The study examined the influence of parents on children’s emotional adjustment in selected secondary schools in Lagos State. The descriptive survey research design was used in this study in order to assess the opinions of the respondents using the questionnaire. A total of three hundred and twenty (320) samples were used in this study to represent the entire population of the respondents. Five (5) null hypotheses were tested in this study using t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance. The following results were obtained:

1.       The role of parents affect their children’s emotional adjustment in school.

2.       Difference exists between intact/single parents and their influence on emotional adjustment of students.

3.       There is a significant gender difference in emotional adjustment of students due to parental discipline.

4.       There is a significant difference between the emotional adjustment of students who are brought up by parental discipline and those who were not.

5.       There is a significant difference between the social adjustment of students who are brought up by parental discipline and those without parental discipline.

At the end of the study, it is recommended that parents should rear up their children with good discipline and not leave them to behave as they like. Parents should not spare the rod, in order not to spoil the child. Rather, children should be taught the proper way they should behave and then, it will be difficult for them to depart from those expected values and norms they were taught by their own parents.



Title Page                                                                                            i

Certification                                                                                         ii

Dedication                                                                                           iii

Acknowledgements                                                                              iv

Table of Content                                                                                  v

Abstract                                                                                              vii


CHAPTER ONE:     INTRODUCTION                                                   1

Background to the Study                                                                       1

Statement of the Problem                                                                     4

Purpose of the Study                                                                            5

Research Questions                                                                              5

Hypotheses                                                                                         6

Significance of the Study                                                                       7

Theoretical Framework                                                                         7

Scope of the Study                                                                               9

Definition of Terms                                                                               9


CHAPTER TWO:    LITERATURE REVIEW                                         11

Parental Conflict and Emotional Adjustment of Children                            11

Parental Discipline and Emotional Adjustment of Children                         16

Home Factor and Social Adjustment of Children                                       19

Parental Socio-Economic Status and Emotional Adjustment of Children           21

The Impact of Family Size on Emotional Adjustment of Children                24

Parental Discipline and Behavioural Problems of Children                          28

Impact of Parental Disciplinary Methods on the Child’s Emotional Adjustment 32

Summary of Review                                                                             35


CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY                                                    36

Design                                                                                                36

Population of the Study                                                                         36

Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                          36

Instrument                                                                                          37

Validity of the Instrument                                                                     38

Reliability of the Instrument                                                                  38

Administration of the Instrument                                                           38

Data Analysis                                                                                       39


CHAPTER FOUR:   RESULTS                                                              40

Hypotheses Testing                                                                              40

Summary of Findings                                                                            45



RECOMMENDATIONS                                           46

Summary of the Study                                                                          46

Conclusions                                                                                         47

Recommendations                                                                                48


References                                                                                          51

Appendix                                                                                             59













Background to the Study

Discipline has been defined as a set of rules and regulations, rewards and punishment administered in order to teach self-control, increase desirable behaviour and decrease undesirable behaviour (Okoli, 1996). As Brown (2000) puts it, to discipline someone means to make that individual or individuals to follow a laid down code of conduct. In discipline, the ultimate goal is to foster sound judgment, positive moral development and positive social and emotional adjustment.

According to the Bible, God gave Adam and Eve an instruction not to eat of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, but when they disobeyed, they were promptly punished by God which resulted in sending them out of the Garden. Also, the Bible states that, when you spare the rod, and you spoil the child. In the same vein, Proverb 13:24 states that “He that spareth his nod hateth his son, but he that loveth him, chasteneth him”. Hence, the influence of parents on the child can be the most important influence given to the child in his/her life because parents are accountable to God on how they influence their children’s’ lives.

Parental discipline has been in existence since the inception of man. The provision of positive influence by parents gives the child security and emotional adjustment, which assists the child to grow up as a decent member of the society (Amos, 2003). The quality of time parents spend with their children is the most important aspect of parenting and parent-child relationship. This could be day by day, hour by hour training and instruction in order to secure the appropriate atmosphere necessary in the child’s growth and emotional development.

Mustapha (2006), stated that parents who have the habits of spending quality time with children, bring up good children who are socially and emotionally balanced in the communities where they live. He went ahead to claim that children who are well behaved and emotionally balanced are normally influenced by effective parental discipline and strong training given to them during the childhood and adolescence stages.

Locke (1963), theorized that the child is resembled like the black tablet (tabula rasa) at birth and that it is the print made in it that is physically seen. In the same vein, Adamson (2000) admitted that the cultural, educational, financial and the social status of the home have bearing on the child’s emotional adjustment, it is the environment and the type of home that makes a man what he is. Therefore, when and how a child is nurtured and bred, determine who and what the child becomes in the near future and the overall social and most importantly, emotional adjustment.

Some thoughts concerning education suggested that the task of the parents was mainly to build in the child a strong body and habits that would allow for capacity of reasoning to develop and that parents could reward good behaviour, punish or discipline bad behaviour with disgrace and the withdrawal of parental approval and affection as opposed to beating (Arnolds, 2001).

According to Eden (2002), misbehaviour ought to be punished, so that a child does not repeat what he termed or seen by the society as unwanted behaviour. According to him, if bad behaviour is left unaddressed by applying disciplinary measures, the child tends to repeat the unwanted behaviour, thinking that those behaviours are normal norms or values cherished by the society.

