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Toxic Parenting Adversely Correlates To Students’ Academic Performance In Secondary Schools In Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

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International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 10, Issue 7, July 2020 249
ISSN 2250-3153
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Toxic Parenting Adversely Correlates To Students
Academic Performance In Secondary Schools In Uasin
Gishu County, Kenya
Jennifer, K. Munyua1 and Margaret, A. Disiye2
1. Senior Lecturer Department of Educational psychology at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Eldoret, Kenya
2. Lecturer, Department of Educational Psychology at Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya
DOI: 10.29322/IJSRP.10.07.2020.p10331
http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.10.07.2020.p10331
Abstract- The study investigated the connection between toxic
parenting and students’ academic performance in secondary
schools. This was in the light of apprehension that there existed
dwindling academic performance. At the same time, school
administrators were depending on parents to assist students with
inadequate academic performance to improve. Yet, reports of
parental malpractices involving national examination were on the
increase in Kenya. The study was steered by family system theory
that states that an individual cannot be understood in segregation
from the other family associates. The study adopted quantitative
method, correlational research strategy. Stratified and simple
random techniques were applied to select a sample of 344 form
three students from 10 schools. A personal biographical data form,
toxic parenting questionnaire and a document analysis schedule
were used to collect data. Descriptive data were presented in form
of frequencies. Inferential data was tested using the Pearson’s
Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. The results revealed that
there was a statistically significant relationship between toxic
parenting and students’ academic performance, r(342) = -.25, p =
.000. Students who scored high in toxic parenting scored low in
academic performance. This study concluded that toxic parenting
adversely correlated to students’ academic performance. The
study recommended that school administrators could use other
methods like psychological counselling services to improve
inadequate academic performance rather than inviting toxic
parents to assist. A toxic parenting test could be ran before a
student is sent home to bring a parent to school for scoring low in
academic performance.
Index Terms- Toxic Parenting, Students Academic Performance.
I. INTRODUCTION
oxic parenting practices are destructive approaches that
parents use in their child-rearing. They undermine children’s
healthy advancement. Toxic parenting practices fail to nourish the
physical, psychological and emotive necessities that allow
children attain surviving skills essential for psychological and
scholastic modifications at school. Toxic parenting encompass
beating of children with leather belts, demeaning verbal criticisms
to hitting them with cooking sticks and waist belts. These parents
still rationalize these cruelties as acts of moral chastisement or of
edification. They subjugate their children through use of fear, guilt
and humiliation. Toxic parents leave a legacy of guilty, shame and
low motivational levels that could obstruct children’s performance
throughout their life’s (Forward & Buck, 2018). In this study toxic
parenting denoted parents who disregarded or flopped to meet the
physical, psychological or emotive necessities of their children;
those who abused their children physically, verbally and sexually;
those that used fear, guilt, obligation, ridicule or humiliation to
manipulate and control their children; those who were addicted to
alcohol or drug and/or those who could have been suffering from
various personality disorders and were not yet clinically
diagnosed.
Academic performance refers to the extent to which students
achieve educational benchmarks in terms of knowledge and skills
in schools and colleges. Measures of academic performance
include; different levels of academic grades achieved in a given
test and different categorizations of extra-curricular activities like
sports, dances, drama, leadership and other learned skills
(Williams, 2018). In this study, academic performance referred to
the grades which students attained in their continuous assessment
tests that were standardized into T scores to enable comparisons.
In Kenya, Academic performance is measured by the quality of
grades attained in the National Examination known as the Kenya
Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). Grades attained
range from A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E and F for
fail. National examinations in Kenya involve stiff competition
between students and different categories of schools. This is
because opportunities to proceed to higher institutions of learning
depend on the quality of grades achieved. Students who qualify to
pursue university education have got to achieve grades that range
from A to C+. The students who score grades between C and D
join technical and vocational training institutes for various
technical courses that are not popular in Kenya (Kweyu, 2017).
Those who score D- and below join even a lesser popular category
of job sector known as ‘Jua Kali’, a word used locally in Kenya to
denote informal labor (Agewa, 2017).
Kenya had been witnessing incidences of leakage and
cheating in national examination (Matiangi & Magoha, 2018). The
KCSE is conducted as a summative exam at the end of four-year
secondary education cycle. Achieving good grades at this level,
means a bright future for majority of Kenyans. At the time this
study was being conducted in September 2018, there was noted
decline in quality grades in KCSE examination and a noted
T
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disparity in academic performance between schools and regions
(Ouma, 2016). Just like there had been dwindling academic
performance, parents also had increased malpractices to do with
their children’s examination behaviors. For example, Chege
(2018) highlighted that there were trends of parental brutality on
children for poor academic results urging them to stop basing their
children’s worth on examination results. Some children commit
suicide on realizing that their results were not exactly what they
had expected (Makokha, 2018).
