The relationship between single parenting and indiscipline among teenage pupils in selected schools in Lusaka province

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Bedding, Edith Jere
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The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the relationship between single parenting and indiscipline in selected basic and high schools in Lusaka Urban District. The study sought to: a)investigate the nature and extent of indiscipline among children from single parents,b)examine the effect of indiscipline on the academic performance of children from single parents,c)establish any other factors that contributed to indiscipline and d)compare the level of indiscipline between single parent homes and double parent homes.The sample comprised one hundred and sixty-eight respondents, four schools from which were drawn eighty pupils (from grades eight, nine, eleven and twelve), two head boys and two head girls, forty-eight parents, four School Managers, twenty-four teachers, eight disciplinary committee members. The study employed a stratified sampling technique in order to assure that all subgroups in the population were represented in proportion to their numbers in the population itself.The primary data were collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and the secondary data were collected from registers and end of term record cards. These data were analysed qualitatively to establish categories, themes, and sub themes. The quantitative data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer statistical package to obtain graphs, charts, and percentages. The findings of this study showed that there was a significant relationship between single parenting and indiscipline among pupils in selected schools in Lusaka Urban District. The study also showed that indiscipline could not be ruled out in situations where children came from double parents. A lot of problems surfaced in this study, one of the problems being that pupils from single parents lied to their peers concerning their family status. The pupils refused to accept that their parents were divorced or separated. This was seen in the way some of the children told their friends that their parents were out of the country studying instead of telling their friends that their parents were divorced, dead or separated. This was mostly seen in the older than in the younger children. It was further observed in this study that children from private schools found it more difficult to open up regarding personal issues that bothered them than those from government schools.The study further observed that children got to school late, due to problems of lack of transport money, and lack of money for feeding. These problems caused them to absent themselves from school. The problem of HIV/AIDS had increased the number of orphans, and single parented children. The untimely deaths had made it difficult for the children to adjust to the sudden changes in their life styles.The situation that the children found themselves in namely: absence of food, lack of transport to school confributed to indiscipline to a larger extent.Refrenchments resulted in depression in some families, rendering the parents incapable of taking care of their children. In some cases this resulted into the death of one partner thereby leaving children with either one parent or orphaned. Inadequate parental care and guidance led to single parented and orphaned children to suffer not only at home but at school as well. Their schoolwork suffered, and as Wiseman (1964) observed, underachievers had a much more negative attitude towards schoolwork than their better achieving counterparts. In this case a child became an underachiever not by design but by default.In view of these findings, this study recommended that policy makers employ measures to curb the problem of indiscipline among pupils in secondary schools. These measures included:1.Establishment of counselling centres in all schools with qualified personnel tohandle pupils experiencing traumatic effects of losing one parent either through divorce, death or otherwise. These counselling centres were to be used for counselling pupils who had lost one parent through no fault of their own, and were not able to deal with the loss.2.Frequent workshops to update all teachers on counselling psychology skills and techniques.3.Policy makers and Curriculum Planners should include visitations to important places like police stations, and rehabilitation centres for drug addicts so as to instil fear in the pupils as regards experimentation with illicit drugs and alcohol.4.School administrators and teachers should use punishment for pupils only as a corrective and reformative measure and not as a source of emotional or physical pain. 5.All schools should engage pupils in a lot of extra curricular activities. Work such as charitable work in hospitals, clinics, disability centres and so forth would help to keep pupils busy and trouble free.
Discipline of children , Single parents -- Lusaka