The study was carried out to determine the Influence of Custodian Arrangements on Emotional and Social Behaviour of children in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria. The study made use of descriptive survey research design. The population of 27,096 for the study was purposively selected. Six hundred and fourty-eight (648) respondents out of 27,096 were selected from 25 Junior Secondary schools that were systematically selected out of 101 in Abuja using proportional sampling procedure. Five objectives, five research questions and four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The instrument used for data collection was the questionnaire. The method of data analysis included frequency count and percentage for the biodata while mean was used to find the level of opinion of the respondents to answer the research questions. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test hypotheses 1 and 2, while t-test statistics was used to test hypotheses 3 and 4 at 0.05 level of significance. Three out of the four null hypotheses were rejected. Among the findings of the study were; Single parents, guardianship and foster parent had positive influence while step parent custodian arrangement had negative influence on emotional behaviour of children. Single parents and guardianship custodian arrangements had positive influence while foster and step parent had negative influence on their social behaviour. The influence of custodian arrangements on emotional behaviour was more on female students than their male counterparts. Recommendations were made among which were that Junior Secondary Schools should organize Parents/Teachers Association meetings in the Schools to give parental education and counseling to custodian parents in order to improve the knowledge and strategies of meeting every day challenges of child upbringing. Custodian parents should assist the children in their custody to build their emotional and social behaviour by proper guidance and encouragement. Custodian parents should continue to build on the positive emotional behaviour of children in their custody by loving, understanding and caring for them. This study will serve as a stepping stone in providing solution to the problems associated with influence of custodian arrangements on emotional and social behaviour of children.



1.1 Background to the Study

When parents set up a home and have a family, they naturally hope to create a happy environment in which their children can grow up (Pamela, 2000). According to Mallum (2002) the home plays an important role in the child‟s personality development. Parents are expected to be with their children throughout the years of child upbringing. In the traditional family setting, the man was a bread winner; this gave the woman the opportunity to remain at home with the children. Igba (2006) emphasized that children should be cared for by both parents and that children should not be separated from either or both parents against their will. This is not so in the state where death, divorce, illness and employment have separated many children from their parents, leaving the custody of the child in the hand of one parent, relatives or nonrelatives. The Family Law Series of Canada (2009) specified that custody is the right to make the important decisions about the care and upbringing of the child. Moreover, it is a child‟s biological or adoptive parent who gets custody but in some cases, other family members who are regarded as third party. For the purpose of this study, third party custody includes family members and non-family members. In the Nigerian context, it is common for non relations to take custody of a child who serves as a house help. This could be done in agreement with the parents or relations of the child.