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Children' indiscipline is a that has become frequent in majority of Nigerian primary schools. However, discipline of the children in primary schools is not an aspect of the school systems alone.

Parents have a role to play in influencing child's development through the process of nurturing. Many parents, however, are absent from their children because they are involved in other activities.

Using the attachment theory as suggested by John Bowlby, the study studied the relationship between absentee fatherhood and the development of children in elementary schools in Lagos -Nigeria.

The study employed a correlational study design, with the target group consisting of all children in Lagos State with a history of indiscipline.

The sample population was collected using stratified random sampling whereby, 200 students were picked from ten elementary schools in different classes throughout the State.

The researcher utilised a questionnaire as a method for data collecting. Data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential approaches. The findings of the study show that younger participants in forms one and two were affected by the absence of their parents more than those in forms three and four.

Majority of participants as represented by 35.7% who expressed emotional parental neglect also expressed hatred for school rules and elders, and reported having engaged in different forms of indiscipline while in school.

The study discovered a strong positive correlation coefficient of 0.853 with a p-value of 0.013 at 95% confidence level between absentee parenthood and the respondents' challenges.

It was thought that the findings of this study would be valuable in making parents appreciate the necessity to allot their children more quality time while at home.

Based on the findings, it was recommended that, employers, social organizations and churches should educate parents on the need to create more quality time by being emotionally present to their children.



Primary schools in Nigeria house thousands of children, whose needs cannot be ignored or wished away without serious consequences for both the children and the rest of the world.

Misbehaviour in primary schools has become increasingly widespread, and while school administrators are trying a lot to handle the situation, much more needs to be done to reduce misbehaviour in Nigerian primary schools to negligible levels.

Despite the efforts of school officials, incidences of homosexuality, lesbianism, truancy, sexual immorality, delinquency, drug misuse, devil worship, and many other cases of misbehaviour have grown increasingly frequent in our elementary schools (Biu, 2011).

Misbehavior in schools is not a new phenomenon. Globally, children have demonstrated incidents of misbehaviour in various parts of the world.

According to Holland and Cavanaugh (2000), there is a high rate of misbehaviour in schools in the United States, particularly among children aged 16 to 17, who are at the peak of adolescence.

The school management was concerned about the high percentage of drug use and sex involvement among students. Serious cases of bullying in primary schools drove Olweus ()

to conduct a study in a Swedish university with approximately 21000 children to establish the possible causes of such high rate of indiscipline in Swedish schools. He discovered that 60% of bullied boys came from troubled homes.

In Nigeria there have been cases of indiscipline in primary schools ranging from school absconding, name calling of teachers by children, fights among children and theft to serious cases of misbehavior such as riots in and outside the school compounds.

Drug abuse, sexual immorality, rape, bullying of other children and especially new comers, truancy, burning of schools and even murder of fellow children.

A case in point; in Upper hill Primary School in Abuja- Nigeria, a deputy school captain perished while trying to save his fellow children from a burning dormitory that was believed to have been set on fire by the children.

Some students at Nyeri High School confined prefects in their cubicle, poured petrol on them, and set the room on fire, murdering four of them (Biu, 2011).

In Lagos State, 68 children were killed in an arson attack at Kyanguli Primary School in 2001, which was planned by other students at the school.

In 2008, children from Tala Boys in Lagos State assaulted the nearby Mackenzie Educational Centre and abused its students. In the same , Lagos School students attacked Kithaayoni Mixed School, injuring several pupils.

In September 2012, girls from Mua primary connived with boys of Ngelani primary school and successfully sneaked them into the dormitories at night where a sexual orgy ensued from around seven in the evening until the early hours of the following day, (Biu, 2011).

However, it is not simply the job of schools to instill and maintain excellent behaviour in youngsters. Parents too have the responsibility to ensure that their children are well behaved.

In their role as nurturers, the parents are expected to instill discipline into their children particularly by being emotionally present to them and avoiding as much as possible to reward negative behaviors.

Parents are being faced with a serious challenge when it comes to bringing up their children, and as it was observed by Skinner (1969), most human behavior is learned through operant conditioning, just as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay.

Parents therefore play a major role in determining the discipline of their child once in primary school. Many theorists, including Mahler (1975) and Ainsworth (1978), have established parental emotional presence to growing children as a highly important influence in forming children's character.

Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby (2009), demonstrates the importance of parental emotional warmth for children and how its absence can result in children with severe emotional imbalances.

According to Bowlby, parental emotional presence to children entails spending quality time with them, being passionate about their needs, and being present to them by providing the necessary warmth, tender care, and love; protecting them from emotional and psychological pain, and being kind and supportive to them.