II. TOXIC PARENTING AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
From the literature reviewed, the researchers noted that, the
changing nature of work, technology and competition in job
market had outpaced what Kenyan education system provided for
students (Okoth, 2017). That was in spite of the efforts that had
been put in place by educators and communities to improve the
quality and quantity of educational institution and standards
(Ministry of Education, 2019). As a result, most of Kenyan
schools were experiencing increasing pressure from the
government and business leaders to raise academic standards for
all students in terms of producing quality academic grades
(Matiangi & Makoha, 2018; Ayiro, 2016).
A study was conducted by Wenzlaff and Eisenberg (2018) on
parental restrictiveness of negative emotions among children and
how it affected them in future. The study established that negative
emotional restrictiveness was like sowing seeds of thought
suppression. The researchers argued that parents planted mental
and emotional seeds in children. The seeds grew as the children
grew up. In some families, the seeds planted were made up of love,
respect and independence. In other families, parents planted seeds
of fear, obligation, guilt and restrictiveness of negative emotional
expression. The study concluded that restricted expression of
negative emotions, produced children with emotional problems
and social skills deficits. They recommended that, parental
restrictiveness should not be practiced as it resulted in maladaptive
learning and unrealistic expectations, aspects that were not good
for academic performance.
In a report by Hart (2017), helping children to develop good
attitudes and values was far more import than giving them items.
This was because different types of behavioral seeds planted by
parents’ actions towards their children became consistent and
dominant in children’s life. Toxic environments caused severe
emotional damage to innocent children. In Maryland and South
Carolina, USA, parents of truant students were made to attend
school with their children. It was observed that when the parents’
attitude towards education changed, the children’s attitude and
behavior also got modified (Bowen, 2019). These aspects of
behavior are supported by the principles of Family Systems
Theory by Bowen (2019) that guided this study.
A qualitative survey was conducted by Metz (2018) in Canton
and Hamilton desegregated schools in U.S.A. Through interviews,
the researcher established that students were more preoccupied
with the factors that were sensitive to human decency and sense of
fairness with which they were treated, than other aspects of school
activities. The study also revealed that teacher-student conflicts
were a result of authoritarian and coercive controls than teachers’
race. Maccoby (2017) conducted a study on students’ attitude
towards teachers’ and the reasons behind the attitudes. The study
established that harsh, discriminative and inconsistent
implementation of school rules, standards and procedures made
students come to logger heads with teachers and poor academic.
The study concluded that home atmosphere also affected how
children viewed teachers and how they performed in school
academically, socially and even morally.
A study by Baumrind (2012) on parent-child relations and
parenting styles on adolescent competences, revealed that there
were three types of child rearing practices that were named
democratic, autocratic and Laissez-faire. She correlated the
practices to the competence, independence and responsibility. She
noted that two kinds of parenting styles, autocratic parents and
permissive parents, had negative effect on their children’s
academic performance. She also noted that independence and
orientation in girls was clearly associated with democratic
upbringing. She further noted that parents who provided the most
enriched environment were democratic parents, such children had
the most purposive children.
A study by Walberg (2015) investigated many variables and
came to a conclusion that academic achievements and outcomes
were determined by psychological characteristics of individual
students and their immediate environments. This was regardless
of whether outcomes were cognitive, behavioral or attitudinal. A
study by Mafla (2019). On influence of student’s self-efficacy on
academic performance was conducted among Colombian Dental
Students. The study established that academic efficacy was
positively associated with academic performance. The study also
revealed that female students had stronger association then male
students. Another study by Tissingtons (2019), concluded that
poverty in families directly affected students’ academic success.
Low academic achievement had close relationship with low socio-
economic status.
A study by (Hojo, 2012) in Japan investigated determinants
of academic performance. The study established that family
backgrounds had a strong influence on academic results, but was
insignificant when the students were ranked on merit. Another
study by Sothan (2018), in Cambodia used a multivariate
regression analysis which indicated that entry grade, English
ability, class attendance, study effort, academic efficacy and
family socio-economic status were positively associated with
academic performance. There was no evidence that age, gender,
household location, parental education, parental involvement and
teacher evaluation had any influence. The study established that
term-time employments and family-size had an adverse impact on
academic performance. The study concluded that personal
backgrounds played potential role in predicting academic
performance of students. In Turkey, a study by Kristo, Büşra,
Öztag and Sikalidis (2020) investigated effects of eating habits on
quality of scholastic performance among adolescents in high
school. The study was conducted in 29 cities, and with a sample
size of 298 participants. A correlation revealed some association
between eating habits and scholastic scores. The study concluded
that there was some association of quality of eating habits,
although data was limited on the topic on quality of eating in
Turkey.
