This study investigated The influence of communication between parents and students on academic performance. Three research questions and two null hypothesis (tested at p≤0.5) guided the study. The study is an ex-post facto or casual comparative researcher design. The sample for this study was made up of four hundred and eighty students in Ajayi crowther university. The students’ self-esteem scale on the other hand yielded an alpha of 0.874 which was established through cronbach alpha procedure. Mean, standard deviation and t-test of Equivalent values were used to analyze the data generated. All the null hypotheses were tested at p ≤ 0.5 level of significance. The major findings of the study includes, that;
Conformity (socio) parent – child communication pattern is dominant in Enugu State. Parent–child communication have significant influence on the self-esteem of the students. Influence of the parent – child communication patterns on the academic achievement of the adolescent students is significant. Based on the findings, discussions, conclusions, and recommendations were made.
Background to the study
Research provides inconsistent findings regarding the importance of parent-child communication and other forms of parental involvement activities to children’s school success (Domina, 2005; Englund, Luckner, Whaley, & Egeland, 2004; Fan & Chen, 2001; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001; Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, & Kayzar, 2002). Some studies report positive associations with aca- demic achievement (Callahan, Rademacher, & Hildreth, 1998; Fan, 2001; Hong & Ho, 2005; Houtenville & Conway, 2008; McWayne, Hampton, Fantuzzo, Cohen, & Sekino, 2004), other studies indicate no association (Barnard, 2004; Fan & Chen, 2001; Mattingly et al., 2002; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008), and even others point to negative associations (Coleman & McNeese, 2009; Domina, 2005; Fan, 2001; Muller, 1995).
Academic Performance of students is of utmost importance to parents, educators, concerned Nigerians and the government. This, of course, is because of the huge impact education has on the national and economic development of the country. Education is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve rapid scientific, social, political, technological, cultural and economic development in the country. Regrettably, however, the consensus of opinion all over the country is that Academic Performance of students in Nigeria is poor (Adebule, 2004).
According to Davison Institute (2004), achievement is a measure of quality and quantity of success one has in the mastery of knowledge, skills or understanding. Achievement could also involve accomplishing whatever task or goal one sets for himself or herself. It is the attainment of a standard of excellence (Umeano, 2010).
Academic Performance, specifically, has been described by O’Donnel, Reeve, and Smith (2005), as the extent of an individual’s level of knowledge in a given task in school. In this context, Academic Performance is the ability or level of success of the students in their academic work (which could either excellent or poor). Students should therefore put up personal efforts in order to achieve success or excellence in their academic work.
The annual releases of senior secondary school certificate examination (SSSCE) results conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC), justified the problematic nature and generalization of the poor secondary school students’ achievement in different school subjects. Information from WAEC showed that, out of the 1,369,142 candidates who wrote the examination in May/June 2008, only 188,442, representing 13.8 percent got the necessary requirements of five credits including English and Mathematics. Out of 1,373,009 candidates that wrote the examination in 2009, only 356,981 students, representing 25.99 percent, passed with five credits including English and Mathematics which is the mandatory prerequisite for university and other tertiary institutions’ admissions. This poor result implies that 74.01 percent of the students failed. Also, in 2010, WAEC result showed that only 451,187 students, representing 33.38 percent, passed English while 560,974, representing 41.5 percent, passed Mathematics. However, statistics showed that only 23 percent passed whereas 77 percent failed to achieve the basic five- credit university admission requirement.
The analysis of the above results shows that invariably, the Academic Performance of our secondary school students (adolescents) is nothing to write home about. Poor Academic Performance according to Aremu (2000) is an achievement that is adjudged by the examiner and some other significant examination body as falling below an expected standard. On the other hand, Bakare (1994) perceived poor Academic Performance as any achievement that falls below a desired standard. In the context of this study, poor Academic Performance is the inability of the adolescent students to attain the desired standard set up by the examiner in the achievement of their academic excellence.
The poor Academic Performance of students has been seen as being a result of many factors. Some researchers have attributed students’ poor achievement to parental factors. Family stress and financial problems are the major parental factors blamed by many researchers for the emotional development and poor Academic Performance of the students. According to Joshua (2010), students who had problems in school were often preoccupied with concerns outside the school setting. He further stressed that many lived in socially and economically disadvantaged home situations which significantly impede their emotional, social and economic growth and development. Poverty denies the students the opportunity of possessing such school materials as books that encourage high Academic Performance. The students’ lack of the necessary time to read effectively, good food that enhance good mental development, proper dressing to boost their ego like other students are due to family stress which could be aggravated by poverty.
