this Eriskson (1994) in Snowman, Mccown, Biehier, (2009) observed that children learn to win recognition by producing things which can help them to develop a sense of industry. Therefore if children at this stage are encouraged to make and do things well, helped to persevere, allowed to finish tasks and praised for trying; it results to industry. If their efforts are unsuccessful or if they are denied or treated as bothersome due to the fact that parents or older siblings are cut off from them due to frequent domestic conflicts and violence, inferiority complex set in and such children may have few friends to interact with and may never learn to enjoy intellectual work or take pride in doing at least one kind of thing really very well, at worst, they may believe they will never excel at anything socially and cognitively; while some children may have trouble thinking, impaired thinking, abstract reasoning, poor problem solving skills and their memories affected.

Statement of the Problem

 
It is generally observed by the researcher that young children between the ages of one to ten years are generally falling victim to circumstances that happen among the family members. Most of their learning behaviour is through the daily practice of what they see happening around them. Children exposed to frequent domestic conflicts and violence do not have the foundations of safety and security that is normally provided by the family. As a result of that, the children experience desensitized to aggressive behaviour, poor anger management and problem solving skills and learn to engage in exploitative relationships.
The researcher has observed and interacted with some parents, nursery and primary school teachers and care-givers that some pre-school and school-age children in nursery and primary school in the North-Eastern states develop a range of problems in school which
 
include psychosomatic complaints, such as headaches or abdominal pain, as well as poor school performances are part of the general problems of children that come from conflict dominated homes. It has also been observed that these children do not have many friends or participate in outdoor activities; they do not have a sense of self-esteem and confidence. Nnachi (2004) carried out a survey study that aimed at determining dimensions of  child abuse in Okigwemetropolis of Imo state. It was found that some children were made to contribute financially or otherwise to the family survival when such is not done it could lead to conflicts which may end up in violence. Anyagafu (2005) narrated the story of a family residing in Lagos; he became devastated as a result of domestic violence as a result of that one of the victims of frequent domestic conflicts and violence is afraid of getting married due to the experiences he had while growing up with the parents and this goes to confirm the adage which goes “Like father like son, Like mother like daughter”.
Gyuse (2008), stated that both history and culture seem to encourage domestic violence especially against women and children, and that children are suffering in pains, abused, injured and humiliated as a result of frequent domestic conflicts and violence.The researcher was also opportune to observe a role played by some children during an outdoor games in a primary school in Biu, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State and one of the pupils was asked to act as a father. He quickly declined to pick that role on the excuse that  his father is very abusive and always fighting the mother. The statement by this pupil stated above caught the attention of the researcher and views of other researchers in relation to this topic has prompted this study to investigate the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour and cognitive development of pre-school and school age children in the North Easternstates of Nigeria.
 

Objectives of the Study

 
The major objective of the study is to determine the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on the social behaviour and cognitive development of pre-school and school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. ascertain the prevalence of frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North-Eastern states of
  2. identifythe social behaviour of children from families with frequent domestic conflicts and
  3. determinethe differences in the social behaviour of pre-school children brought up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent homes.
  4. determinethe differences in the social behaviour of school-age children brought up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent homes.
  5. determine the difference in the cognitive development of pre-school age children brought up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent
  6. determine the difference in the cognitive development of school age children brought up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent
  7. assess the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of pre- school children in the North-Eastern states of
  8. assessthe effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of
  9. assessthe effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development of pre-school children in the North-Eastern states of
  10. assess the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development

 
of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
 

     Research Questions

 
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
 

  1. What is the prevalence of frequent domestic conflicts and violence in North Eastern states of Nigeria?
  2. What are the social behaviours exhibited by children from families with frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North Eastern states of Nigeria?
  3. What are the differences in social behaviour of pre-school children brought up in homes with frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North Eastern states of Nigeria?
  4. What are the differences in social behaviour of school-age children brought up in homes with frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North East Geo-political zone of Nigeria?
  5. What are the differences in cognitive development of pre-school children brought up in frequent domestic conflict and violent homes in North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
  6. What are the differences in cognitive development of school-age children brought up in frequent domestic conflict and violent homes in North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
  7. What are the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of pre-school children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
  8. What are the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
  9. What are the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development of pre-school children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
  10. What are the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive

 
development of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria?
 