In Africa, Ada and Anake (2015) investigated effects of child
abuse on students’ academic performance in Nigeria. This was in
light of concern that there existed alarming endless cries of
students who had been hurt and maltreated in the society. The
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result of the analysis revealed that child physical and sexual abuse
were negatively related to students’ academic performance. The
findings implied that children who were sexually and physically
abused had low academic performance compared to students who
were not abused. The findings concurred with Kashahu,
Osmanaga and Bushati (2014) study on the relationship between
parenting styles and students’ academic achievement in Tirana
State, Nigeria. The study established that authoritarian parenting
styles had negative effects on the students’ academic performance
while authoritative parenting showed more successful results in
terms of academic performance. Okango (2018) conducted a study
in Uganda on effects of family conditions due to poverty on pre-
school children’s academic performance, and found a strong
relationship.
In Kenya, there has been a lot of interest in research regarding
academic performance. For example, Wambui (2017) investigated
factors that influenced boy child’s academic performance in
Kirinyaga County in Kenya. The study investigated whether
variables like family background, teacher-student ratio, peer
pressure, availability of school resources and students’ attitude
towards academics had influence on academic performance. The
study established that teacher-student ratio and family background
that included parental level of education, alcohol and drug abuse
and poor role modeling affected academic performance
negatively. Another study by Odude (2013), investigated factors
influencing academic performance in KCSE in private schools in
Westlands Division in Nairobi, Kenya. The study concluded that
teachers’ experience had key influence on academic performance.
A study by Musyoka (2018) established that school based factors
like physical facilities and supervisory role of head-teachers had
significant relationship with academic performance of students.
Njoroge (2014) investigated discipline as a factor that affects
academic performance and established that lack of self-discipline
among students resulted in poor academic performance.
Thus this study sought to investigate the relationship between
toxic parenting and academic performance. The researchers
hypothesized that there was a significant relationship between
toxic parenting and academic performance. The aim of this study
was to sensitize school administrators regarding toxic parenting.
This knowledge would assist them not to over-rely on parents
regarding improvement of their children’s academic performance.
There was need for parents and students to aim at working hard
towards self-employment than concentrating on getting grades for
job-seeking. The research question was; what relationship existed
between toxic parenting and academic performance of students in
secondary schools.
III. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The researchers got concerned regarding continued poor
academic performance among secondary school students
(Matiangi & Makoha, 2017). The problem was that majority of
parents in Kenya, went into extreme pains to make sure that their
children passed national examinations (Ayiro, 2016). Some
parents would join exam cheating and corrupt cartels who sold
papers before due date to make their children pass exams
(Matiangi, 2017). Other parents paid individuals to do exams for
their children (Kweyu, 2018). Other parents used verbal, physical
and psychological abuse to force their children to work harder to
get better grades. Ironically, school administrators and teachers in
majority of secondary schools in Kenya tended to over-rely on
parents’ capacity to assist in improving their children’s academic
performance. This assumption was based on the belief that all the
parents possess the capacity to provide appropriate moral guidance
and counselling (Ministry of Education, 2019).
The reviewed studies had been conducted in other countries
(Mojo, 2012; Kristo, Busra, Oztag & Sikalidis, 2020 and
Baumrind, 2012). Other studies were conducted in other
geographical regions in Africa (Musyoka, 2018; Njoroge, 2014;
Okango 2018) among others. Therefore, there existed literature
gap on the topic of toxic parenting and academic performance.
There was need to conduct an investigation into the relationship
that existed between toxic parenting and students’ academic
performance in secondary schools in Gishu County, Kenya. The
study aimed at providing an explanation to the declining academic
performance in spite of using parents to assist improve grades
among secondary school students.
IV. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The study was carried out among secondary schools in Uasin
Gishu County in the republic of Kenya. The researcher preferred
the area because it has a total of 147 registered public secondary
schools that belong to different types and categories. The study
adopted correlational research design because all the variables
were not manipulated. The study targeted a total of 9147 Form 3
students. They included 5292 boys and 3855 girls. The study
employed stratified random sampling technique and simple
random sampling technique to select a sample of 344 students to
be involved in the study. Data were collected by the use of 24
items toxic parenting questionnaire, personal biographical form
that had seven items and a document analysis schedule regarding
test results lists. To establish the reliability of the questionnaire, a
test re-test was conducted in a pilot study. Pilot study was done in
three schools from Uasin Gishu. The reliability coefficient was
determined using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation
Coefficient. The correlation coefficient obtained for toxic
parenting questionnaire was r = .80. Ethical considerations were
observed. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for
Social Science (SPSS). The descriptive statistics like frequencies
were presented to explain the demographic characteristics of
participants. Pearson’s product moment correlation (r) was the
statistical test that was used to test the hypothesis. The mean score
of toxic parenting and mean score of academic performance were
computed and the results were established.
