Effects of family instability
By Abiodun Akinbinu
Family instability is said to be a social problem because it affects a significant number of people, especially in the modern time.
Researchers suggested that children who experience multiple transitions in family structure may face worse developmental outcomes than children raised in stable two-parent families and perhaps children raised in stable single-parent families.
However, multiple transitions and negative outcomes may be associated together, because of the common factors such as parental antecedent behaviours and attributes.
Family instability is a significant risk factor for children’s cognitive, behavioural and emotional development, because it undermines effective parenting practices and functioning.
It has been revealed that economically disadvantaged families are most likely to experience family instability.
Ideally, marriage is meant to be permanent or life-long experience, but marriage in the society ,including Nigeria is becoming fragile and unstable. This actually calls for concern especially with the mounting rate of family instability and its consequences.
The cause of family instability depends on the type of family each spouse was born into; therefore negative family pressures may influence the breakdown of the family.
Ethnic barrier can also contribute to family instability if the parents of the couple are not in support or causing disaffection just to destabilise the relationship. It should be understood that these factors are common in Nigeria because of its multi-ethnic composition.
So many people see family instability as a villain to the root of our social problem, especially juvenile delinquency which eventually leads to criminal acts.
To this end, Feminine line went to town to interview some people and they shared their views on this issue.
According to a fashion designer, Godwin Grace, most times, instability in family affects Children’s social lives, including emotional, cognitive and academic outcomes.
Children demonstrate more negative behaviours when they lack the emotional and material support at home. Children’s problems further increase with negative changes in family structure.
She maintained that this problem mostly affects the female social life, either as an adult or lady, noting that they are more likely to experience troubled romantic relationship and financial difficulties.
To a business man, Akinlade Bodunrin, children’s early experiences shape who they are and affect lifelong health status and learning.
He said that for children to develop their full potentials they need safe and stable home, adequate and nutritious food, access to quality education, medical care, secured relationships with adult caregivers, nurturing and responsive parenting among other things.
On her own, a business woman, Mrs Adenike Taiwo noted that, family instability is a change saying human beings do not really embrace change, especially if it is not favourable to us.
Mrs Taiwo averred that family instability to children sometimes is like waking someone who is enjoying his sleep to go and pick beans.
She however admitted that transition from a two parent family to a single parent is not advisable except it is life threatening noting that it affects a child more, especially if he or she loves the parent who separated from them.
“The exit of a parent from the family has a serious negative impact on children. You may never know until some children reach a certain stage in life. Some may find it difficult to have a normal relationship with the opposite sex because they will always pick offence if they noticed an attribute or character of the parent who left them when they were young in their new partner.
“Also instability in family has a great impact in the life of a girl -child as it brings about fear of getting married, bitterness or low self esteem. They begin to think that they do not deserve something good”, She stressed.
According to a Nurse, Kemi Osuntuyi, family instability results to anxiety, children become scared when there is no father to protect them from things happening around or when there is no mother to seek advice from, they will be confused and unable to handle things happening to them.
She posited that anxiety leads to aggression adding that this kind of children becomes a bully, they fight at the slightest provocation, and vent their anger on other children around.
“And in some cases, this anxiety caused by the absence of a parent leads to a withdrawn behaviour. Some children lose self esteem and becomes too quiet in private and public place.
“This set of children are the ones who will grow up to be addicted to the internet, bullying people online or become attention craving persons so that people can pay attention to them because of the attention they missed while growing up. You will see some of them with captions like Seflove or flaunting what they do not have in real life.
“The truth is that majority of these people are depressed in reality. They only come online trying to forget their sorrow.
“Family instability can make a child become what he or she should not have become. Absence of a particular parent in a child’s life can lead him her to become a drunkard, drug addict, cultist, rapist, bully and terrorist among others because there is nobody to guide them. As a way of getting attention, they will go for whatever option that comes their way,” She added.
Speaking, a student, Gbenga Adewale said that “Some children find it difficult to adjust to a new environment as they find it difficult to mingle with their peer group and rarely thrive even in relationships. They have other issues you can think of because of family instability, as many of them are even scared of marriage.
Family instability can also result in stress. The child may be forced to change environment and move in with someone who has the right to his custody.
“Moving from a stable and nurturing environment can cause a child to develop stress, thereby becoming reactive to little issues or experience throughout his or her lifetime. And for the female child, she may not enjoy the love and affection of a man no matter how he tried. Family instability is not advisable”, he noted.
Akinbinu, an intern with The Hope is a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)