Hypotheses

 
For the purpose of this research the following null-hypothesis have been formulated in line with objectives and research questions one, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.
HO 1. There is no significant prevalence of frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 2. There is no significant difference in social behaviour of pre-school children brought  up in homes with frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 3. There is no significant difference in social behaviour of school-age children brought up in homes with frequent domestic conflicts and violence in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 4. There is no significant difference in the cognitive development of pre-school children brought-up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent homes in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 5. There is no significant difference in the cognitive development of school-age children brought-up in frequent domestic conflicts and violent homes in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 6. There is no significant effect of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of pre-school children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 7. There is no significant effect of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behavior of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
 
HO 8. There is no significant effect of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development of pre-school children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
HO 9. There is no significant effect of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development of school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.

     Significance of the Study

 
The significance of the study includes the following:
 

  1. Parents/grown up family members

 

  1. Teachers/Caregivers in nursery and primary schools

 

  1. Curriculum development programs/Home Economics teachers

 

  1. Government and non-governmental

 
The findings of this study will be of benefit to parents being the role model to their children; children learn faster at their tender ages and they also believe that what their parents do is the ultimate. Thus, the findings of this study will alert the parents to take precautions on what they do in the presence of their children, for their actions have direct impact on the children.The study will enlighten teachers and primary care givers as they spend most of  their time with children; they will be able to identify why and how children behave the way they do and how strategic methods of teaching could be adopted to ameliorate the conditions of such children. The study will expose the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour and cognitive development of children therefore it makes it very vital for curriculum developmentand for Home Economics teachers that have the family well-being as part of their concern can make use of the finding to educate their students. The government and non-governmental organizations that are interested in peaceful co-existence of family members will make use of the findings to educate those who are in conflicting
 
situations, especially those who are always entangled in domestic violence to take precautions.

Basic Assumptions

 
For the purpose of this study the following assumptions are made.
 

  1. Every family experience frequent domestic conflicts and

 

  1. All the children brought up in homes dominated with frequent domestic conflicts and violence exhibit undesirable social behaviour and have poor
  2. Frequent domestic conflicts and violence have no effects on social behaviour and cognitive development of preschool and school age

Delimitation of the Study

 
The study is delimited to the effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour and cognitive development of pre-school and school-age children in the North-Eastern states of Nigeria. The reason for choosing pre-school and school age children is that it is the formative years of every human being and that any behaviour learned during this stage of development can go a long way in affecting the future personality of the individual and to prepare him/her enough to resist violence and abuse. The reason for choosing them is that they spend most of their time with the children, teaching and guiding them as they look forward to what they become in the future. This is because a well-planned early childhood care and education will expose the child to the rights and priviledges he/she needs to know, enjoy and to guard it jealously. To make the study feasible enough it is only delimited to some selected nursery/primary schools attached to colleges of education in the North Eastern States of Nigeria.
 

CHAPTER TWO

 

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

 
This chapter discusses the reviews of related literature on domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour and cognitive development of pre-school and school-age children as follows:

  • Theoretical framework

 

  • Social learning theories

 

  • Cognitive development theories

 

  • Prevalence of frequent domestic conflicts and violence

 

  • Social behaviour of pre-school and school age children

 

  • Cognitive development of pre-school and school age children

 

  • Effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on social behaviour of pre-school and school age children
  • Effects of frequent domestic conflicts and violence on cognitive development of pre- school and school age children
  • Related empirical studies

 

  • Summary of reviewed literature

 

Theoretical Framework

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