V. RESULTS
Demographic Description of Participants
The sample size for this study comprised 344 participants
drawn from the selected 10 secondary schools (simple-sex
boarding and mixed-day) from Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.
Therefore, responses from 344 participants were analyzed in the
study. The participants were Form 3 male and female students.
The demographics of the participants are shown in Table 1.
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Table 1
Type of School and Gender
Gender
Type of School N Female Male
Single sex boarding 180 109 71
Mixed day 164 63 101
Total 344 172 172
The study established that male students were less compared
to the number of female students. This was because the number of
boys boarding schools were fewer than those of girls in Uasin
Gishu County in Kenya. While in mixed-day schools boys were
more than girls. Implying that parent’s preferred to take girls to
boarding schools than they did boys. This could mean that girls
were considered to be safer in boarding schools than in mixed day
schools.
Toxic Parenting and Students’ Academic Performance
The study objective was to investigate the relationship
between toxic parenting and students’ academic performance. The
study hypothesis stated that; there was a significant relationship
between toxic parenting and academic performance. To test this
hypothesis, the students’ toxic parenting questionnaire was
administered to the participants and their responses were scored.
The academic performance of the participants was calculated from
the participants examination results recorded in the personal
biographical form item seven and eight. The grades were
converted into T-scores to standardize them. The scores of toxic
parenting and students’ academic performance were correlated
using Pearson’s Product Correlation Coefficient and the following
results were established as shown in Table 2
Table 2
Toxic Parenting and Academic Performance
Pearson Correlations Toxic Parenting Academic Performance
Toxic Parenting __ -.25
Academic Performance -.25 __
From Table 2, the results shows that there was a statistically
significant relationship between toxic parenting and students’
academic performance, r(342) = -.25, p = .000. From the results,
the null hypothesis was rejected. The implication of the results was
that when the level of toxic parenting was high, the academic
performance of the students was low. That was to say that the level
of toxic parenting was inversely proportional to the academic
performance of the students. Therefore students from families
with high level of toxic parenting were disadvantaged in relation
to academic performance. Students who did not experience toxic
parenting had high scores in academics. The findings were
supported by a study by Walberg (2015) that attributed academic
performance to psychological characteristics of individual
students and their immediate environments. The study finding
also revealed that students who scored low on toxic parenting were
emotionally and psychologically comfortable to concentrate in
academic work at school.
The finding was also consistent with results of several other
related studies (Hojo, 2012; Ada & Anake, 2015; Musyoka 2018)
the studies established that circumstances within families had
relationship with academic performance. The findings supported
results of Wenzlaff a Eisenberg (2018) that established that
parental emotional restrictiveness resulted in thought suppression
and deficits in learning of social skills. They concluded that
parental restrictiveness of negative emotions leads to maladaptive
learning and unrealistic expectations just like children of toxic
parents. Toxic parents do not respect children’s feelings or
abilities. These parents can encourage their children to cheat in
exams (kweyu, 2018). The finding was also supported by Kashahu
et al (2014) who studied the relationship between parenting styles
and students’ academic achievement. Their study established that
students from parents with authoritative parenting style performed
better compared to students who parents had authoritarian
parenting style. However, this study differed with Musyoka (2018)
who found that school factors and supervisory role of head-
teachers had greater influence on academic performance than
family background. This study found that toxic parenting had
adverse relationship with academic performance.
VI. CONCLUSIONS
The study concluded that toxic parenting had a significant
relationship with academic performance. Students who scored
high in toxic parenting scored low in academic performance. The
students who scored low on toxic parenting, scored high on
academic performance. This study concluded that toxic parenting
adversely correlated with students’ academic performance in
secondary schools. Such students did not develop interest in
school or in school work and they also lacked motivation to work.
The study recommended that the school administrators could use
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other methods like psychological counselling services to improve
inadequate academic performance rather than to expect toxic
parents to assist. A toxic parenting test could be ran before a
student is sent home to bring a parent to school for scoring low in
academic performance.
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AUTHORS
First Author Jennifer, K. Munyua, Senior Lecturer
Department of Educational psychology at The Catholic
University of Eastern Africa, Eldoret, Kenya
Second Author Margaret, A. Disiye, Lecturer, Department of
Educational Psychology at Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya
Corresponding Author Email; jen.karambu@gmail.com
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Train graduates to fit into job market, CS, tells Universities. Saturday Nation, National News
  • M Agewa
Agewa, M. (2017). Train graduates to fit into job market, CS, tells Universities. Saturday Nation, National News. P.6. col. 1-4.