This means that the amount of time the parent spends with the child is less important than how loving and caring the parent is to the child while they are together.

This theory advocates for parents to spend as much time as possible with their children, and for the encounter to be as loving, caring, and indicative of parental emotional presence as possible.

In a longitudinal research conducted in the United States by Santrock (2008) on the need for children whose parents were always away revealed that, parents with poor working conditions such as long working hours and lack of autonomy at work are likely to be more irritable at home.

According to Santrock, such parents may be less effective parents than their counterparts who have better working situations or stay at home with their children.

Such parents, although physically present, may not accord the warmth necessary for the positive growth of their children.

Their presence could be abusive, negatively impacting the children and hindering their growth. His findings, however, did not show a direct link between the development of children who lacked parental emotional presence and the discipline of children in primary schools.

Kiyingi (2012) discovered that boys who lacked parental emotional presence missed out on parental warmth, which plays a unique role in their lives while conducting research for his doctoral dissertation in Uganda.

The parents' presence, according to Kiyingi, enhances in the boy child the confidence and masculine skills which are crucial for adult life. On the contrary, a lack of affection between a parent and his children may result in adults who are less confident and have an insecure personality.

In Nigeria, Biu (2011) expresses similar sentiments, claiming that absentee parenthood can cause serious psychological imbalances in children.

Biu (2011) agrees with Mahler and Ainsworth on the importance of parental emotional presence in shaping a holistic adult based on her research in some Nigerian primary schools.

She laments that, Nigerian parents have gotten so consumed in the search for wealth that being emotionally present to their children has become a major task.

Biu believes that Nigerian parents are obsessed with amassing wealth in order to leave their children “comfortable” when they die, but the majority of these children squander all of the wealth soon after their parents die.

What matters, according to Biu, is not what we leave for our children, but what we leave in our children: parental emotional love.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether absentee parenthood has any effect on children's behaviour in primary schools.

As a result, the purpose of this study is to determine the impact of absentee parenthood and how it influences the character of children during their adolescent years in primary schools.


Misbehavior in primary is on the rise and efforts to contain it do not seem to bear much fruit. severe parents have become absent from their children as a result of the severe socioeconomic strains that exist in today's families.

Yet parents play a vital impact in moulding the children's behavior. According to attachment theories, emotional attachment mediates child development. However, few studies have examined the association between absentee parenthood and child indiscipline.

The studies that have been conducted have been general in nature, with no particular emphasis on behaviour. Kiyingi (2012),

for example, investigated how a lack of paternal affection affects child boys, whereas Biu (20 11) investigated general causes of indiscipline in primary schools.

The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of absentee parenthood on the development of children in primary schools in Lagos State. If this issue is not addressed, it may result in students misbehaving in primary schools.


The goal of this study was to determine whether absentee parenthood has any effect on children's development in primary schools, with the goal of determining what may be done to promote parental emotional presence.


The objectives of the study were:

To establish if there are children with absent parents in primary schools of Lagos State.

To learn about the difficulties that children in primary schools face when their parents are absent.

To investigate the impact of parental absence on the development of children in Lagos primary schools.

To determine what can be done to encourage parents' emotional presence with their children.


This study addressed the following research questions:

How absent are parents from their children?

What difficulties do children who have an absent parent experience in primary school?

In what ways does the absence of parents affect the development of children in Lagos State?

How can Lagos State parents be encouraged to be emotionally present for their children?


Children who grow up in a warm environment where parents give them quality time express more emotional stability and are likely to keep discipline in the schools contributing to their good performance.

Those who lack emotional care in their early years, on the other hand, exhibit a variety of maladjustments that can lead to indiscipline later in life as children, resulting in poor performance and antisocial behaviour.

This, however, can only be accomplished through empirical research. This research that aims at establishing the relationship between absentee parenthood and the behaviour of child is therefore justified.

This study's findings could provide crucial information on how parents should interact with their children and how school authorities should cope with youngsters who exhibit unusual behaviours.

This knowledge may help parents recognise the importance of being more present with their children. The findings may also assist school officials in dealing with situations of indiscipline among children with greater objectivity.

The Ministry of may also use these findings to improve teacher-child relations in primary schools, provide more resources to school counselling departments, and assist them in creating a better learning environment for the children in their schools.

This study may assist youngsters comprehend that some of the psychological issues they face during adolescence may be the result of a lack of emotional support from their parents before to or during puberty.


The study was limited to children in Lagos primary schools. The study focused mostly on cases of indiscipline thought to be caused by emotional parental absence from their child in the state of Lagos.

The researcher restricted his study to children in primary school. The interview instrument was designed in such a way that it controlled for all other extraneous variables.

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