At this point, one wonders whether there are some other particular parental factors that could influence these adolescents’ evaluation of themselves as well as their Academic Performance. Could the pattern of communication adopted by the parents be blamed for the level of self-esteem of these adolescents who are more or less striving to identify with their environment?
The manner in which parents communicate with their children could play an important role in the lives of these children. Communication enables parents and children to express their thoughts and feelings to one another. Effective communication helps strengthen parent-child relationship and increases mutual understanding (Greg Duran, 2010). In line with this assertion, the manner in which parents communicate with their children could either make them or mar them. Laursen & Collins (2004) perceived that parent-child relationships without emotional bonds will likely breed disruption and unresolved issues during the child’s schooling period. In the light of this assertion it becomes obvious that parents who did not speak to their child about matters of interest at a young age should not expect the child to easily express his/her questions and ideas about issues of interest when that child is of age.
Socialization of children is seen as taking place within a socio-cultural environment where family patterns of communication play a pivotal role (Albert and Rosella, 2003) and two predominant patterns of parent-child communication that are likely to influence the growing child positively or negatively in their personality make up have been identified (Mcleod and Chaffee, 1972). These parent-child communication patterns are based on concept orientation and socio-orientation. For the purpose of this study, parent-child communication patterns are means through which parents and their children interact with one another for family peace and harmony. It offers parents the opportunity of coming closer and reaching out to their children for a better understanding of their plights.
According to Mcleod and Chaffee (1972), socio-orientation stresses interpersonal harmony in the family and avoidance of conflicts or controversy. According to them, concept-orientation encourages children to think independently and proffer solutions to some social issues relating to them and the society at large. Mcleod and Chaffee stress that a highly socio-oriented parent thinks that, in order to maintain social harmony, children should not argue with adults and should not express opinions that are different from those of the family members. In contrast, a highly concept-oriented parent believes that children should look at both sides of issues and talk freely about these issues.
From these two patterns of parent-child communication, Mcleod and Chaffee developed a four-fold typology of family communication patterns: parents who are high on concept-orientation but low on socio-orientation are labelled pluralistic. Pluralistic parents emphasize children’s free expression of ideas without fear of punishment. Parents low on concept-orientation and high on socio- orientation are labelled protective. Protective parents stress obedience and harmonious relationships with the children and show little concern over conceptual matters. Parents high on both patterns are labelled consensual. Consensual parents stress both relational harmony and free communication exchange. In this type of family, children are allowed to express their ideas as long as the family’s internal harmony is maintained. Parents who are low on both patterns are labelled laissez- fair. Laissez-fair parents encourage neither open communication between parents and children nor relational harmony. In this type of family, there may be very little conversation among parents and children. Communication research has provided evidence in support of the behavioural and/or attitudinal consequences of family communication patterns. Studies have found that children whose parents adopted socio-oriented pattern are more susceptible to persuasion and more responsive to source characteristics, such as source prestige. Conversely, children with concept- oriented parents are less vulnerable to persuasion and focus more on the persuasive message, such as the number and the quality of arguments (Mcleod & Chaffee 1972).
In the light of these findings, it is plausible to assume that the communication patterns parents apply in bringing up their children could play an essential part in cultivating individuals’ behavioural outcomes, which reflect the unique ways they think, feel, and behave. Could these communication patterns adopted by parents influence the students Academic Performance? It is against this background that the researcher seeks to carry out this investigation.
Statement of problem
In Nigeria, the Academic Performance of the students has been poor especially from 2008 till date. Some of the factors that could influence students’ achievement have been found by various researchers to emanate from parents, teachers, and the students themselves. One of these student factors is the low self-esteem of these students. Self-esteem of the students has been linked with their Academic Performance and these two are important factors for personnel development which the nation needs in order to meet with the global challenges in the competitive world.
Evidence from some developed countries like Britain and United States of America tend to indicate that the pattern of communication adopted by parents in grooming their children may influence the students’ Academic Performance in school. However, considering their different socio-cultural environments, the extent to which parent-child communication patterns would influence self-esteem and Academic Performance of the students in Nigeria, is not yet clearly known.
The researcher’s worry then is that one does not know if these patterns of communication differ among the parents. One does not know how the parent-child communication patterns influence the in students’ self-esteem. Also one does not know how the parent-child communication patterns influence the Academic Performance of students. Put succinctly in a question form, the problem of this study is: what is the influence of parent-child communication on Academic Performance of students in Ajayi Crowther University Oyo? This question underlies the problem of this study.