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The family has been regarded by sociologists as the cornerstone of the society. Certain basic social institutions enable every society to survive and endure, of all these basic institutions the family is probably the oldest institution and most enduring because it could be traced back to the pre-historical period in human society. The family forms the basic unit of social organisation and it is difficult to imagine how human society could function without the family. Comparing the family institution with the other institutions, it is the only institution that is universal according to the research carried out by (George Peter Murdock 1949). He sees the family as universal and cultural pre-requisite that fulfils the following functions socialization, economic co-operation, reproduction and sexual relation. (Haralambos 1980, 225). Parsons (1955) sees the family as the foundation of social life and is the most elementary, self sustaining social institution capable of maintaining and reproducing itself.

The family could be seen as the bedrock of knowledge because primary socialization starts form the family. Again it should be known that those important functions of the family are fulfilled through socialization that is the mean by which the family members are taught the norms, values, culture, status, roles and other symbolic meanings of the particular society they find themselves. The infants in the society are almost entirely dependent on the others but most particularly the adults in the family to meet their various needs. The family is also responsible for the foundation of attitude, interests, goals, beliefs and prejudices. It should be noted that what the family teaches their children is not all that intentional, constantly, children learn from the environment they find themselves which is unconsciously created by the adult in their family. Not only that, they could also learn from experience which may be common or unique to him.

The family is important in child development process not only for the shaping of personality. It also provides children with a social position as being ascribed such as social class, religion, race and ethnicity; that is, they are directly conferred on children by their families and it becomes part of their concept of self. The social position each child receives from his family can influence virtually every dimension of the child’s existence.

The family is important in rating intellectual growth. This is so because the extent to which children receive physical contact, verbal stimulation and responsiveness depends on their parental attention towards them which may or may not encourage their social development. In view of this, one could say that the idea of proper child rearing varies greatly. This is so because there are some parents who feel that children should be seen and not heard unlike others who feel that children should be heard and not seen.

It is in the family the child first accepts her gender that is feminine or masculine; as a result she or he performs the roles expected of him. These roles depend on the culture of the society.

In non-traditional societies there is always a clash between the old values and the new values. This is so because they are experiencing modernization.

Poplin (1978:390) stated “as our society has grown more complex, the family has lost many of its external supports”. For example in such societies like Africa the family practises extended family system which  has its duties like, provision of necessities of life, care of the old and education of the young, but with the development of complex industrialization and modernization, certain non-essential function shave been taken over by specialized agencies operating outside the sphere of the family.

Religion has been taken over by publicly sponsored school system. It then means that the economic unit of the family has been taken over by the factory.

Industrial and modernizing nature of the society has automatically disorganized the family system. There has been high rate of divorce and many changes in the family role.

It is in view of the above problems that this work is undertaken to find out if those changes in the role of the family have any effect in child development and that is why this work is focusing on the changing role of the family and child development.


Just as the cell is the basic unit of life, the family is the basic unit in human society. The family can be monogamous in nature where by a man is married to only new wife and they share equal status and they live together with their children or it could be polygamous whereby a man marries more than one wife or women is married to more than one husband which is very common with the people of Nuer. It should be noted that the family varies in size. Some are large in number like the extended family which is up to three to four generations while others are small as the nuclear family. It also varies in composition and in the social functions it performs

One of the main functions of the family is economic. In the pre-industrial societies men hunt while women gather the crops. These they did to provide essential things for their children. The family also provides emotional succour for its members. It helps the children to define their place in the society, i.e. it gives them their nationality, religion, ethnic identification, and position in the social status.

As I early said, that the family is the primary agent of socialization. It is within it that the children develop their basic personality characteristics; they learn the language of the society and their culture which is the way of life of a particular group of people. It is this culture that will make them know the appropriate ways of behaving and also how to behave to other people in the society.

In modern day of Ozibo, the role of family and child development has changed. One of the factors that brought about these changes is modernization.

The economy of Ozibo is no longer based on subsistence agriculture such as faming but it is on mechanized industry. Many families in Ozibo land now compete with white collar job which was brought about by modernization. With industrialization, the family becomes less of an economic asset, a fact that has increase the cost of raising a child.

As a result of this decline in the economy of the Ozibo people they now marry at a later age, have fewer children and due to their educational level they are able to space them more than their parents and grand parents.

The women are not left out of this modernization, they are now compelled to seek for work, in the factory, shop, restaurant, office or school in order to support their families, women are now seen as co-bread winners rather than home makers. As a result of this new change the mothers spend longer time away from home which places the child at a fairly early age in the hands of non familiar socializing agents. Due to the high cost of living in Ozibo and the increasing expense of child rearing some of the children are not properly taken care of. Most of them are seen along the streets hawking in order for them to take care of themselves.

Ozibo has recorded high rate of child labour, children now work to provide their parents with economic support. These subject the children to malnutrition, sexual abuse, physical and psychological maltreatment. All these threaten the child’s emotional development.

In view of the foregoing therefore, this research is designed to find out the change in the role of the family and child development in Ozibo Local Government Area.


This study enquires into the following issues

  1. The changes that have occurred in the role of the family and how these changes effect child development.
  2. The study will also determine the implication of these changes in the functions of the family for child development.
  • The study will also trace and specify sociological factors responsible for the changing roles of the family and child development.
  1. It will also make recommendations or suggest possible solutions for improvement.

This research work is meant to study the changing role of the family and child development on Ozibo. The study was based solely at Ozibo local government area.

All the data needed for this research were sourced from this local government.

The village randomly selected were Ndiegu, Ndiegu Echara, Oguzor Onwey, Echara and Ndiebo.

This scope is necessitated because Ozibo is a typical model of the study on the subject matter and its findings can be used to generalize the condition in Ozibo as a whole.

  • Do you believe that the roles of other institutions have affected the function of the family and child development?
  • Do you think that the condition of the extended family ties is caused by the changes in the function of the family?
  • Do you think that modernization affects the role of the family and child development?
  • Would you say that the educational institutions influence the child more than the family?

This research will be guided by the following hypotheses.

  1. The parents socio-economic status (income, occupation, etc) influences child educational development.
  2. There is a relationship between the level of educational attainment of parents and the type of socialization given to the child.
  • The failure of extended family obligations has negative effects on child development.

The words we use in our societies have different meanings to different people at different times. In view of the above reason the researcher operationally defines sociologically and anthropologically some of the concepts and words which were used in this study. This would help to enhance clarity.

FAMILY: It is defined as an enduring association of parent or parents and offspring whose primary functions are the socialization of the child and the satisfaction of the members desires for recognition and responses.

MONOGAMY: It means marriage between one man and one woman.

POLYGAMY: It means marriage between one to more than one woman and vice versa.

CHILD DEVELOPMENT: Anderson (1983:10) sees it as a complex process of integrating structure and function in a child because of this integration, each change is dependent upon what preceded it and it, in turn affected what will come after.

SOCIALIZATION: It is the process through which children acquire the norms and values of the group or society among whom he lives such that distinct “self” emerges which is unique to that individual.

ROLES: It is seen as generally institutionalized social expectation (obligation and right) imposed upon the individual and arising from the status according to him.

FUNCTION: it is said to be activity performed by an institution in order to maintain social order.

MODERNIZATION: It is a process by which things are updated. It can be seen as those social relationships and economic and technological activities that move a social system away from a traditional state of affair in which there is little or no social mobilization among its members.

INDUSTRIALIZATION: It is a process of setting up centres of large scale mode of production, and a movement from the traditional type of manual labour to scale factor and tool/machine oriented type of production and services

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