Waller (2005) opined that parental discipline with love and affection makes a child to adjust emotionally, socially and psychologically in the society. He went on to opine that operant conditioning as a form of punishment with artificial consequences for misbehaviour could be used. According to him, a child who used the family car without parental permission, the punishment is that the car is taken from him for a period of time while or praise and reward, operant conditioning could be used through encouragements and presentation of valuable gifts to the child in order to encourage him to repeat the valuable norms or behaviour so exhibited.

Statement of the Problem

These days, many parents shy away from using disciplinary measures as corrective instruments toward the remedying of children’s bad or unwanted behaviour in the society. Because of this, child’s negligence or avoidance of parental control through disciplinary actions (discipline), most children these days grow up to lack emotional adjustment.

Children nowadays, do not exhibit positive emotional adjustment, they do not feel bad whenever they do wrong or step upon the recommended norms or values stipulated in the society as laid down rules and regulations. This kind of hardened behaviour by our youth, have caused negative effects in the society.

For the fact that youth do not feel bad about the wrong attitude, exhibited in the society, this, has resulted into wayward behaviour; prostitution; armed robbery; lying, stealing; fraudulent activities; examination malpractices; raping; disrespect and disobedience to the authorities of the parents and significant others in the society. This study therefore, focused on the influence of parental discipline on emotional adjustment of secondary school students.

Purpose of the Study

The objective of this study include:

  1. To investigate the role of parents in the emotional adjustment of secondary school students.
  2. To identify the extent at which parental discipline has affected the emotional adjustment of students in secondary schools.
  3. To enumerate the different disciplinary measures taken by parents.
  4. To differentiate different categories of single or intact parents that have influenced the emotional adjustment of secondary school students.
  5. To suggest solutions to be taken in order to avoid emotional imbalance while trying to impose discipline on children.

Research Questions

The following questions were raised and answered in the process of carrying out this research.

  1. How can the role of parents in the emotional adjustment of secondary school students be investigated?
  2. Is there a differentiation between the different categories of single or intact parents and their influence on the emotional adjustment of secondary school students?
  3. Is there any difference between the emotional adjustment of students who are brought up by parents who are disciplinarians and those brought up by parents who are not?
  4. Is there any gender difference in emotional adjustment of children due to parental discipline?
  5. Will the social adjustment of students who are brought up by parental discipline differ from those who are not?


The following hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study.

  1. The role of parents will not significantly affect children’s emotional adjustment in school.
  2. There will be no significant difference between intact and single parents and their influence on emotional adjustment of the students.
  3. There will be no significant gender difference in emotional adjustment of students due to parental discipline.
  4. There will be no significant difference between the emotional adjustment of students who are brought up by parental discipline and those who are not.
  5. There will be no significant difference between the social adjustment of students who were brought up by parental discipline and those who are not.

Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the findings of this research work will help parents realize their roles toward the emotional adjustment of their children in the secondary schools.

The study will contribute to the extent at which parents could influence the emotions of their children at all levels of their education. It will also be beneficial to teachers, educators and counsellors in dealing with students’ emotional adjustment during their educational career in school.

Theoretical Framework

The Emotional Theory (Lake, 1980) stated that parental discipline is necessary for the emotional, social and psychological adjustment of the child. According to this theory, the child is helpless when left without personal upbringing of the parents and the significant others in the nearby community or environment where the child is nurtured and brought up. In this regard, Lake (1980) opined that the discipline of the child is necessary, as without disciplinary measures in terms of smacking and or punishment when the child is wrong, the child tends to grow up upholding the wrong ideas and negative life and behaviour.

Arnolds (2000), stated that individuals cannot give what they do not possess. According to him, parents who are not disciplined themselves will find it extremely difficult to instruct their children/wards to toe the part of discipline. He went on to state that most parents who train their children on the part of strictness and absolute discipline, are those who themselves are strict, disciplined and principled as well.

Children who are brought up by parents who are authoritative (i.e. not completely authoritarians and not completely laizzez affaire parents), tend to rear children whose character conform to the dictates, norms and values of the society. As Adamson (2001), put it, no society frowns at positive and good norms. Rather, all societies welcome children or members of the society who are well behaved, who dance to the positive tune of the societal music and values. Therefore, any society in the world, welcomes its members whether adult or children, who are well adjusted to the ethics and morals of the larger society.

Mundi (1990), theorized that the characters of children solely depend on the upbringing they have while growing up. As he puts it, parental discipline helps children to be either positively or negatively adjusted in any society. For instance, parents who bring up their children/wards through aggressive ways are aggressive and violent because aggression beget aggression while parents who bring up their children/wards in the democratic way, rear up children who are well behaved who know how to live well in a decent society.

Scope of the Study

This study covered Lagos metropolis especially, the Mainland Local Government Education District.

Definition of Terms

The following terminologies were used in the research work. Some of the operational definitions of the terms are as follows:

  1. Influence: This is what makes an individual to take action whether positive or negative.
  2. Parental Discipline: These are the rules and regulations set out by parents which are observed by their children/wards.
  3. Emotional Adjustment: This is the ability to make right changes in behaviours due to agitation or disturbance occasioned by strong feeling.
  4. Intact Parents: This connotes the family in which there is a unity between father and mother who live together as husband and wife with their children/wards.

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